DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor July 28th, 2015 Posted in Asia, DIY Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 37 Comments

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam that is completely charming and full of characters in its own unique way. Have you been in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam?

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Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Hanoi and Ha Long.

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi

This is a short trip with my best friend as a nice holiday since we haven’t seen each other for quite a while. We’ve decided to visit Hanoi, Vietnam as we’ve heard loads of exciting and nice stories about backpacking in this charming city. We also did a short trip in Ha Long Bay where we did a day cruise with lunch and island hopping.

Related Article: For the cheap accommodations in Hanoi (check this list) and Ha Long Bay (check this list).

Trip Highlights:  

Hanoi Old Quarter

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
Old Quarter in Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

The Water Puppet Show

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

Ha Long Bay Cruise

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
Monkey face Islet

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
Boatman of the fishing village
DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
Kayak at the fishing village

Vietnamese foods

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

 Hoan Kiem Lake

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
Hoan Kiem Lake pagoda

Ho Chi Minh Museum

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

One Pillar Pagoda

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

Parliament House

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

Thien Cung Cave / Heavenly Cave

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
Outside the Thien Cung Cave

Monkey DividersVisa Requirements:

For Philippine Passport Holders, no visa required, however for my best friend who is a British Citizen needs to obtain Letter of Authority from Vietnam Embassy and get the visa on arrival in Hanoi.

(UPDATE: British nationals can now have 15-Day visa-free entry to Vietnam as of July 2015, however, if you are staying more than 15 days, you need to secure a visa.)

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Travel Tips:

Its 3-4 hour evening flight to Hanoi from Manila if travelling with Cebu Pacific so make sure to book your airport transfers to your hotel. We arrived in Hanoi around 1 am. You can arrange the airport transfers with your hotel and include it in your bill.

Make sure to change your money to Vietnamese Dong(VND), they do accept US dollars as payment but preferably or I felt it was way cheaper buying things with VND.

Since this is a budget trip, we just walked around Hanoi to avoid being ripped off by cabs and tuk-tuk. Renting motorbike is an option just be careful on the road.

Keep yourself hydrated the weather is gloomy but it is very HOT!

Enjoy Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and the Vietnamese food.

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Daily Budget:
diy travel guide to hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

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Itinerary Details:

DAY 1:

Evening flight from Manila to Hanoi.

We already pre-arranged our airport transfers to the hotel as our arrival in Hanoi was late at night (1 am). We booked an extra night in our hotel to secure our late arrival. Our hotel is about an hour away from the airport, the Holiday Gold Hotel.

We woke up around 8 am and we have our free breakfast, we tried the Beef Pho which is amazingly delicious.

After breakfast, we walked around the Old Quarter. We went to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Quan Thanh Temple and One Pillar Pagoda along the way we passed by the Vietnam Military House Museum.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Ho Chi Minh MausoleumHo Chi Minh Museum and One Pillar Pagoda.

After long hours of walking we had our lunch and tried the famous Bun Cha (for VND 90k around Php 185.00 that comes with a set of noodles, the grilled pork, plateful of green leafies which I enjoy, and spring roll) we weren’t able to finish that set because it is too much for two people!

We head back to our hotel to freshen up and went out to go to Hanoi’s night market to look around and get some of our shopping done (don’t forget to haggle!). While walking around the area we’ve noticed that they have a cultural presentation along the street showcasing Vietnam’s traditional music and dance.

DAY 2:

We went to Ha Long Bay!

We’ve arranged this with our hotel, we’ve booked the $35 day-tour. Our transfer call time is around 8am and it is a 4-hour bus ride to Ha Long Bay.

Our tour guide is very approachable and nice. On our way to Ha LongBayy, she told us the story about Ha Long Bay, the descending dragon and Hanoi.

Upon our arrival in Ha Long Bay Port, everything is well organised and we boarded our boat. We had our sumptuous lunch while cruising.

Our first stop is the fishing village, we are supposed to do kayaking but we’ve decided to take the boat ride instead. We had an opportunity to take a lot of photos and just sit while exploring the lagoons and caves.

We went to visit the Thien Cung or Heavenly Cave and do some light spelunking. The rock formations are truly nature’s wonder.

In this cruise, we saw some interesting rock formations such as Fighting Cock, the Incense burner Islet and the Monkey Island.

After the cruise, we headed back to Hanoi and arrived at about 8 pm, we had dinner at the waffle house and had some amazing waffle with mojito and raspberry milkshake.

My best friend and I decided to have a massage at the spa beside our hotel to cap our day. Very relaxing indeed.

 DAY 3:

Last day in Hanoi, our flight back to Manila was around 11pm.

We roamed around the Old Quarter once more and had our lunch at Quan An Ngon, it is like a bazaar of Vietnamese food, there are stalls and you just order what you want, we had fresh spring rolls, Vietnamese pancake and bun cha and of course I tried their Vietnam local beer (Bia Saigon) and the Lotus Tea.

We did some last minute “pasalubong” shopping and we went to Hoan Kiem Lake and we’ve decided to watch the famous Water Puppet Show cost around VND 50k.

We head back to our hotel to get some rest and grab some dinner in a pub near Hoan Kiem Lake.

It’s time to say ‘see you again’ and not ‘goodbye’ to Hanoi!

Transportation Tip: If you’re looking for the cheapest way to book the Trains, Buses, Ferries, Transfers on this route, we use 12Go.Asia to compare the prices!

Powered by 12Go Asia system

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STILL LOOKING FOR OTHER TOURS TO DO IN VIETNAM and CAMBODIA?

Even the best DIY trips need a little help here and there. If you’re headed here, check out all these awesome experiences for only $120 and below. Use them to spice up your budget DIY itinerary, or buy one as a gift for a friend (click the photo for more details!)

Tinggly Cambodia Tinggly Vietnam

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Recommended Budget Accommodation in Hanoi

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See you at Lily’s

See you at Lily’s offer not only a bed to their guests, but also a friendly atmosphere between the guests and staffs. Even the owners will be present to make sure that all their clients are treated as promised. Located in the heart of Hanoi is another good reason to book with this hostel. Definitely one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisor

 

 

 

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Hanoi Backpackers Hostel – The Original

This hostel is located near the Hanoi Train Station. Also offers a hassle free airport transfer. Guests can choose between female dorms, mixed dorm and double suites. They also offers a complimentary walking tour every 10 in the morning. Definitely one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel


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Recommended Luxury Accommodation in Hanoi, Vietnam

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Hanoi Daewoo Hotel

Hanoi Daewoo Hotel offers guests with spacious and clean rooms, with comfy mattress and perfectly working AC. It has a charming pool, gym and spa as well. It’s a high end hotel in the center of Hanoi, definitely one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

[image type=”thumbnail” src=”37856″]

Pullman Hanoi Hotel

Pullman Hanoi Hotel is a wonderful hotel with a very warm and welcoming staff. Rooms are spacious, comfy and has a mini bar too. Location is good, as well as the restaurant and facilities. Truly one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel


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Recommended Budget Accommodation in Halong Bay, Vietnam

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City Bay Hotel

City Bay Hotel is a great value hotel which offers guests with nice rooms, spacious, elegantly furnished. Location is great, with the harbor and market within walking distance. Hotel staff is nice too, making it one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

[image type=”thumbnail” src=”37858″]

Halong Park Hotel

Halong Park Hotel offers a good location, with the bay view. Amazing scenery, spacious, fresh air, wonderful rooms with magnificent views. This is definitely one of the best and well recommended budget accommodation in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel


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Recommended Luxury Accommodation in Halong Bay, Vietnam

[image type=”thumbnail” src=”37859″]

Nam Dat Hotel Halong

Nam Dat Hotel Halong is convenient hotel well situated near the commercial area of Halong City. Perfect location with shops and market within walking distance. It offers guests with clean rooms and has friendly staff. Truly one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

[image type=”thumbnail” src=”37860″]

Green Capital Hotel

Green Capital Hotel has a convenient location, an easy access to the city’s must visit places. It offers guests with modern comforts, superb facilities and recreational offerings, making it  one of the best and well recommended luxury accommodation in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

Read Reviews on: AgodaCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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SM Monkey Section DividersAbout the Writer

diy travel guide to hanoi vietnamName of the Contributor: Ayna Balkin

Name of the Country: Hanoi, Vietnam

Date/s of your Travel: April 4-8, 2015

City / Places Visited: 2 days in Hanoi  and a day tour in Ha Long Bay

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37 thoughts on “DIY Travel Guide to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

  1. Ayna thanks for your DIY travel guide I’ve read it from the beginning until the end and all I can say is very helpful for the newbie traveler that will try to go to Hanoi. I hope that you will continue this kind of article. Goodluck 🙂

  2. Great post. Thank you for this post. I have visited with my family through the guide of Nadova Tours. It is the great place to enjoy.

  3. Thank you for the post. But everytime I read an itinerary for Vietnam, I’m always not sold. I always think that Philippines has more to offer. Is it ok to feel like this? My American friend wanted a Vietnam tour but I want him to visit PH if not only the current war in Mindanao 🙁

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