Lan Island Bai Tu Long Bay
If you're wanting to visit Ha Long Bay, but want something less touristy, Bai Tu Long Bay is worth a visit. We stayed a few nights on Quan Lan Island (pronounced Whan Lan). There are now a few guest houses to compete with the couple of kitsch resorts. We stayed in Hotel Ngan Ha, the room at the top was nicely decorated in wood and minimalist decor. The rates were 300,000 VND per night, in the deluxe room. By no means go to Thuy Hai Van Resort, where a bear is kept on display in a tiny cage for the 'entertainment' of guests.
The Hotel rented us motorbikes for 120,000 VND per bike per day. You could probably get it for cheaper if you bargain more. This was a great way to explore the Island, which is still largely made up of rural fishing villages and relatively unspoilt.
To get to Quan Lan, we arranged a driver from Hanoi to Cai Rong (pronounced Cai Zom) through our hotel (Golden Plaza) which took 5 hours, including a stop for lunch. It was US $120, though we didn't bargain. Other posts outline how to get there by public transport, which takes longer. From Cai Rong, you can either take the speed boat (45 mins, 100,000 VND/ USD $5) or the slow boat (2.5 hours). When you get to the ferry terminal at Cai Rong, the first thing you see is a ticket booth. This is for the speed boat only. If you prefer the slow boat to take in the stunning views, go down onto the pier where all the boats are, some of them will be public ferries going to Quan Lan . We bought tickets on the boat, they were about 50,000 VND.
The Tuk Tuk from the pier at Quan Lan will take you to see the various hotels in the main town for 50,000 VND or less if you bargain harder. Our Tuk Tuk driver considered that we had overpaid her, and brought us back to the ferry terminal for our return trip for free.
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2. Prince Cruise Halong Bay Vietnam: 4 cabin cruise on Halong Bay
3. Jayavarman Cruise on Mekong River Vietnam Cambodia: luxury cruise on the Mekong River
4. Hanoi Airlines: book flight tickets to Hanoi
5. Halong Bay Cruise: list all cruise boats on Halong Bay & Bai Tu Long Bay
6. Hotel Vietnam, Vietnam Hotels: book hotels and resorts in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
7. Laos Travel Guide: book tours in Laos with the New Road Tour
8. Cambodia Travel: useful guides, hotels, flights, tours in Cambodia
9. Phu Quoc Travel Guide: useful information on Phu Quoc Island Vietnam
10. Travel Sapa Vietnam: tours, hotels, maps to Sapa Vietnam
11. Mekong Delta Tours: cruise, hotels, tours in Mekong, Saigon
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