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Old 28 Nov 2011
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Advice please, Riding from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay

Hello all,

I am looking for a little advice.
We will be picking up 2 x rental 110cc Honda motor bikes in Ha Noi old Quarter, and plan to ride them to Ha Long Bay.
On arriving in Ha Long Bay, we will check into a local hotel (still to be decided) for 2 nights,

What I want to know is, how was it getting out of Ha Noi city, and onto the road to Ha Long Bay?

Is it not too difficult to get out of the city,?
I was thinking of asking one of the shop people to lead us to the road to Ha Long Bay, and give them some money for their help.

Is this needed, or do I just print off a Google map, ?
peraps there are Vietnam maps to be bought?

Google says go east on HWY 5 (105km) towards Hai Phong
or east on QL18 (144km) to Ha Long

Which should be take please?

And finally, when we arrive at Ha Long, just where abouts would one look for a hotel, ?

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Old 30 Nov 2011
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Hotels in Halong Bay are plenty, and modern now, easy to find when you arrive there.

As for the route, I think we took the QL18 back in 2006, 2-up on a 125cc Minsk.

You have to plan half a day trip to get there.
Best is to buy a vietnamese local road map to find your way out of Hanoi (if you get lost, just ask your direction by saying : "Vịnh Hạ Long" ) and get you into the right direction.

For having done it, going there by bike has no interest whatsoever, the road is pretty busy with many trucks and cars (road to/from China), landscape is flat.
I think the road to Haiphong is as busy as the QL18, Haiphong being the main port in Northern VN.

Better book a 2/3 day Halong bay tour with accomodation through the local travel agencies in Hanoi, and you'll get there on minibuses, arrive in a good shape, have all well organized for you at a not so high cost compared to what you would get by yourself by arguing for a boat in Halong with the locals there.

As for biking, best is to go on bikes to HoaLu, where you can ride around and enjoy the scenery.

Have a safe trip !
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Old 1 Dec 2011
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I left Hanoi at lunchtime and copped a fair bit of traffic, wished I'd left earlier in the day. Bikes get their own lane separate to other cars and trucks on some bridges, don't miss them. The Fedralis' are hot to enforce this and the "I'm a dumb tourist" act doesn't work, I know
Finding rooms can be difficult in Viet-Nam, as different regions have different names for hotel, they are there. Learning to identify the name in the region you travel through helps, the advertising is usually in Viet and small but you soon get your eye in. The hotels are easier to find at tourist hotspots, but if you find the going slow don't be scared to ask the locals and rest-up.
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