Escape plan to Hanoi in November 2013

A brief summary on the itinerary

Escape Plan to Hanoi in November 2013:

Total duration 5D4N
Singapore is 1 hr ahead of Hanoi, Vietnam.
Flight time is 3hr direct flight on Tiger airways from Singapore to Hanoi.
Thursday morning flight on 7th Nov and arrival in Hanoi at 10 mins after 10am. The return flight was on Singapore Airlines as it offered a better return time and costed just as much as the budget carrier.

Day 1 Hanoi half day city tour to Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum & residences, one pillar pagoda and Dong Xuan Market
Day 2 Halong Bay cruise on Alova Gold, Titop island and kayaking
Day 3 Sung Sot Cave(Surprise Cave), Hoan Kiem Lake, Water puppet show.
Day 4 Trang An and Hoa Lu
Day 5 Home Sweet Home

This escape plan was planned as I wanted to celebrate my birthday overseas and was looking for a affordable location with a beautiful and UNESCO listed landscape and at the same time, suitable for my parents.

I have always wanted to visit Halong Bay with an overnight cruise and this was the opportunity to do so.

Budget nature: Affordable. 

If you want to save, this similar itinerary can be carried out in less than SGD700 ALL IN. For us, as we preferred to spend a bit more for better comfort, we spent a little more. The food and accommodation was cheap by standards and that was the primary reason. 

Complexity: DIY possible but require to join local tours

Though Hanoi is a tourist location, communication can still be challenging. Transportation to various places in the city can be done by cab but I don’t know whether scamming is prevalent since I went by tour. Day trips are taken care by tour operators that pick up direct from hotels and should not be a problem. Attempts to drive would be suicidal and day trips drive are too far to be worth the effort.