The combination of travel agents who promise the earth but deliver nothing but a pile of smelly dirt and travellers with totally unrealistic expectations has long made for a very volatile Ha Long Bay cocktail. What with some 500 licensed junks and the vast majority of travellers to Vietnam experiencing Ha Long Bay via a group tour, one of the most common questions one hears is “How do I pick a good tour?”.
Competition has driven prices down to absurdly low levels and as corner cutting, cheating and bare-faced lies become par for the course so do travellers leaving with a bad taste in their mouth… but it needn’t be that way.
We’ve just added a five part series looking at how to select the right tour to suit your needs — we sent our intrepid researcher on three separate tours — a bargain basement jaunt, a flashpacker option and a more fancy schmantzy choice — and the results are in. Follow the links below to learn all you’ll ever need to know to pick the right tour for you.
Ha Long Bay introduction
Ha Long Bay for backpackers
Ha Long Bay for flashpackers
Ha Long Bay for budget-busters
Ha Long Bay conclusions and a confession
We’ve just added another feature in our “How do I?” series, this time covering one of SE Asia’s more infamous routes, the Bangkok to Siem Reap overland trip. Read on to get all the information you’ll need including timetables and pricing information — Bangkok Siem Reap Overland.
We’ve just added the miniscule Con Dao Archipelago to Travelfish. Just under 200km off the coast of Vung Tau, they’re a haven for both divers and bushwalkers — and anyone who wants to get right off the beaten track. You can read all about the Con Dao Islands here.
We’ve just polished off our updated coverage of the Lao capital of Vientiane. We’ve (finally) added a detailed map, more bars and restaurants, expanded the sights coverage and of course reviewed and broadened our reviews of the best places to stay in town. Read our revised Vientiane coverage here
Phuket has long had a bad rap for being one of the most expensive destinations in Thailand, but it need not be that way. Read on for our guide covering many ways backpackers and independent travellers can save money including links to detailed reviews of 18 guesthouses and hotels for less than 600B a night. Read on for more information on doing Phuket on the cheap.
We’ve just finished updating our coverage on Railay Bay and Nopphara Thara Beaches — all just a hop, skip and a float from Krabi in Thailand’s south. Check it out to get up-to-date reviews on some of the best places to stay in the area.
Railay Bay coverage
Nopphara Thara coverage
Every now and then we get queries along the lines of:
‘If you run a website covering Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, why do you live in Indonesia?”
It’s a great question — the reason being thay one of us accepted a job here, transporting us from succulent Phnom Penh to chewy as leather Jakarta.
One reason we didn’t move to Jakarta is covered today by Tim Leffel on his handy “Cheapest Destinations” blog. Under the title The Worldâ€™s Most Polluted Cities we read that:
“For the record, the only other city outside of China and India making the list, besides Cairo, was Jakarta.”
We’ve just added a new feature story — a Guide to Scuba Diving in Phuket — covering many of the main sites and including some information on the costs involved. You can read the full diving guide here.
We’ve just added coverage to the small town of Ninh Binh, but a hop, skip and a jump from Hanoi. If you’re interesting in visiting one of Vietnam’s imperial capitals and perhaps taking a boat ride through “Ha Long Bay on the land”, then you may want to check out our Ninh Binh coverage.