Bhaya Classic unveals a stunning brand new look

Bhaya Classic, the largest luxury cruise fleet in Halong Bay,the largest luxury cruise fleet in Halong Bay, has recently refurbished four of its boats with a remarkable upgrade, resulting in an impressive brand new look for September 2015.

Bhaya Classic brand new look in 2015

The year 2015 has marked another notable change for the Bhaya Classic fleet. Between May and September 2015, the four Bhaya Classic boats (I, II, III and IV) have undergone a major refurbishment in order to bring a more elegant feel and fresher appearance to Halong Bay’s largest cruise operator. During the past five months, the interior design of all the cabins in each boat have been completely refreshed with new wooden floors, wooden panels, a whole new set of beddings and room decorations.

Now, we are proud to introduce you to the BRAND NEW LOOK of the Bhaya Classic!

The brand new look was officially revealed in September 2015 in Halong Bay. The exquisite beauty of nature inspired the new classical and traditional decoration. The green and brown colours of the accommodation create a comfortable and harmonic atmosphere, coupled with new high quality beddings, in which passengers can look forward to a relaxing and enjoyable stay.

Bhaya Classic new look 2015

Bhaya Classic brand new look 2015

Bhaya Classic brand new look 2015

Bhaya Classic is also very proud of its high safety standards, which are regularly checked and serviced. Meticulous care is always taken to ensure the continued maximum safety for all guests and staff.

With this major upgrade in 2015, Bhaya Classic continues to strengthen its role as the leading cruise operator in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay.

Let’s have a brief tour of our freshly upgraded boats:

Bhaya Classic new look 2015

Bhaya Classic new look 2015

Bhaya Classic new look 2015

Fun for kids on an overnight cruise in Halong Bay

Traveling on a cruise boat for family trip seems more reveled to adults than their kids since cruising often means relaxing and enjoying a slow life. However, with the diversified biogeography, Halong Bay provides more interesting activities that may also attract children.

Family trip on Bhaya Classic Cruises Halong BayIn a Halong Bay cruise, you don’t have to worry about not having enough fun things to enjoy for a family trip. While adults prefer a peaceful vacation with lots of resting and being lazy, kids often look for more active things to do.

With their active nature, kids often couldn’t stay still in a limited space of a cabin, or even a cruise ship. A variety of activities that is well organized will help fill their schedule and keep them fun. What can keep your kids attracted in their free time? Check out some suggestion from Bhaya Classic team:

Have fun with our Head Chef

Bhaya Classic’s talented Head Chef is not only someone who takes superb care of all your meals (and sometimes weight) during the trip, but you will also meet him countless times in some on board activities.

Cooking demonstration - Spring roll in Bhaya Classic CruisesOn the first day, the Chef himself will teach you a really simple but authentic Vietnamese cooking demonstration. The dish, spring roll, is popular and delicious, yet super easy to make. Kids love playing with food, and even love it more if there’s something to actually eat after playing. Therefore, give them a chance to do what they are normally not allowed to do at home. This is one of the most favorite sessions of our tiny guests, especially the part when they get to eat what they have made. From now on, you can brag about being able to cook the authentic Vietnamese cuisine to your friends back home.

Water fun cannot be missed on a cruise trip

Sport activities in water are forever loved by kids. Cruising in one of the most beautiful bay in the world, you obviously shouldn’t miss any water activities offered by the operator. This is also an opportunity to enjoy the family’s participation and exchange some exciting memories with your children.

Fun-for-kid-in-Halong-Bay-Cruises-2Famous with the calm and peaceful water, kayaking and swimming in Halong Bay is especially safer for children. Share a kayak boat with one of your kids and let him/her take the lead in the front seat. For that you can always keep an eye on their safety, while still give them the feeling of completing the challenge themselves.

If you’re lucky enough to arrange a 3D2N trip, there will definitely some times to stop in one of Halong Bay’s white sand beaches. Surrounded by the legendary green limestone and karsts, the beach might not be huge but indeed lovely. Swimming nearby with the kids or just sunbathing lazily under the sun, or ask our staffs for some simple sport like tug or soccer.

The friendly staffs are always there for your kid

Relaxing will be so much easier when you can let your kids off doing whatever they want around the boat. Our staffs love children, and therefore, will always be around and keep an eye on the small guests. Sometimes they became best friends. And our friends often gave us so many surprises by innocent love or unexpected gifts sometimes.

Kids on Bhaya Classic Cruises in Halong Bay

One lovely gift from our tiny guests

Tips on booking cruise cabins for a family trip

Halong Bay is famous for being a popular destination for family trip as each generation may find their own activities and fun. Worrying about not being able to stay together in a room is no more a problem as the new trendy small boats have something special to offer and solve the question.Family trip in Halong BayQuiet and more privacy

New small cruises concept has become the latest trend in Halong Bay for travelers who want to spend a timid and quiet vacation in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Operating on a small 5-7 cabin boat means only a maximum group of only 12 – 16 passengers will share the journey. No need to worry about the noisy crowd that may annoy your kids or elders! If lucky enough, you may get to share the boats with only 2-3 other families, who actually has the same vision of a cozy trip. Your vacation will be as peaceful as the jade-colored sea and breath-taking limestone around.Family trip in Halong BayConnecting cabin for the whole family

Deciding a suitable cabin type for your needs in a cruise trip is not simple in any circumstance, but choosing a perfect room for a family trip of 5-6 members with kids (and even elders) is even a tougher job. With limited space of a boat, can more than 2 people fit in 1 cabin? Is letting your 2 children sleep separatedly in another cabin safe or not? If not, should each of you accompany 1 kid and cannot spend time together?

Premium Balcony Cabin for family trip in Halong BayHalong Bay cannot carry on giant luxury ships with huge cabins like other destinations due to the special geographic formation. But nowadays, cruise boats have been onboard with more family-friendly facilities and services. One of which is the connecting cabins with at least 1 pair per boat. Bhaya Classic’s new premium line has provided more spacious cabins that allow maximum 3 guests, therefore, 1 pair of connecting cabin can fit maximum 6 guests – a perfect number for family or a group of friend. With a connecting door that can be opened from both sides, you can choose to leave your members a little privacy or join them for a smooth time together.

Tips for family trip in Halong Bay

Family trip in Halong Bay

  • Book early! Normally only 1 pair of connecting cabins available in each boat, make sure you get your hand on it soon enough.
  • Choose the itinerary carefully. Each cruise operators might offer a different program with different activities. Make sure the itinerary has something that your kids can participate like swimming, beach activities or other fun.
  • Inform the crew in advance about any special food request for kids or elders. All the family members should dine comfortably and tasty.

Bhaya Classic Won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence

The latest and famous TripAdvisor award has been announced. For the 5th consecutive year, Bhaya Classic has won the Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, which is approved by thousands of travelers around the world.

Bhaya Classic TripAdvisor Certificate of ExcellenceBeing the largest cruises fleet in Halong Bay for the past 8 years, Bhaya Classic never stops striving for excellence in facilities and service. The top-quality service has been recognized by travelers all around the world through TripAdvisor over the past 3 years The lovely reviews, which can be found here if you want, is the most meaningful gift and biggest motivation for our passionate team.

Bhaya Classic Crew MembersThe achievement has been built by the continuous effort from our cruise team over the past 8 years. These young people, who work with their hearts, are the soul and spirit of Bhaya Classic. Cruising in the Bay every day, they’re not only the expert of Halong Bay, but also assistants and best friends to the guests.

 

We stayed on the Bhaya III and could not have asked for a better crew, The warm welcome and service was 1st class. We would highly recommend this company.
It was our 25th wedding anniversary holiday and the crew made it a very memorable one, thank you!

Herne Bay, United Kingdom

 Wow what an amazing experience! A beautiful boat crewed by the most delightful individuals.Site seeing aside, attention to detail and the best possible customer service made this an absolute pleasure.

Sue & Andy, United Kingdom

 From the moment we were walking towards the boat and saw the crew standing there waving and calling out “welcome”, we knew this cruise would be wonderful and we were right. Nothing was too much trouble, the food was worthy of a fine dining restaurant and the crew were some of the friendliest people we have ever met.”

Rita, Australia

The year has been a great one for Bhaya Classic. We had welcomed special events including a breath-taking fashion show on board, cruise with famous chef, personal anniversary and company’s retreats. 2015 is still half way to go. Bhaya Classic team is still making effort every day to bring a meaningful lifetime cruising experience to travelers from all over the world.

In Bhaya, Safety and Service Are What Matter

Bhaya Classc in dry dockOnce a year, Bhaya Classic rests herself in an annual dry dock.

Being put into service as the largest cruises fleet in Halong Bay since 2007 doesn’t make Bhaya Classic team an old and behind folk. Serving about 50,000 passengers each year and cruising every day in the tough tropical weather of Halong Bay, the ships cannot stay away from aging forever. However, there is a reason why Bhaya Classic can still maintain her leading and top-notch position among younger teams in the Bay over the past 8 years. The annual 1-2 month scrupulous dry dock of Bhaya Classic allows the ships to be refreshed and renovated to secure safety and perfect facility throughout.

Why bother resting for the whole one or even 2 months of the year while the demand doesn’t even decrease? In Bhaya Classic, it’s not just about making profit by having the ship cruising all year long. Cruising in the World Heritage of Halong Bay is about providing a meaningful and unique journey, leaving people with memories and satisfaction. That’s what traveling means to us, to all those travelers out there seeking for experience and enjoyment in their trips.

What happens to Bhaya Classic fleet in the dock and off the bay?

Bhaya Cruises in Dry DockBhaya Classic Deluxe lines will respectively undergo dry dock from 2nd May to 21st September. During 1 month resting, what happens to each of our boats?

  • Hull’s going under checking to assure the integrity of the steel and boat’s safety
  • Engines and technical categories are under maintenance
  • Safety equipment are carefully examined and renewed
  • The interior and furniture in cabins, restaurant, bar and sundeck are repainted and polished, resulting in a renovation in appearance
  • New facilities and equipment are installed

Bhaya Classic in Dry DockOnce out of dry dock, Bhaya Classic will slip back to the Bay with remarkable refurbishment of safety equipment, facilities and appearance, hence expected to provide even higher quality service to advance our guests’ cruising experience.

In the end, putting the ship in a dry dock is not just our annual job, but more about our passion and promise to deliver superlative safety, well-equipped facilities and perfect service to customers.

The most amusing part of the story is: WE STILL CRUISE! With the team of 4, Bhaya Classic fleet is always in service during May and September. Enjoy the cruise, while waiting for our brand new image!

Bhaya Classic Introduces new Premium Balcony Cabin option

Bhaya Classic is proud to introduce the exclusive Premium Balcony Cabin in 3 newly launched boats in April 2015. This exciting new option gives travellers a comfortable and private cruising experience in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay.

Bhaya Classic Premium OverviewWith a total of 20 square meters, the Premium Balcony Cabin boasts a wide, open space with room for 3 guests improving on the previous standard of 2 guests. All cabins also feature a private balcony overlooking the breathtaking scenery of Halong Bay. The spacious cabins, elegantly designed with luxury interiors, also offer connecting rooms for families.

Bhaya Classic Deluxe Twin cabin with BalconyGoing against the trend of building bigger boats, our new line of luxury cruises are made with intimacy in mind. Our new line creates a cozy atmosphere with a maximum of 15 passengers split between 5-7 cabins per vessel. Besides being cozier and quieter, the smaller size creates a personalized touch when exploring the emerald waters of Halong Bay. The exclusive Premium Balcony Cabins are available for booking from 1st April 2015.

Already well known for the most extensive cruise fleet in Halong Bay, Bhaya Classic Cruises strives to create unique experiences to travellers from all over the world. The new additions to the fleet bring a new level of luxury and intimacy when taking in the awe-inspiring scenery of Halong Bay.

Premium Balcony Cabins from Bhaya Classic Premium Lines are ready for booking a Halong Bay trip from 1st April 2015.

Bhaya Classic Premium sundeck

 

Squid fishing on Halong Bay

Squid fishing is one of the most interesting outdoor activities for travelers once they decide to go cruising to enjoy the magnificent seascape and dreamlike coves of Halong Bay. The feeling of dropping net like local fishermen in Halong Bay triggers many travelers’ curiosity and becomes one of many highlights which draw attention of people worldwide.Squid Fishing on Halong Bay Bhaya CruiseThe beginning of the squid season is around April and tends to finish around January. Early on, the squid are often smaller but as the season goes on, the more the squids feed themselves, the bigger they get. The highest peak of the squid fishing season usually starts from August to December and if you have desire to catch squid with the biggest size throughout the year, you’d better wait until October and November.

There is a tendency that you will find most of your squids around rocks and seaweeds. Gangways are often very good for squid, and you will often be able to tell if squid have been caught recently, as you may well see squid-ink stains on the decking. Remember, night time tends to be more productive.

Squid Fishing on Bhaya Cruise Halong BayTravelers are always provided with gear, fishing rods and racquets so that they can actively use them to catch squids. Normally, during the squid season, it would be common to see large squids hovering around the cruises and each person may catch an average of 20 squids for each squid fishing night. The squids caught will be used to make dishes for cruisers.

Moreover, squid fishing is also a very interesting night time activity because it is time for you to gaze the sparkling Halong Bay sea water surface. At the end of the day, eating boiled squid fish, feeling ink line breaking in the mouth, drinking wine and singing karaoke are the best way to mark an unforgettable night in the UNESCO World Heritage – Halong Bay, Vietnam.

BHAYA CRUISES EARNS 2013 TRIPADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE

Bhaya Cruises, a leading cruise operator in Halong Bay, has recently been honored as Certificate of Excellence 2013 Winner by TripAdvisor®. This is the third year continuously Bhaya Cruises has been recognized as top performing cruise in Halong Bay thanks to its excellent services.

certificateOfExcellence_2013The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

“We are so pleased to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and most grateful to all our guests who have taken the time to review us on TripAdvisor. We strive to offer our guests more than just a cruise but a lifetime experience in Halong Bay with impeccable service and a broad range of culture and leisure activities. Positive traveler reviews on TripAdvisor are always meaningful gifts to our hard working and passionate team” says Mr Tran Thanh Nam, Chairman of Bhaya Cruises Company.

“The Certificate of Excellence award provides top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers.” said Alison Copus, Vice President of Marketing for TripAdvisor for Business.

Bhaya Cruises got recommended on The Independent UK

The Independent

A breathless week in non-stop Vietnam

Mark Stratton embarks on a turbo-charged seven days travelling from north to south – all made possible by the first direct flights from the UK

Mark Stratton

Sunday, 15 January 2012

‘Good Morning Vietnam!” boomed the taxi driver shuttling me from the airport to breakfast in Hanoi.

His Robin Williams impersonation wasn’t great. But I’d certainly arrived early enough – on the first-ever non-stop flight from the UK to Vietnam – to witness Hanoi waking up. The city’s parks swayed to tai chi; hungry patrons breakfasted on pho noodles at pavement food-stalls. Even Hanoi’s millions of motorcyclists had not yet reached the ear-splitting pitch that marks the daily rush hour.

Vietnam Airlines has just begun flying from Gatwick to the capital, Hanoi, and the main commercial hub, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), each at opposing ends of the country. Is Vietnam, then, now within the realm of an exotic week-long break? I decided to find out during a turbo-charged trip flying “open jaw” in to Hanoi and out of Ho Chi Minh City. In between I’d experience one of Asia’s great rail journeys, plus Halong Bay: one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.

Vietnam has embraced the internet energetically, and before travelling I’d saved time booking everything online: visa, airport transfers, train ticket, day trips and accommodation. My hotel was a friendly new guesthouse called the Art Hotel in Hanoi’s atmospheric old quarter around Hoan Kiem Lake. There was no app available, however, to assist with my disorientation amid the old quarter’s frenetic maze of markets, cafés, street-restaurants and crumbling French colonial architecture.

Hanoi became Vietnam’s capital in 1010. The old quarter’s labyrinthine geography appears to have changed little since then. My survival strategy for exploring it (beyond not getting run over by scooters) involved allowing fate to deliver me hither and thither. I happened upon backstreet gems such as Bach Ma’s 18th-century temple dedicated to a white horse spirit, and a handsome 19th-century house at 87 Ma May, whose hidden courtyards and creaky wooden rooms were redolent of a forgotten age.

Besides baguettes, Hanoi’s most eloquent Francophone expression is the decadently opulent Metropole Hotel, which dates back to 1901. During the Vietnam War it played host to various anti-war celebrities, including Jane Fonda, while the hotel recently unearthed a forgotten air-raid shelter where Joan Baez part-recorded her protest ballad “Where are you now, my son?”. But the times, as her old flame Dylan noted, they are a-changin’.

Luxury outlets such as Bentley and Cartier surround the hotel, a reflection of communist Vietnam’s post-war economic liberalisation. Its reforms have mirrored China’s authoritarian capitalism. Hammer-and-sickle motifs on public buildings and visibly prominent green-uniformed soldiers are a reminder to the visitor that Vietnam’s one-party state remains a politically repressive regime, intolerant of dissent.

The arrival of top-end British motor cars and luxury French watchmakers would not have amused Vietnam’s revolutionary guiding light, Ho Chi Minh, with whom I would come face-to-face with later at his mausoleum. A short walk outside the old quarter, amid a stylish suburb of French Art Deco villas around Ba Dinh Square, and I joined a lengthy queue of Vietnamese filing into his monolithic mausoleum: a Soviet-style Parthenon. Inside, I had less than a minute to file by his waxy corpse (still with signature straggly goatee) as it lay in quiet repose inside a glass chamber flanked by expressionless soldiers with glinting bayonets. I exited at the propaganda-drenched Ho Chi Minh Museum, perhaps Hanoi’s most obvious expression of concrete neo-brutalism.

Hanoi is also responsible for some of South-east Asia’s tastiest street food, the best of which I sought with Belgian expatriate Yves from HG Travel, with whom I’d organised several excursions. Down Ngo Trang Tien near his office, we ate bun dau: tofu served with vermicelli-noodle cakes soaked in fermented squid sauce.

“Many visitors don’t like this strong taste,” said Yves. I did. The 75p dish combined hot chilli, slimy vermicelli and the pungent sauce, but somehow it worked.

Pavement eateries aren’t the limit of Hanoi’s culinary ambitions. That evening I dined at the Press Club, haunt of Hanoi’s well-heeled – a decadent whirl of white tablecloths, silver service and Asian woodwork. It may be the swankiest fine-dining eatery in town, but my three-course meal (featuring Australian tenderloin beef in green peppercorn sauce) cost just 975,000 dong (around £30).

The general manager, Kurt Walter, told me that since opening in 1997 the restaurant’s clientele has expanded from expatriates to a mix that now includes the Vietnamese nouveau riche.

Before heading south, there was time for an excursion eastwards, to the coast. After a three-hour drive from Hanoi, I was ensconced on a wooden junk marvelling at Halong Bay’s breathtaking limestone karsts: sharpened like shark-fins, or undercut to form stone toadstools, or in pitted rows resembling cavity-filled dentures.

“I’ve been here 100 times but never tire of their beauty,” said Dang Dong, my guide. During our four-hour cruise we watched foraging sea-eagles and ate squid, tiger prawns and cockles. Then it was time to shuttle back to Hanoi to catch the 11pm Reunification Express to Ho Chi Minh City.

She left on time. I boarded the rather functionally named SE3 service, which pulled out of Hanoi station with a groan of metal I’d heard before in disaster movies. I’d booked into a comfortable four-berth soft-sleeper cabin for a whopping 1.76 million dong (just £54). The 30-hour, 1,726km marathon south proved a scenic revelation.

Relaunched in 1976 after wartime partition, the rail route shadows two borders – those of Laos and Cambodia – while to the east the Gulf of Tonkin morphs into the South China Sea. My fellow passengers came and went, jumping off at exotic destinations such as Hue, the ancient imperial capital straddling the Perfume River; and Danang for Hoi An, a coastal port whose architecture has been richly augmented by centuries of foreign trade. I remained for the long haul, immersed in Graham Greene’s Vietnam classic, The Quiet American, and gazing seawards as the SE3 snaked through tunnels, along plunging coastal cliffs, past deserted beaches and rice-paddies being furrowed by buffalo.

I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City a mere 96 frenetic hours after touching down in Hanoi. During the 2002 remake of The Quiet American, Michael Caine and the rest of the cast stayed at Hotel Caravelle, which hosted journalists during the Vietnam War. Even after the hotel was bombed in 1964, they continued frequenting its Saigon Saigon Bar, which still swings away on the 9th floor. The hotel has been refurbished along with Saigon’s name: it is now Ho Chi Minh City’s most luxurious offering. I rolled in at 6am after two nights on the rails, eager for a bed that didn’t rattle.

The next morning, I learnt that Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are worlds apart. Founded in 1698, the southern city outshines its northern rival in size and population, and in the burgeoning capitalism epitomised by the designer soaked Dong Khoi Street, nicknamed locally “Champs-Elysées”. Its broader French boulevards prove even more hazardous to cross than in Hanoi – with relentless, molten streams of scooters.

There’s rivalry, too, between the cities. I was variously told the North Vietnamese were haughty, unfriendly, too serious, and obsessed by bureaucracy. Tittle tattle, maybe, but the cultural differences are still tangible between the Western-influenced south and the more communist north. There are also differing dialects and cuisine, with Ho Chi Minh City’s food influenced by its large Chinese contingency and its climate – it was a good 10C hotter than chilly Hanoi when I visited.

Many of the city’s highlights fall within administrative District 1 (the equivalent of a central business zone) including two must-sees around Tao Dan Park. Communist tanks stormed the Independence Palace on 30 April 1975, ending the war. The tanks are still mounted within this former South Vietnamese headquarters in attractive grounds of azalea and frangipani. The building itself has become the Reunification Palace, but retains its 1960s-era modernist interior that is full-on Thunderbirds retro, all curving sofas and leather-clad cocktail bars.

Nearby, the absorbing War Remnants Museum hosts sobering exhibits of Agent Orange’s lasting effects on the Vietnamese, alongside a gripping collection of wartime photography seen through the lenses of Robert Capa and his contemporaries.

Meanwhile, Ben Thanh market seduces visitors with souvenir shops, bars, spas and a nightly food market. On my last evening, I grazed there on banh xeo crêpes stuffed with bean sprouts, before migrating to Thuong Hien street to eat steamed crab claws and green mussels. But I preferred the grittier authenticity of Binh Tay market, 10km away in Cholon, established by Saigon’s sizeable Chinese community. I reached it by riding pillion on a xe-om motorbike-taxi (drivers tout for business on every street corner). It’s a handy service, but my safety helmet’s markings – “hope you are lucky” – probably said it best.

One week after leaving London, the evening timing of Vietnam Airlines’ Friday departure permitted one last excursion; 60km outside Saigon lie the remarkable Cu Chi defensive tunnels, dug on three levels by the Viet Cong in the 1960s. My guide, Dam, and I potholed through sections of the 250km complex, which survived B52 bombing, and rediscovered the surface in plenty of time for my flight.

I arrived back in London at 6am on Saturday morning weary but with the weekend to shake off jetlag. Slow travel it wasn’t. But a non-stop flight seemed tailor-made for a non-stop destination. Vietnam never pauses for breath.

The Itinerary

Friday: Depart Gatwick on flight VN0144 at noon

Saturday: Arrive Hanoi 6.40am Hanoi sightseeing

Sunday: Hanoi sightseeing

Monday: Daytrip to Ha Long Bay from 8am-6pm; board SE3 Reunification Express to Ho Chi Minh City at 11pm

Tuesday: All day on Train

Wednesday: Arrive Ho Chi Minh City at 5am. Sightseeing

Thursday: Sightseeing

Friday: Cu Chi Tunnels excursion from 8am to 2pm. Depart Ho Chi Minh City on flight VN0141 at 11.15pm

Saturday: Arrive Gatwick 6am

Travel Essentials

Getting There

Vietnam Airlines (020-3263 2062; vietnamairlines.com) flies non-stop from Gatwick to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City twice weekly; £618 return. Open-jaw fares start at £780.

Staying There

Art Hotel, Hanoi (00 84 98 234 5239; hanoiarthotel.com). Doubles start at US$38.50 (£26), including breakfast.

Hotel Metropole, Hanoi (00 84 4 3826 6919; sofitel.com). Doubles from £175, room only. Hotel Caravelle, Ho Chi Minh City (00 84 8 3823 4999; caravellehotel.com). Doubles from $200 (£133), room only.

Getting Around

For train reservations, see vietnam-trains.com. A single ticket from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in a four-berth cabin costs 1.76m dong (£54).

Visiting There

Local operator HG Travel (hgtravel.com) can arrange excursions and tours to destinations such as Cu Chi and Halong Bay (bhayacruises.com).

The Press Club, Hanoi (00 84 4 3934 0888; hanoi-pressclub.com).

More Information

British passport-holders require a visa, available for £44 from the Vietnam Embassy, 12 Victoria Road, London W8 5RD (020-7937 1912; vietnamembassy.org.uk). Authorisation letters for visas on arrival can be obtained from myvietnamvisa.com for £12.29, plus a US$25 (£16.70) stamping fee on arrival. Vietnam Tourist Board: vietnamtourism.com

Last Minute Deal – Big Promotion Ever – Only $135/pax !!!

Last Minute Deal – Halong Bay 2 day 1 night cruise on Bhaya Classic. 30% off or only $135 per person/night from now to 15 Oct. 2011! Visit our website at www.bhayacruises.com or Contact us now at: sales@bhayacruises.com

 Up to 30% OFF or $135 only per person/night from today to 15 Oct. 2011. This limited-time, special introductory promotion offers an unbeatable chance to discover one of the world’s most adored travel destinations: Halong Bay, while enjoying the ultimate comfort and luxury onboard a Bhaya Classic cruise vessel.

See more details of this promotion