Booking accommodation in advance through travel agencies is a good idea when traveling to Indochina, especially when you intend to stay at hotels with star ratings. Local travel agencies are normally given better rates than clients who check directly with hotels. Hotels in Cambodia often live up to your expectation of their star ratings but be aware of hotels in Vietnam and Laos, they can sometimes called 3 star but turned out to be mini 2 star hotels compared with that of European standard. So there is an advice that you should check carefully the hotels’ websites before making decision as qualities can vary among many hotels at the same range of star.
It can be the same with tours. For example, many travelers nowadays can be seen going round various travel agencies in Hanoi's old quarter in order to get information for a trip to Halong Bay. You should always expect that prices offered to you by various agencies can vary from 30$ to 300$ per person for an overnight trip. So sometimes choosing a tour that costs 159$ may be a good choice rather than taking a cruise which costs only 30$ per person. My suggestion is that you should request to get as much information about the tours as possible ( for example, asking for some pictures of the boats, what are included and what are not, etc). By this way, you will avoid being surprised.
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