HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam’s first seaplane service launched last month, cutting the travel time from Hanoi to Halong Bay to 30 minutes wheels up to pontoons down.
To inaugurate the new, long-sought alternative to the four-hour, overland haul, Hai Au Aviation has launched a joint promotion with Emeraude Classic Cruises through Dec. 31.
The planes lift off at 10 am from the tarmac at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport and touch down on water at Tuan Chau Marina. From the marina, passengers then ferry to the Emeraude for a noon departure onto Halong Bay.
Hai Au’s maiden flight took place on Sept. 9. The airline flies Cessna Caravan C208 EX, manufactured in June 2014 in Wichita, Kansas in the United States. The 42-foot long aircraft seats 12 and cruises at 260 km/h under the command of two pilots. Hai Au notes on its Web site that the Caravan is the largest single-engine float plane.
“The Hai Au alternative opens up a whole new market segment for Halong Bay,” said Kurt Walter, the Emeraude’s general manager. “For many, the prospect of a three to four hour overland drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay is an insurmountable hurdle.”
The VND 11,697,000 per person package includes a one-way flight from Noi Bai to Halong, a private cabin for two, all meals, the cruise, onshore excursions and overland transportation back to Hanoi in a private vehicle. Those who’d prefer to return by plane can take a 4:30 pm flight for an additional charge.
For more information on booking a seat and a berth, contact Mr. Bao at [email protected]