Ha Long Bay, a must go

A trip to Vietnam just wouldn’t be complete without a cruise on Ha Long Bay. Not only is Ha Long Bay a place of absolute beauty but the boats (um…small ships?) being smaller, they become a great opportunity to meet fellow travellers.

Various companies run cruises ranging from 2-days / 1-night cruises to 4-days / 3-nights (too long IMO). Aside from the décor on the boats, they are more or less the same. Same same but different as far as the activities go so don’t get too hung up on which one you choose, just go with a well-reviewed cruise. No, none of these companies lets you cruise around Ha Long Bay in a stealth warship like in 007 Tommorrow Never Dies.

Most (if not all) companies will provide or arrange a bus service from Hanoi to the dock area for the cruises to Ha Long Bay which will take out 3-4 hours of your day.

Once on the cruise and checking in formalities aside, typical (and most common) activities will include:

  • Kayaking and exploring caves by kayak via the floating village. Don’t worry, if you are not kayaking inclined they will take people out in a motorised boat.
  • A visit to Cits various islands. (Ti Top and Cat Ba are popular tourist spots)

    View from Ti Top
  • At least one of the many caves

    Caves of Hang Sung Sot. Be prepared for lines of tourists to get in.
  • Swimming opportunities
  • On board activities such as cooking classes and Tai Chi

    Swimming and really expensive coconut drinks

Definitely recommend you take the effort to wake for the sunrise, that is a sight to behold over such a stunning place, It’s a UNESCO world heritage site for a reason!

Sunrise on Ha Long Bay

And of course, the most important thing, no street vendors? Worry not, the street vendors come to you!

Just when you think you are free from the haggling…

Ha Long Bay cruises
Various companies run cruises. A quick internet search will result in quite a number of them.

Getting there:

  • Have the cruise company or booking agency organise a bus. Convenient to do this from Hanoi.
  • Private car if you so choose to but it will cost you a fair bit

Recommended time:

  • 2 day / 1 night cruises – 3 days / 2 night cruises.
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