Once on board there is really not much to do. The first minutes you will be doing photos as crazy, of every island, every boat passing by and so...
But after a while, you better take a hamoc, lay down, relax and enjoy the landscape. After 2 hours you won't be so amazed at the magnificient landscape, you will pay more attention to the other passengers, will play cards with them, or read a book or listen to some music.
Backpack, Bathing Suit and Insect Repellent
Getting to and touring around Halong Bay requires traveling by busses, walking and getting on and off boats (the tour companies will provide this service as a seamless package). Luggage in this instance is difficult, so leave what you can at a hotel and stuffing all your belongings for the trip to Halong Bay in a day or weekender backpack.
You will be spending most of your time on a boat with no way of getting any extra supplies so make sure you bring everything you need with you (except for food and water which is of course available) Remember to bring…bathing suit, sun screen, insect repellent, long sleeves and pants (mosquitoes), sandals, comfortable clothes for hot weather, hat, sunglasses AND a small flashlight (the electricity gets turned off at about 11 PM to save the generator) Bring a disposable waterproof camera for those Kayak trips and swimming adventures.
Be prepared to take lots of pictures the vistas are beautiful.
Attention Digital Camera users…bring a small tripod if you have it for the sunsets. Many boat do have electricity for part of the day so bring your battery chargers
North East Vietnam
We spent one night aboard a "junk" vessel in the South China Sea. We kayaked the first day, while others in our group swam. We found a small island covered with shells and coral. Because we were in a bay, the night on the boat was very calm. This was our first "group tour". There were about 16 people in our group from all over the world.
"Entrance to the Caves"
We stopped at some caves, discovered by the French. We toured around the inside of the cave for about 2 hours. It was very hot & humid inside the caves.
This is the "core" of our group. The 6 of us spent most of the time on our tour together. Left to Right: Darius (Denmark), Jodi (Canada), Bac (Vietnam - guide), Matt (Australia), Julie (French Canadian living in USA), Freddy (Denmark). This was the best group. We all got along great, and spent many a night up late drinking Bia Hoi!!
The People Of the Bay
Click on pictures to enlarge
Suzanne and I took a midnight swim among the Bioluminescence last night and it was AMAZING...! We jumped in from the side of the boat and everywhere we disturbed the water we saw little glowing dots. When we waved are arms underwater, it looked like we had glowing blue sparklers on the end of our fingers. In one place the plankton were especially heavy and when we were treading water there the entire area around us glowed. Gill got up and watched us for a bit from the safely of the boat and really enjoyed the show from above. We spent well over an hour swimming and splashing as much as we could to create the splendid glow...only returning to the boat when we started getting chilled and realized we still had to have the energy to climb up the incredibly steep boat ladder (everyone else was asleep by then so if we ran into trouble we were S..Out Of Luck)