Ha Long Bay, Hanoi
Go to Halong Bay for a day trip even if the weather isn't the best, which it wasn't when I went in March, 2008.
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site which has 1000's of limestone karsts and islands in all different shapes and sizes.
There is a legend here, and it goes like this......
"When the Vietnamese were fighting off the Chinese invaders, the Gods sent a family of Dragons to defend the land. They spat out Jewels and Jade, and these in turn became the Islands and Islets of today. They formed a barrier to prevent the invaders. Afterwards, the Dragons were interested in peaceful sightseeing and decided to live there"
The place where mother Dragon flew down is known as "Ha Long," where the Dragon children attended to their mother is Bai Tu Long Island, and where the Dragon children wiggled their tails is Bach Long Vy Island. .....Interesting?
This tour included a visit to the caves, which were excellent, a fish farm, an extra side tour, (excellent) and lunch on the "Junk"
Halong Bay is located in a tropical wet area that only has two seasons, hot and moist Summer and a dry and cold Winter.
It is a great days outing in all kinds of weather, just make sure you take a jacket, it does get cold.
The fog & Mist gave the rocky outcrops an eerie appearance!
IT IS A VERY LONG TOUR, BUT ONE THAT SHOULD NOT BE MISSED WHEN IN HANOI.
I came to Ha long bay 2 years ago and slept overnight on cruise. It was amazing to watch the sunrise on the bay from the sun deck after finishing the practice of Tai Chi class. The bay was so peaceful in the morning, Taking a sip of Vietnamese tea, the bitter in the mouth, the delectably sweet on the throat and tongue upon. What so wonderful....!
This is the best way for you to explore the breathtaking scenery in Ha Long Bay with the six hundred square miles of paradise in the north East of Vietnam, offer the visitor many exciting opportunities to discover the mysterious haven in there. Kayaking is very popular in Ha long and attracts a lot of travelers all over the world. It is considered as a must-do if you really want to adventure Ha Long Bay wholeheartedly.
Ha long Bay is one of the most scenically beautiful place on earth with 3000 limestone cliff, many of which rise in the water. It is worth exploring especially for those who are interested in adventurous sports.
With the diverse coral reef and ecosystem, scuba diving will become a favorite activity for tourist. This is a unique opportunity to cruise and dive through one of the world's great natural wonders in style and comfort. Joining to scuba diving, you will have chance to experience the feeling of conquering the natural beauty and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and tranquility undersea.
Beside the exciting activities during daylight hours, let take part in Squid Fishing to undergo the mysterious night in Ha Long Bay. This is particular interesting for the group of friends or family. Just experience yourself as a fisherman and enjoy the achievements from the fishing. Boat service will be pleased to cook your dinner with the squids and fish captured.
Ha Long Bay has not only beautiful beaches and limestone but also peaceful islands which are waiting for you to explore by bicycle. Imagine you are cycling along the beaches or fishing villages, and enjoy the light of stunning sunset. It is really awesome.
It is wonderful if you can enjoy clear and blue water of Ha long Bay, play with waves and build sand castle or simply just lying on the beaches and enjoying the tropical sunlight. You can enjoy the best services in luxury cruises.
No visit to Ha Long Bay would be complete without visiting the Venice of Vietnam, or as they are more commonly known, the floating villages. Any Junk ship tour you take will include a visit to one of several different floating villages. The tour includes kayaks which allows for a close up personal experience of seeing a bunch of shacks floating in the middle of nowhere. It looks like something out of the movie "Waterworld", however unlike the movie the floating villages are worth experiencing. The villages are a result of the freshwater pearl farming that yields thousands of beautiful Akoya pearls. Most of the tours will include a visit to the pearl farms with of course an opportunity to buy. But don't let my sarcasm dissuade you from visiting, if anything its a great chance to kayak on Ha Long Bay!
Although its about a three hour drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay there is no shortage of affordable tours to choose from. There is really no need to book a tour in advance as there are always multiple daily tours leaving that are seemingly never full. The only real question is how long to spend in the glorious splendor of Halong Bay. Most tours are the three day, two night junk ship cruises that include everything and the price is almost unbelievable. For $140 US per person you can get a tour that will pick you up from your hotel in Hanoi and take you to Halong Bay where you will spend the next three days on a junk ship sailing through the emerald waters.
All the meals and activities are included but the highlight is the bay itself. Its as if all the beauty and magic of Vietnam was blended into one place so remarkable that it seems like something out of a dream. But I assure you it is not a dream (though if it were I would never want to wake up) and gliding through the emerald water of Halong Bay ranks as one the most fantastic adventures of my life. Seemingly endless Karst rock formations rise out of the waters in almost every direction. The calm, cool emerald waters are as inviting as they are serene and you will think of of nothing else but diving into them. The three day tour will surely seem to short so my recommendation would be to plan a five day excursion as I will on my next visit
We spent three weeks in Vietnam and our Halong Bay trip with Indochina Sails was the very best. The boat was very nice, clean and comfortable. The food was very good and the service so warm. Everybody made us feel so happy and relaxed for our stay.
When we arrived at Hanoi, we walked in to a travel agency, Vega Travel which was recommended by lonely planet guide book, to book a 3 day 2 night Ha Long Bay -Cat Ba Island package. Overall, the travel experience was good with Vega.
The tour guide picked us up at the hotel at 8am. It took 3.5 hours to reach Ha Long Bay, and stopped at Bai Chay town for a drink and toilet. When we reached Ha Long Boat station, we boarded a Vietnamese boat and cruised around many limestone mountains. Some of the beautiful islands and sights scenes including Dog Stone, the fighting cock islet, the floating villages and fish farms. We visited the largest cave, Hang Sung Sot, in the bay. The cave was nothing special, but the views outside the cave was stunning. We spent a night on the boat surrounding by Bai Tu Long Bay, Ha Long Bay and Lan Han Bay. The morning sunrise views worth a night stayed on the boat.
We continued our trip to Cat Ba Island.
Ha Long Bay is a must visit destination in Vietnam.
The second time I go Halong bay we had hard time to decide which travel agent to choose. We finally picked Vega Travel (Fansipan) based on Lonely planet recommendation. http://www.fansipantours.com.vn/aboutus.php
We had a great time as their boat is beautiful and clean. Although their boat is bigger than most other travel agents, their group size is smaller only 12 compared to the usual 16. Their itinerary was comprehensive, we did kayaking, visited caves, swimming in ti-top beach, climb -up to have a panaromic view of the wonderful jewel bay.
The food was excellent, we had delicious fish and prawn fresh from the nearby fish farm(some travel coampany only serve egg, veg and small fried fish), their crew also very friendly. In fact after the tour, we had a very pleasant surprise of getting a very good luncheon in a nearby restaurant on land before driving back to Hanoi.
I have no hesitation to recomend them, thumps Up. Especailly their manager/boss Mr Kien is very friendly providing very good service, very prompt in replying to our all email queries before we booked the tour. We were not asked to pay deposit yet everything went on so well on our arrival.
I took one day tour to Ha Long bay.
We're picked up from Hanoi at 8 am, arrived at 11, had lunch and then 4 hours cruise tour by boat, climb a hill and see a cave, see floating houses, and by a smaller boat go through a tunnel.
Arrived in Hanoi at 7 pm. It cost 20 USD.
There's a guide who has intention to speak English but we don't really understand what he was saying.
If you're in Hanoi take at least 1 day to see Ha long . It's really beautiful !
If someone should ever compile a list for the seven Natural wonders of the modern world, I'm quite sure Ha Long Bay would make it. It has already been noted by Patricia Schultz as one of the spots in the famed tome "1000 places to see before you die".
1,600 islands and islets, beautiful jade green waters and countless of gigantic limestone pillars. Need I say more? You need to be here to understand what I am saying. Go for a tour package with a reliable agency here. So far ODC and Handspan seem to be the agencies of choice in VT. I went on a 3d2ntour with ODC and had loads of fun!
About USD56 per person for a full board trip. This also included canoeing.
A visit to Hanoi and northern Vietnam cannot be complete without a cruise on Halong Bay
There is a whole range of different "junk" cruises
Preferably choose one that you can spend at least a night on board to enjoy the sunset / sunrise panorama!
Victory Star was what we sailed in and it was a marvelous experience on this newly commissioned vessel
The food, the service and the ensuite room is low and behold fit for a honeymoon!
Do check it out
Any local agent or hotel would be able to help
Look around Hanoi and inquire for a Ha Long Bay tour, 2D 1N tour of the bay, around 3+ hours trip from Hanoi to Ha Long Port, board junk boat for lunch, cruise the bay, sleep in junk boat, sunbath on the junk boat deck, kayaking around limestone islands, swimming and visit the rest of Ha Long Bay islands.
We got our tour package from Ho Chi Minh, flight into Hanoi is good, city tour is rushed, hotel is good with computer and broadband connection in the room.
The Ha Long Bay tour appears to be too commercialized. On the way to Ha long Long port there is a stopover on a handicraft shop. There are few junk boat now, all are running on diesel engine and noisy. Our package include seafood lunch at the boat but the only seafood was fish (why does the crew has small shrimps?).
Food is included in the package but drinks are not and cost more than 3x as much from Hanoi.
We have to wake up early to transfer to another boat (not good). Our kayaking was unguided even for the unexperienced.
The Ha Long caves are marvelous and a must see, even though hot (we were perspiring) and crowded.
We took a private half day cruise through beautiful Ha Long Bay with Baitho Junks, organised by our tour company. We sailed for many hours through the bay where giant limestone rocks rise out of the water, before stopping at a houseboat where a family sold it's catch and later at some caves where we got off to explore. A great seafood lunch was served onboard the boat and later we all sat on the upstairs deck in the sun while we sailed back to shore.
The cost of the cruise was included in our tour price, so check the website for costs as you can do day cruises and overnight ones too.
A places you must go when you visit Hanoi.
Few hours drive from hanoi and they will bring you to your floating hotel. You will sail with it, live in it, eat in it and enjoy the scenic view of Halong Bay. Very Good places to go.
Book from tours agency, about US$50 - 60 plus per pax
If would be silly if you went to Hanoi without even taking a trip out to Ha Long Bay. It is like eating spaghetti without cheese. A must thing to do when you are in Hanoi!!! Check my Ha Long page for more information.