If you stay on board overnight rather than on Cat Ba island then obviously there is little in the way of entertainment. I was a little worried that I might be bored but I wasnt.
There was a bar on board and although drinks were dearer than on land they were still reasonable. If you are on a very tight budget you could always take your own as one or two people did on our boat.
The staff were very friendly though and were great company and we had a good time attempting to fish from the top deck in the dark, one of the guides threatened to wake the cook if we caught anything big enough to eat.
Be sure to pack something to entertain yourself though such as a good book or pack of cards, most people had turned in by around 9:30 and it was easy to sleep with just the gentlest humming from the generator in the background.
There are a few tourist-centric nightclubs in Cat Ba Town, but I stuck with the trusty bia hois. Since there aren't many locals in the tourist area of town, bia hois were harder to find, but I just asked a local! Just like in the big Vietnames cities, bia hois are a relaxing place to grab a cool, refreshing, watered-down beer!
We were in Ha Long Bay in winter time and the weather was cool but not cold. We did not see the sun all day and the evening turned into night without notice. When we were tired of kayaking and fishing, we spent the evening sipping some wine and puffing on our cigarettes while enjoying the breeze on our faces. Simply heavenly......
I do enjoy a smoke on special occasions and bought a pack of Salem Menthol cigarettes for only VND5,000 (RM5.00) at the stalls near the caves.
Dress Code: Relax in your casual clothes, bring a sweater in case it gets chilly.
The nightlife on Halong Bay is what you make of it. Ours consisted of an afternoon dip in the warm water followed by a seafood feast and some 333 beer pronounced "ba ba ba". This was a great way to end a great day.
For more information on the boat and the package we chose, see my accommodations tip titled "Onboard The Bai Tho Junk"
At least once in life, you should try a moonlight night on board in Halong Bay. Fresh seafood is supplied from coracles of fishers or you fish by yourself. You're right in the middle of nowhere, or surrounded by rocks growing from dark blue sea.
Dress Code: Put on whatever that could make you feel sexy!
Our boat had a karaoke machine and after dinner was cleared away out it came. Our boat was visited by some family of it's skipper who we had visited in their home earlier.
The beer flowed, the music played and as foreigners we were expected to know all of the western songs. Great fun. Laughed til I cried so did our new friends. A memorable night.
Dress Code: None whatsoever
Don't expect much nightlife here but luckily we were entertained by a father and daughter duo who sang traditional Vietnamese songs and instruments on our boat which was a nice surprise.