VACAY NOTES – HALONG BAY
Cruising Halong Bay, A Must Do When Vacationing In Vietnam
One of my bucket list was to visit Ha Long Bay. For the Vietnamese people it’s also known as Vinh Ha Long – means the descendants of the dragon (the limestone formation scattered in the area resembles the shape of a dragon’s back traveling down to earth). Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994.
It’s 170km from Hanoi and will take you about 3.5 hours to get there. You will be instantly swept away after seeing the beautiful oasis in Northeast Vietnam with nearly 2,000 grassy limestone islands surrounded by miles of turquoise colored water. From Hanoi you can take a day tour, or for more memorable experience, spend a night or two on a junk boat that have comfortable rooms just like in a hotel.
Where should you book the tour to Halong Bay? There are many travel agents in Hanoi, but I choose to book the tour from the hotel that I’m going to stay. Some of the hotels will send you an email and offer the cruise package. If you are planning to book from a travel agent, make sure you ask what’s included. Because some companies do not include in their price for the transportation from Hanoi, so that’s why it might looked cheaper. Also double check that everything is included on your cruise – food, activities like snorkeling and kayaking, etc. The one that’s not included in cruise are the drinks. You have to pay extra for all drink while you’re on board.
You can decide the tour itinerary depends on how long you’re going to stay, from One Day trip cruises, 2 Day-1 Night cruises (2D1N) or up to a four days cruise if you have the time and more money to spend. The one day cruises are departing from Hanoi, Halong City or Cat Ba. If you have a little time, this might be a good option to at least you can have the glimpse of one of the world’s most beautiful bay. But I personally would prefer to take the overnight cruises where you don’t have to go back and forth to Hanoi on the same day, and allow some more time to relax and truly enjoy the spectacular scenery. You get to get up to the deck at night and see millions of stars, sleep on board and wake up with an unforgettable view!
Whether you decided to take a one-day tour or stay overnight, one of the highlights of the tour is to stop at Ti Top Island, the largest island located in the heart of Halong Bay, which is only 8 kilometers from the Southeast of Bai Chay Harbor. You can spend time playing on the white sandy beach, or go hiking to the top of the hill. Don’t forget to wear comfortable footwear, because you have to climb this hill to get the best view of the entire Ha Long Bay area, just like you’ve seen in postcards or Magazines. Ha Long Bay sure is of one of the places that must be visited, at least once in your lifetime.