Halong Bay Experience (with Day Tour Guide)
Halong Bay is one of the top destinations in Northern Vietnam. During my stay in Hanoi as a volunteer teacher, I got a chance to visit this place. I was with my co-volunteer and we explored Halong bay together for a weekend.
It was my last weekend and having to spend it in a beautiful place was really amazing. I met a lot of incredible people and I want to share my experience and some tips with you.
We booked a fancy van to Ha Long bay in Baolau. We paid 500,000 VND each for a roundtrip ticket. It was more expensive than taking the bus, but it was more convenient and fast.
You can book also via this link:
You can also book here for more options:
Reserve your accommodation ahead of time. You can book at Booking.com without reservation fees. I stayed in Halong Happy Hostel. It was cheap and very comfortable.
Also, don’t forget to use Google Maps directions to navigate yourself in Halong Bay. You can buy a Simcard to have a wi-fi connection.
More options here:
Tour and Activities:
If you like to book your activities ahead of time, you can book them in Klook.
They have a list of tours, activities, and even transportation. If you are a planner. You will love this site.
If you want to book ahead of time. You can book a Halong Bay Day Tour or Halong Bay Deluxe Tour online.
If your date is off-season, you can ask about your accommodation because they usually have a package tour they can offer to their guests. And I think it is much cheaper than online.
We arrived in Halong bay and proceeded directly to the Halong Happy Hostel. I suggested the Hostel to my friend and I thought we were staying in the same hostel. It turned out that I booked a different hostel.
Their hostel looks and sounds almost the same.
I went to Halong Party Hostel. I shared about what happened and the staff suggested transferring me to Hai Yen Hotel so that I’ll be near my friend. It was really nice of them. For two nights, I was alone in a pretty big room.
Both hostels have a happy hour where travelers can have free drinks from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. They can get together and talk, which is pretty nice since we can meet and mingle with other people from different parts of the world.
Plus, they have free breakfast!
Halong Bay Day Tour Experience
We made sure to have our breakfast before the van picked us up at the hostel. We went to Tuan Chan Marina where we will board our boat.
All passengers had a ticket for checking in at every destination according to their perspective packages. Once everyone was settled the cruise started immediately.
Halong bay is composed of more than 1000 islands. During the cruise, you can witness most of the islets such as Stone Dog Islet, Incense burner Islet, and Fighting cock Islet – a symbol of Halong bay.
I made sure to listen to our guide while he was showing us these islands. He also mentioned that before, people live on the islands.
We stopped at the Sung Sot Cave. It is the biggest cave in Halong bay. We witnessed the stalactites and stalagmites.
We went to Luon Cave. Guests have two options to explore the area. It’s either a bamboo boat or kayaking. We opt for kayaking and it was really fun. We saw monkeys in the area.
I had so much love for Vietnamese food. They are very delicious!
During lunchtime, the guide grouped us together with other passengers. At our table were the two German boys, and a couple from the UK. We were laughing because most of them do not know how to use chopsticks. So they were struggling, and after a couple of minutes, the guide gave us a spoon and fork.
The last stop was Titop Island.
There were a lot of Chinese during our tour. They kept on asking my newfound friends to have a picture
together. Hahaha. It was really funny. Watch my YouTube video.
We were excited to go swimming, but the water was not really clear. So most of them decided to play volleyball. I was just taking a video of them since I’m not really keen on playing the sport.
After their volleyball session, we went to the water and decided to ignore our first decision not to swim.
It was time to go back to the boat. We enjoyed the long ride and just be at the moment. Halong bay is really nice. We saw a beautiful view for the whole day. After a tiring day, going back was so relaxing and peaceful.
Back to Tuan Marina bay. The tour was done.
Where else to go?
We explored the area and went to the beach. The shore is pretty wide. I’ve been missing the beach and seeing the view, I was really happy! All of my happy vibes went crazy.
Just a walk away, there is a tower that looks like Rapunzel’s. There were a few photographers and girls with their gowns taking photos. A very cool setup if you’ll ask me.
Also not far, there’s an amusement park. A lot of kids were in the area. There were also food stations with sweets.
On the other side, there are a lot of restaurants lining up. It is better in the evening since it will not be too hot and the lights make the vibe more wonderful.
I was actually expecting to party in Halong Bay, just like the vibe in El Nido and Siargao, but I didn’t. The area was really established and there were a lot of huge buildings. It was making the island vibe, less for me. I was expecting an island life where everyone knows where to go because the area is so small. I didn’t really do a lot of reading about Halong (or any places as always). Maybe during my visit was just out of season and there were a few tourists. But nevertheless, I had fun in Halong, with a night party or not.
You may also check this post: Untouristy Ha Long Bay Tour from Cat Ba Island
Watch the video for more!
Hope this post is helpful!
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Where did you find that Tower? That’s amazing spot! I was a bit disappointed with Ha Long as it was dirty and water looks really polluted but like you I enjoyed the tour because of the people I met! And the fighting cocks lol. I remember asking the guide that I can’t find the fighting cocks haha.
The tower is in the shore. Just the beach near the park. 🙂
Sandy N Vyjay
Halong Bay is indeed iconic. Your pictures have captured the place in spectacular fashion.I also liked the look of the hostel. It look so neat and comfortable. Of course the happy hours are a bonus where you get to mingle and exchange notes with other travelers.
The shore really looks pretty wide and beautiful too. Good that you went here as well. And thanks for the guide, you have compiled here almost all the information one might need for taking a day tour in Halong Bay. I will have to refer back to it.
hi , firstly thanks for sharing this article , you have put in a lot of critical information for people like me to use who might plan a trip there . Also the various options that you have suggested are a great help. How was the cave visit .. did u go deep inside or only a short distance
Kenneth Ephraim Surat
I was supposed to be in Vietnam last Nov, and Halong bay is one of my stops. Unfortunately I needed to go back home for some work. Thanks for sharing this
I’ve been to Vietnam twice and have explored Ho Chi Minh during both of my stays. I have been dreaming of exploring Hanoi and its most raved Halong Bay. Thanks to this article, I’m itching to book a ticket to Hanoi right now. LOL
Your photos are awesome, and I love the fact that you added other things you may do in the area. Thanks for this informative post!
What month did you go? Believe it or not, I’ve been wanting to go for years but never found the time to go. Maybe I’ll just swing by and go for it this year.
Would you know the best time to go? I really liked your Halong Bay experience, I wonder if I should go for the overnight one.
Last October 2017. 🙂