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 last weekend in Vietnam after spending almost three weeks in the country. I am thankful that I got 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.

Pre-travel Guide


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.

I found something similar in Klook, you can book a transfer from Hanoi to Halong here. If you are in a group and want to have a private transfer, check it out here.

You can book also via this link:


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.

Here are some affordable other hostels you can check:

Also, don’t forget to use Google Maps directions to navigate yourself in Halong Bay. You can buy a SIM card 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.

Here are other Activities you can do in Halong Bay:


Hostel Situation

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 could be near my friend. It was a nice gesture from them. For two nights, I was alone in a pretty big room.

Halong Bay Experience (One Day Tour) 1

Both hostels have a happy hour where travelers can have free drinks from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Travelers 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 lived on the islands.

Solo Travel


We stopped at the Sung Sot Cave. It is the biggest cave in Halong Bay. We witnessed the stalactites and stalagmites.

11: 00

We went to Luon Cave. Guests have two options to explore the area. It’s either a bamboo boat or kayaking. We opted for kayaking and it was really fun. We saw monkeys in the area.

Halong Bay, Vietnam



I had so much love for Vietnamese food. They are very delicious!

During lunchtime, the guide grouped us with other passengers. At our table were the two German boys, and a couple from the UK. We were laughing because most of them did 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 that 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.

Halong Bay Experience (One Day Tour) 2


It was time to go back to the boat. We enjoyed the long ride and just be at the moment. Halong Bay is super 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.

Halong Bay Experience (One Day Tour) 3

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 away, 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 also established and there were a lot of huge buildings. It was less of an island vibe for me. I was expecting an island life where everyone knows where to go because the area is so small. I didn’t 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. 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

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Halong Bay, Vietnam

Watch the video for more!

Hope this post is helpful!

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Originally published: January 18, 2018.