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 Baulao. We paid 500,000 dong each for a roundtrip ticket. It was more expensive than taking the bus, but it was more convenient and fast.
Reserve your accommodation ahead of time. You can book at Booking.com without reservation fee. 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.
Tour and Activities:
If you like to book ahead of time on what activity you would like to do in Halong. You can book it in Klook .
They have list of tours, activities and even transportation. If you are a planner. You will love this site.
If your date is off season, you can ask 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 to transfer me to Hai Yen Hotel so that I’ll be near to 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 7:00PM to 8:00PM. 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 in 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, 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 in 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 bamboo boat or kayaking. We opt with kayaking and it was really fun. We saw monkeys in the area.
I had so much love with Vietnamese food. They are very delicious!
During lunch time, 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 spoon and fork.
Last stop was Titop Island.
There were a lot of Chinese during our tour. They kept on asking my new found 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 video of them since I'm not really keen 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 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 to see the view, I was really happy! All of my happy vibes went crazy.
Just a walk away, there is tower that looks like Rapunzel’s. There were a few photographers and girls with their gowns taking photos. A very cool set up if you’ll ask me.
Also not far, there’s an amusement park. A lot 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 night party or not.
Watch the Video for more!
Hope this post is helpful!
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