Sailing and sleeping on a cruise through its waters and its capricious rock formations is an activity that you can not miss if you travel to Vietnam .
The story tells that these formations were created when a dragon came down from the skies spitting precious jewels that turned into stone.
But beyond legends we will tell you everything you need to know to enjoy this wonder of nature.
Essential tips to visit Halong
If you do not have time to spend one night but want to meet her equally, you have to know that there are day trips around Halong Bay where you are picked up at the hotel in Hanoi .
You will spend the whole day sailing through the bay and at the end of it you will be transferred to your hotel.
But if your idea is to stay in a boat in the bay one or two nights , you have to take into account that it is like a hotel in full board.
You will spend many hours on the boat and it is better to make sure that the service is of quality, since in a way it is a floating hotel
There are many cases in which travelers, to save a lot when choosing the cruise in which they travel, then have felt cheated.
We recommend looking for cruises that are luxurious, have few rooms and that the quality of them is always superior, which ensures you have the best boat.
In addition, Vietnam is a very cheap country so usually a good cruise comes out quite cheap reserving it with time.
Important, on any cruise the drinks are included.
What cruise in Halong Bay choose
Comparing our experiences with other travelers who have visited Halong Bay, we were clear that the ideal thing is to take the excursion already contracted before going to the country, since everything is much easier because it is an excursion for which you have many options.
In this way before traveling you can compare the different companies that offer you the tour, because there are very few main operators, but a thousand companies that slip into the middle that can increase the price and lower the quality.
Ideally, compare well and look at the opinions of other travelers about each of the companies, because there are almost endless options.
In our case this trip was a honeymoon, so the same agency that organized the trip ( Catai ) hired us the tour that left from Hanoi .
The company with which we did the cruise was Indochina Sails and the truth is that everything went perfect for the treatment, the quality of the boat, with only five rooms, and good food.
You can also hire him there if you prefer, but make sure you do not fall is a hoax.
Another option is to hire the excursion to Halong Bay in one of the many agencies in Hanoi, which includes the round trip bus.
You have to know that Hanoi is 150 kilometers from the bay but the journey takes about 4 hours due to the poor state of the roads.
How is the Halong Bay cruise
It is amazing the number of boats that every day cross the Halong Bay ; In fact there are several ways to navigate it.
But basically there are two options, day trips that leave early and return to port in the afternoon, or cruises that spend a night or two in the bay.
If you are thinking of the day trip without sleeping on the boat , when planning your trip you should consider the option of spending the previous and subsequent nights in the town from where it leaves, as the cruise starts very early and ends at the end of the afternoon.
When hiring a cruise of 3 days and 2 nights it is usually included to spend one of the nights in a hotel or bungalow of one of the little islands of the bay.
If you take this option it is more advisable to choose bungalow because it is usually on the beach itself and you will feel in the middle of nature with the bay for you.
What to see and do in Halong Bay
Most cruises offer the same activities, and depending on what you hire, you will have time to do more or less excursions.
I tell you quickly how our visit was two days and one night , to use it as a base on which to tell you the options you have.
We left early in the morning from Hanoi to reach the port at noon.
After entering the boat and leaving the things in the room, they put the first meal while we were sailing and we were entering the bay.
Caves of Sung Sot
This experience of eating while you see how you slowly get into this wonder of nature that is Halong Bay , we will not forget in life.
We spent the afternoon sailing through the bay and enjoying the impressive landscape to end the day visiting the huge caves of Sung Sot full of caves and stalactites distributed in three rooms.
After visiting them, return to the boat to shower, have dinner and rest watching the evening.
The next morning we got up early to take advantage of the day, which started with a class of tai chi on the deck of the ship .
From here we separated from Australians who were going to spend two nights and did other activities.
In our case we went to spend the morning on one of the beaches where we could also climb the mountain to see the panoramic views of the entire Halong Bay .
For their part, the aforementioned Australians, who had one more day, went to practice kayaking .
We came back together to eat, and after that the Australians went on a boat to an island where they were going to trek.
Meanwhile we left to return to port to finish our cruise.
Fishing villages in Dao Cat Ba
Those who stayed spent the night in a bungalow on one of those small islands that are all over the bay.
After the second night they spent the next day on the island of Dao Cat Baand visited one of the fishing villages before returning to port.
As you can see there are many options to choose from when making your visit, so it is important to look carefully and compare to choose the cruise that we like the most.