Take the opportunity to experience Halong Bay, one of the world’s natural wonders recognized by UNESCO. With thousands of limestone islands jutting out from the Gulf of Tonkin and traditional junks dotting the horizon, it’s a magnificent sight not to be missed. Depart Hanoi for a full-day trip to the ‘descending dragon,’ where you’ll cruise around the World Heritage site and enjoy a seafood lunch served on board. Visit caves, float past islets and kayak the emerald waters.
Halong Bay cruise from Hanoi
Cruise around the World Heritage site
Visit Thien Cung Cave and Dau Go Cave with a guide
The morning of my trip, I waited for nearly 45 minutes for a pick up. Within the first 10 minutes I contacted the company to confirm my pick up, and they kept saying they'll call me back, only to find out that they didn't have my name on their list because somehow my confirmation ended up in their spam box. Luckily I was in Hanoi for another full day, and switched my day trip for the next day. The next morning, I arrived at my pick up location on time, but the driver got there 5 minutes before my scheduled pick up time, and left me. I ended up taking a taxi to the main office to catch the bus before they headed off for the trip. They didn't seem very organized, but Halong Bay is beautiful and worth seeing!
The tour would have been perfect had not been for two small details: first, the guide was supposed to pick us up at our hotel between 8 and 8:30 a.m., but instead he arrived there at 7:15!!! We were far from ready, despite being already awake, and if the amazing staff of our hotel hadn't made everything they could to arrange a breakfast takeout for us, we would be doomed... Second, it is a long long drive from Hanói to Halong Bay roughly 3 hrs and the tour driver didn't make it any easier by honking ALL THE WAY like crazy! I know, I know, it is a Vietnamese thing, they are always smashing the honk, but I imagined a professional tourist company would know better and not stress the hell out of their clients....nope!
Anyway, putting all that aside, we enjoyed a lot during our boat trip through the incredible limestone wonders of Halong Bay. It ended up being a nice sunny day despite all forecasts telling otherwise! The luch they served on the boat was delicious, really generous, and we had plenty of time for photos and sightseeing on the upper deck! The visit to the cave was another highlight of the tour!
I hope they better their drivers guidelines so you can enjoy a nice and RELAXING day at Halong Bay! -
I am not one who is typically a guided tour guy. I am adverse to touristy things. So with that being said, I cannot recommend this Hanoi Bay tour more vociferously enough! The tour was comfortable and well done. Perfect amount of time was spent on each segment of the tour. Guides were friendly but not overbearing. Do not miss this one.
Once we were at Halong Bay, the tour itself of the Bay and the caves was good. The guide was knowledgeable and friendly. However we arrived over an hour late, mainly because the van had too many stops to make in Hanoi. Lunch on the boat was very poor and badly prepared. Kayaking in the bay or taking a boat seemed worthwhile. The cave tour was excellent. Very vexing that as we were about to depart @4:10 p.m. back to Hanoi, the tour guide and driver were directed to pick up three additional passengers who were not part of our tour. This added an extra 30 minutes as we tried to find them coming off of another boat. Most vexing is the additional 30 minute stop at a tourist trap on the way back to Hanoi. One expects to stop at one of these places during a trip - which we did, on the way to Halong Bay. But then to also have to endure a second one on the way back to Hanoi, when everyone is tired is inexcusable.