Seeing Halong Bay was on the top of my Vietnam list, this beautiful country has a lot to offer but Halong Bay is without a doubt a crown jewel. It’s a not to be missed and one of the coolest experiences I had in Southeast Asia.
The easiest option is to ask at reception how to organise your trip. A lot of hostels and hotels offer a lot of options or can help guide you in the right direction! Let them know what you’re after and they will help you out.
I went from Hanoi straight to Halong Bay, the hostel I stayed at (as well as most hostels) had a variety of cruises available with pick up and drop off right at the hostel. Brilliant. A bus picked us up in the morning and after a couple more pick up’s we headed towards the bay, the bus ride took a couple of hours and once we arrived we had to wait around a bit and then simply stepped on board our boat. We got our room, chilled for a bit, put on a bikini and headed out to the top of the boat to begin our Halong Bay adventure!
Halong Bay Cruises
There are a couple of different options here, but most will choose the one or two-night option. Personally, I did the two-night option and felt it was the perfect amount of time!
If you go with the one night option will sail at lunchtime, giving you a few hours of sailing before sunset, you’ll get a glimpse of the magnificent limestone karsts and the next morning sail straight back to the port. The two-night option gives you a calmer trip through the bay, stop for swimming in the ocean and we even had a cooking class where we learnt to make Vietnamese spring rolls. Although the cooking class I could have been without, as it really didn’t teach us much and we really just got to roll one or two each.
One of the most fun activities was taking the kayak out and exploring the bay from the water. Kayaking around and looking around this magnificent place was truly amazing!
Different cruises offer different thing, the party cruise if a common one and often offered from hostels. This is the one I took and here I guess it all depends on who’s on the boat with you. I have friends who took a party cruise and actually partied. I took the same and had a very chill time, it was nice and not too much drinking and crazy partying. If you want to splurge a bit and do something other than a party cruise or the very touristy ones, there are more luxury ones taking you to alternative journeys through the bay.