Ha Long Bay cruise is perfect way how to enjoy one of the most beautiful destination of Vietnam!
Ha Long Bay can just be described as a ‘wow’. Known for its amazing limestone islands, rock formations and caves. Breathtaking scenery has won numerous world recognition: in 1962 Renowned National Landscape Monument, in 1994 UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 2012 New 7 Wonders and is a member of Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World.
Ha Long Bay means“Bay of Descending Dragons” and there is a legend beneath that name. The legend says that during the old time when Vietnamese had to fight against enemies coming from the North through the sea. To help Vietnamese people, The Jade Emperor sent the Mother Dragon and her children to help defend the country. While the enemies were attacking the main land, The Mother Dragon and her children came and divine fire and giant emeralds. The emeralds were scattered around the battlefield on the sea and formed defensive wall. Thanks to the dragons the peace came back once again. After thousands of years, the wall of emerald turned into island and islets of different sizes and shapes. After the battle, The Mother Dragon and her children didn’t left, but stayed in the and turned into human form. They help people planting, cropping, raising cattle, reclaiming, and expanding the country.
Ha Long Bay is located in the Gulf of Tonkin, in the northeast of Vietnam and 165 km from the capital of Ha Noi. Area of 43,400 includes over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and unaffected by humans.
How to enjoy and book Ha Long Bay cruise:
1. From HANOI
Chose 1, 2 or 3 days Ha Long Bay cruise on the boat.
Easily book a trip from many tour agencies all around the Hanoi (even day before cruise). You can also book online but we don’t have any experience with this and it might be more expensive.
Book wisely and check all information before you pay.
Confirm with them all details about visited places and itinerary.
Ask about food and drinks. They told us food is included but water wasn’t. Better to know and take more water with you on the boat or buy expensive one on the boat.
Ask how many people are on the boat, how old is boat, what condition and how the boat looks like inside.
It is better to visit 2-3 agencies and compare their offers. Also you can check reviews on internet.
4 years ago I was on a 2 days and 1 night tour with my friend Tasci. Ha Long Bay cruise was stunning. First day we visited the famous and beautiful Surprise cave and visited Ti Top island where you can enjoy beach and walk to the top with perfect view. In the evening we had nice dinner and karaoke. We meet nice people and with some beers singing was better and better 🙂 When we went to sleep we found a black bugs in the bed. We didn’t want to sleep with them so we squeezed and slept in one bed together. Later during the night I’ve got sick (I guess it was from shrimps) and spent the rest of night in the toilet :/ Next day we enjoyed kayaking and visited fishing village. We should have visited some other places but we didn’t and we didn’t have drinking water for free. Anyway, we have meet perfect group of people and enjoyed the cruise as much as possible 🙂
2. From CAT BA ISLAND
If you have time we recommend you to visit Cat Ba Island and manage Ha Long Bay cruise there. What to see in Cat Ba Island, please click here and how to get from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island, please click here.
When you are there you can rent a private small boat with local fisherman or enjoy tour on a big boat.I don’t remember the price of private boat but I guess it was around 50-60$. This price was expensive for us as we want to keep our budget traveling. When you walk around you can ask in travel agencies about price, what is included, how many people and how the boat looks like. We had one day trip for 40$ for both of us with morning pick up at 8am, lunch and during the day we visited fishing village, enjoyed snorkeling and swimming, had a lunch on the boat, kayaking in Lan Ha bay and the last stop was horrible Monkey island.
Floating fishing village
The bay is full of floating houses. It fascinating how people live and you can observe their daily activities.
Enjoy the atmosphere of Lan Ha and Ha Long Bay
Swimming and snorkeling in water without fishes and corals 🙂
Our first stop was somewhere in the bay and they gave us snorkeling equipment. There was nothing interesting in the water. But we liked the small spot next to the rock. You can see how small I’m on the photo below.
Lunch time on the boat
Food was good but we were really hungry and we didn’t have enough rice. I guess boat has limited rice budget 🙂
Kayaking through caves and visited lagoons
Everybody on board was excited about kayaking. We had classic kayaks for 2 person and enjoyed about 1 hour kayaking around rocks and visited hidden lagoons.
Last stop – Monkey Island (and crazy monkeys)
It was our last stop and we (especially me – Edita) was so excited to see monkeys. When we came I was surprised how it looks like. I expected walk into the forest and see monkeys in their homes. But imagine beach, restaurant, toilets, some old building. And all around you crazy monkeys which are not afraid of humans and they don’t have any problem to take your food or whatever you have. Monkeys are long-tailed macaques imported to the island especially to attract tourists. They are aggressive and courageous. Like the others I took my camera and wanted to make the best photos. I saw a baby monkey on the tree and when I tried to make photo his/her big father jump on me and bite me on leg. I was scared and expected medical help. Nothing. Not even a plaster. Local guides didn’t care about me. They said it is normal and happens all the time. I was worried about rabies. When we returned to the hotel I asked our manager if it is ok and he took me to the hospital. They cleaned it and told me to visit big hospital in Hai Phong to take rabies shot.
At the end of the trip we were hiking to the top of the mountain where you can take beautiful picture of Lan Ha bay. To get to the top is very dangerous and you need to be very careful. On the hill you will find garbage and nobody cares. But this is another story about Vietnam.