Hạ Long Bay (literally: “descending dragon bay”) is located in northern Vietnam, about 170 km east of Hanoi. The bay is famous for its spectacular seascape of limestone pillars and is included as one of the natural wonders of the world, and was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1994.
Booking a Ha Long Bay tour/cruise from Hanoi was very easy, we just spoke to the staff at our hotel and they took care of everything for us. You could choose either a private tour or a group tour with other tourists (we choose the latter). And we decided to only do day trip tour, but you can also get overnight cruises.
Unfortunately I was still very sick when we visited Halong Bay, so the sun and the heat was almost unbearable for me… But it was worth the pain, because it was such a beautiful sight! I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It’s definitely a place you should visit at least once in your lifetime!
And at the end of the tour we also got to visit some spectacular grotto. It was a bit dark inside so I don’t have many pictures of it. But it was a lot cooler inside, so I was happy haha.
I think the most common way of doing a one day trip from Hanoi to Ha Long is to head out in the morning, and then take the tour bus back to Hanoi in the evening. But we decided to stay the night in Ha Long city and had booked a hotel in advance. But come to think of it afterwards I think that was a very bad decision…
So in Ha Long, we spent the night at Royal Lotus Hotel Ha Long (DON’T EVER GO THERE IF YOU DON’T HAVE KIDS or at least enjoy kids…) which is located a few km away from the “city centre” so to speak, so there was absolutely nothing do to there. And the hotel was filled with kids. Mostly Chinese and Vietnamese families. I’m guessing Ha Long is a typical family resort. And for some stupid reason all the rooms in the hotel had “door bells”, which of course all the kids thought was really fun to run around and press early in the morning… So not much sleep or relaxing times for us there. I guess if you have kids it might have been a nice family friendly hotel but for us it was just a nightmare. But at least we headed into the city centre in the evening and had a nice meal.
So my tip if you’re going to do a day trip to Ha Long Bay, don’t spend the night there. It’s probably not worth the money. Unless you find a cheap hotel more close to the centre, but we weren’t able to do that.
Next up I’ll try posting about our train trip down to Hoi An! stay tuned ~
My whole Vietnam diary: