Halong Bay in pictures
In the northern reaches of Vietnam, just east of Hanoi and not far from the Chinese Border lies the World Heritage Site, Halong Bay. Halong is a lock on every tourists Vietnam travel itinerary and if it’s not, it should be. The bay is massive and features nearly 2,000 limestone karsts (‘stacks’ or ‘islets’) that shoot up from the flat turquoise sea, in varying shapes and sizes. The bay is stunning, mystical, magical, eerie, you name it, all day and all year-long.
It was rainy season (February) when we visited and even then, the views were incredible. It was a little hazy at times, but that added to the serenity of the place; and despite the fact that the bay is filled with tour boats, you still feel like you are there alone.
There are hundreds of tour companies operating in Halong Bay, but for the most part they are all the same. We spoke with another couple who we shared a ride with from Hanoi to Halong Bay who were touring with a different company and turns out they had the exact same food, same cooking demonstration, activities, etc.
You hear horror stories about people getting scammed when booking Halong Bay tours, but we’ve learned to take them with a grain of salt. Purchase your tour from a travel agency in Hanoi, in person, and not the shirtless guy on the street offering you a ‘special price’. Common sense usually prevails.
Walking back to our hotel after dinner one night in Hanoi, we stumbled across a small travel agency called Classy Travel where we met Ms. Phuong. We sat down and Ms. Phuong took us through all the tour options and told us which ones would be better suited for us, what was included, etc. and we ended up booking with Scorpion Cruises on their two-day, one-night cruise. The tour included return transportation from Hanoi to Halong Bay (approx. 3 hours by coach), meals on board, and activities (kayaking, canoeing, caves) for a cost of $110 CAD each. Oh, and we booked at 8 PM the night before!
We definitely enjoyed our time with Scorpion Cruises and overall we were happy with the food, the cabin, and the service. With that said, I think it would be difficult to have a terrible time when visiting this magical, world-renowned, site.
Below we walk you through our Halong Bay experience via the photos we took during our tour.
Hope you enjoy!
Let us know if you have any questions about our Halong Bay trip, or your upcoming one!
jess + trickett