While Hanoi was lovely, I was looking forward to see Ha Long Bay. Quite frankly the noise and chaos can be too much.
Many hotels and agencies in the Old Quarter offer tours to Ha Long. Prices vary but will get you more or less the same itinerary.
A 2D1N cruise will get you:
- Transfer from hotel to the Bai Chai Tourist Wharf and back
- A tour guide
- An overnight stay on one of junks
- Meals on board
- Some time for water activities (kayaking, swimming, fishing)
- A routed tour amongst the limestone karsts and islands
- A visit to at least one cave and the fishing communities
- Entrance fees to the sites
- A few stops along the way that smacks of a tourist trap
A 3D2N cruise will get you all of the above plus either an extended night on the junk or in a hotel in Cat Ba Island.
The difference in pricing usually determines the level of service and the quality (and amount) of food you’ll get on-board. Much like the hotels really. The more stars, the more expensive it gets.
Now if you are one that likes to recreate the Full Moon Party famous in Thailand, there is one party boat that can be booked via Hanoi Backpacker’s Hostel. If you have the extra budget you can add in a day or two of activities tailored to your own liking. Different folks, different strokes and all that.
I booked mine for 2D1N through my hotel.
Four hours later:
Okay so may be it was the wrong time of the day to hit Titop Island beach but when we got there, it was filthy and not really fit for people to be swimming in. After much deliberation, four of us in the group had too much of humidity and decided to take the plunge. Literally. As did these people:
Except for that episode things were better from there onwards.
As of last year, the government ordered all junks to be painted white. The original darkened mahogany colours would have given the junks more authenticity and not so much the hospital look. Just saying.
A 3D2N package would allow more time for just lying on the deck and enjoying the peace and quiet. Not to mention the great view.