Travel Memory: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Vietnam is a magical country.  The culture, the geography and the history is absoloutely amazing.    The people are (mostly) all friendly and incredibly helpful (in my experience anyway).

One of my highlights in Vietnam was Ha Long Bay.  Even though I went there in 2009/10, the memory is still fresh.   Looking back, it seems like it’s been years- and in reality it has been.  I was only 19 then…now I’m mid 20s.

Ha Long Bay.

How can I describe it?  Utterly beautiful.  Hauntingly beautiful, in a way.

The limestone structures dwarf the boats and made me feel tiny.

We went into this huge limestone cave.  According to my diary it’s called ‘Surprise’ The natural beauty of the place was just so … beautiful.  I don’t know how else to put it.  Spectacular is probably a better adjective.  We couldn’t step off the path because the ground can suddenly break and it isn’t safe to go off the path.

halong bay
At the limestone cave. Had to brighten the photo up so you could actually see me. So not the best quality.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
It was a little rainy, but so warm. No sun to be seen. I remember sitting on top of the boat on a sun-lounger reading my book and thinking how lucky I was to be there.
Ha Long Bay
The boat we travelled on. Berths were underneath.

We travelled around Ha Long Bay on the traditional junk (boat) and stopped off at an island with a lookout on the top.  I believe the island is called Tipto or Titop.  It was named after a Russian Astronomer.  We climbed way up to the top – 424 steps in total.  We canoed off the beach there and later in the evening we set off in a little dinghy to a limestone cave.  We floated in the cave for a while and listened to our echo.

Surprise Cave, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam Ha Long Bay, Vietnam 2009

In my diary I likened Ha Long Bay to Pirates of the Caribbean.  Guess I’ll have to rewatch it to see if I am correct.

My suggestion is that you should go on an overnight boat through Ha Long Bay.  Yes, it may be a little pricey, as it is definitely a tourist destination, but it is worth it.  Like I said before it is magical there.  Despite the number of boats we saw at the cave, it was actually quite quiet when we were sailing around.

At Halong Bay Tours you can find a variety of different tours with different price points for each tour.

At Halong Bay Junk Boat you also have the choice of choosing Luxury, Mid-Range or Budget cruises.   There are also Private Junks and Day tours.   A day tour would be good if you are pressed for time.

Some tour groups do Hanoi pickups:

Ha Long Bay One Day

It does take a few hours to drive from Hanoi, so I think it’d be best to stop off in Ha Long Bay for a night.  You could go on the day tour and then bus back to Hanoi either that evening or in the morning the next day.

This website is good for accommodation:

Hostel World

I was lucky enough to be on a tour in Vietnam so I didn’t have to book anything.  But from previous travel experience the Hostel World website has been good.

There are so many options and choices for there.  If I had a chance to book and organise it myself I would go with the budget option (because I love saving money!).

But before you do book anything, check Trip Advisor.

Vietnam ignited my travel bug.  It was a trip of a lifetime.  What am I saying?  Each holiday I’ve been on is a trip of a lifetime.

The world is too small not to travel.

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2 thoughts on “Travel Memory: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

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