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.
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.
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.
Some tour groups do Hanoi pickups:
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:
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.