As we researched for the Vietnam leg of the trip, Ha Long Bay came up again and again as a natural wonder not to be missed. I am always hesitant of visiting such places because they get so much hype and end up being very underwhelming. However, let’s get this out of the way now… Halong Bay (as in, the bay itself) was worth every word written about it. The place is simply majestic; watching limestone islands emerge out of emerald waters in the morning mist is just incredible. Watch this video I put together quickly – doesn’t do it justice because I didn’t get all the right shots but it might nudge you if you’re on the fence about adding it to your itinerary.
Andrew booked us a private boat and tour guide and I think it was worth every penny (thanks, Andrew, for organizing all that!).
When we first arrived in Halong city, we could tell this was a city in the midst of being built up for tourists and it felt deserted.
The next day when we actually got to the water and sailed on the Bay, it was a different story. I could finally see why people wanted to come to this place.
Some tips for booking your boat tour:
- Book a private boat AND a tour guide if you have a group – it’s worth it and not very expensive. I will have to pull up the card of our tour guide – he was awesome.
- Book the tour very early in the morning, there is something very magical about seeing the mist lift in the morning light and the limestone islands emerging as your boat moves closer. Also, a morning tour means you’ll be able to enjoy the views from the boat without getting sunburnt on the way back and without all the crazy tourist boats.
- Only book 3-4 hour trips, the half-day and overnight tours aren’t worth it from what we’ve read and you could be using that time to climb the mountain nearby for epic views.
- DON’T BUY THE PEARLS ON THE BOAT! They’re most likely fake. However, there is a legit pearl factory/farm on the bay where you can get real pearls for reasonable prices (a bit cheaper than Canada).
So all in all, I agree that the islands themselves and the bay are a natural wonder and worth your time but even if you go with uncertainty, you’ll still fall in love 🙂
Until next time,