Ha Long Bay is in northern vietnam, about 4 hours from Hanoi, Vietnam.
How to get to Ha Long Bay
You can get to Ha Long Bay by taxi and then speed boat. It is possible to arrange the transportation yourself, but many tours are available through businesses in Hanoi which provides transportation and is very easy.
Where to stay in Ha long Bay
Ha Long Bay consists of many smaller islands as well as the national park, Cat Ba Island. This island has many hotels but the way better choice is to stay on one of the more isolated islands that have cottages on the beach. One island I stayed on was called Cat Ong island.
The currency in Vietnam is called Vietnamese Dong. It is best to take out cash before coming to the island, although there are ATM’s available on the main tourist island.
If booking a tour through a business, it can range from about $80-$180 US dollars but you can choose to stay either 1 night or 2 nights.
How much time will you need there
With the choice of 1 night or 2 nights, I definitely recommend staying 2 nights in Ha Long Bay. The beauty is like no other and it’s amazing to spend the day on a secluded beach with almost no one else around. There are also many activities provided by the tour groups to do during the day such as hikes, kayaking and more.
When is the best time to go
The best time to go there would be between January – mid June because it is right before monsoon season and tends to be very hot and good weather. High season is June – August if you want to be with more travellers.
What to do in Ha Long Bay
There are many options of things to do there. You can go on a boat and cruise around the islands, go cliff jumping, do hikes on the islands, exploring caves, kayaking, swimming, beach volleyball, suntanning and more. On some nights, bioluminescent plankton can be found in the water and are very noticeable when swimming, these are amazing.
What not to do
Always watch for scams from local sellers and barter down purchases at local places because they will raise the price of food, souvenirs, etc. to tourists. If booking Ha Long Bay through a tour company, ensure they are a credible company
Why should Ha Long Bay be on my bucket list:
It should be on your bucket list because it is an unreal experience that is one of a kind. The beauty and serenity of this place is amazing and needs to be experienced in person better than anyone could explain it.
I have been to Ha Long Bay twice! My first time was in 2015, I booked a tour called Castaways and we spent 3 days in Ha Long Bay, the first day we spent exploring a cave, kayaking and swimming. We spent the first night on a boat attached to 3 other boats where we all got to party. The second day we spent cliff jumping and enjoying the island. That night we saw the plankton that light up and had fun with the rest of the tour group. The 3rd day we got to enjoy a cooking class and made it back to Hanoi.
The second time I went was in 2016 through a company called Ocean Tours and it was called the cocktail cruise. We went kayaking through the islands and swimming then went straight to Cat Ong Island and stayed in the nicest bungalow right near the ocean. The next day we did a hike on the island and spent the rest of the day on the island. The 3rd day we went to Cat Ba (the main island) and did another hike that had absolutely amazing views.
Having been to Ha Long Bay twice, I can’t recommend it enough! Castaways is a good tour group if you want to get wild and drink and party. Ocean Tours Cocktail cruise is better if you still want to have fun but relax a little more.