Hi guys! Today’s post is about a little more of my Vietnam trip but focusing in Ha Long Bay. I’m going to share with you my visit of this beautiful sightseeing experience on a junk boat tour. Ha Long Bay is near the city of Ha Long (Quang Ninh province) on the northwest of Vietnam. The area contains amazing limestone islands, emerald waters, rock formations and caves. You can take a cruise for 2-3 nights or a junk boat tour for a full day tour, which is the one we took. All junk boat tours are different, the one that we chose had transportation (3hrs bus from Hanoi), lunch and 2 options to choose from kayaking or bamboo boat ride.
The view is amazing with the limestones and majestic caves… however, I noticed the environment was highly compromised. The bay was overrun by tours with very little concern for waste and conservation. Despite of the environment feeling, we enjoyed the sightseeing, the formation of the rocky mountains where just beautiful. It is a very relaxing tour, although, I really think I would have enjoyed more going by cruise. Traveling by bus is like 3hrs going and then 3hrs back from Hanoi, which was tiring and my neck hurt… a lot. We had 2 stops to stretch up our legs and eat but by cruise is another experience in which you can go swimming, watch the sunset, enjoy the sightseeing trip from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, plus you can actually take your time exploring for those 2 or 3 nights in different islands. So if you have the time, I do recommend going to Ha Long Bay by boat cruise, it’s not too expensive unless you’d like the fancy luxurious ones. I have crew friends that have done it and they truly recommended as well.
The lunch was great, they served chicken, pork, rice, salad, drinks were not included though. The tour guide explained the limestones and islets names in which I honestly couldn’t understand nor see the formations from them. For instance the Stone Dogs; my friends and I laugh so hard because we were like “Where’s the damn dog!”. The guide tried to explain it to us, but we just couldn’t catch up. There’s a couple of other ones like Duck Island, Finger Island, Fighting Cocks Island (but my guide said chickens…) and Finger Island.
Around Ha Long Bay
The first stop was in Fishing Village where you can take a kayak or bamboo boat, we opt for the boat. During the boat ride, you get to enter what seems like a cave opening, and on the other side you’ll get to see even more beautiful rock formations. We spend like 45 mins doing the boat ride around the islands. Later, we went to one cave.
Thien Cung cave
A beautiful cave with huge chambers adorned with stalactites and stalagmites of all kinds. The only thing is that, I actually like full natural caves. The cave has human made steps, nice floor, it’s illuminated with colorful lights and also has air conditioning. I just think it destroys the natural charm. Regardless, it was still a beautiful and impressive cave.
The tour started at 8am pick up time until 4pm, arriving at Hanoi at 8pm. Most of the tours have the same schedule. There’s tons to pick, try to choose the best that suits you and always ask what they offer, for instance; If the lunch is included, kayak or boat ride, do they make a stop at the cave, transportation, etcetera. If you wish a longer trip, ask for trips with more island stops. Most of ‘one full day trip’ has only 2-3 stops: the fishing village and one cave. In comparison, the boat cruise you get to visit various caves, swim, visit different islands and much more. You can check tours around Hanoi or at your hotel. Hope you liked my post!