Halong Bay is located in the north of Vietnam, very close to the Chinese border. It is an archipelago with more than 1600 islands and islets.
The action of the tides and the weather has eroded the limestone base of the islets, generating the formations that give its beauty to the place. Since 2012 has been declared one of the new seven natural wonders of the world. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%E1%BA%A1_Long_Bay)
Departuring from Hanoi
Our tour departed from Hanoi, from where a bus picked us in the morning. Almost at noon we arrived to the port of Tuan Chau where the ships that sail to the bay are. Mainly there are two options for tours, 2 or 3 days. In our case we chose to do a 2 day tour, which included one night up in the boat, returning to Hanoi the afternoon of the following day.
It should be mentioned that in Halong Bay there is a variety of prices for the different tours and on the internet there are often stories about scams and poor services on the cheapest tours. It is best to look for references on the internet about the different companies on tripadvisor or other websites. We paid $ 125 per head, which I think is in the middle range of the tours and we were very satisfied with the service.
Cruise in Halong Bay
We were assigned a comfortable cabin and set sail. The lunch turned out to be quite filling with a variety of seafood and vegetables. The day was quite cloudy so we were not abled to enjoy the upper deck where there were lounge chairs. After that, in the afternoon we visited the Secret Cave and walked among huge stalactites and stalagmites.
We returned to the boat briefly and went kayaking for about an hour. Already tired, we returned to the ship and after sailing for a while, the captain tossed the anchor for the night. Before dinner we went swimming and I did some dives from the top deck of the boat. The water was not cold. We had dinner and went to rest.
Early morning in Halong Bay
I set the alarm at 5 in the morning to take some pictures of the sunrise. The day turned out to be more cloudy than the previous one. I was able to do some shots with the morning mist and went back to bed to sleep a little longer.
Already up, we had breakfast and set sail again while it began to rain. After a while, we stopped again and got into a little boat to visit the James Bond Cave. In it there is a lagoon encased between huge vertical walls. On our way back we passed a floating village of locals.
To finish, we had a cooking class where we could make our own spring rolls and then taste them. While we were going back to the port we crossed with the “kissing chicken”. These formations represent the eternal love and are one of the symbols of the Ha Long Bay and Vietnam. They even appear in the 200,000 Dong bill which is about 9 dollars. Once back in the port, a bus was waiting to take us back to Hanoi. Despite the bad weather, the Halong Bay was beautiful and certainly it is a place worth visiting.