Vietnam Halong Bay and its approximately 1600 small islands, which protrude from the emerald green water, enchants tourists from all over the world. The 340-million-year history of the UNESCO World Heritage contains legends and myths of gods and dragons. What a mystical place, you should think. Read on to find out whether a boat trip in the infamous Halong Bay is worthwhile or whether the popular tourist attraction has already lost the luster of its multitude of tourists.
When it comes to travel in North Vietnam, Halong Bay has long gained its popularity with locals and foreigners as a top-rated UNESCO heritage in the country. From fairytale limestone islands overgrown by rainforests to majestic natural caves and peaceful beaches with lively fishing villages, Halong Bay offers everything travelers should expect when traveling to Vietnam. We have a list of the most important Halong Bay travel tips for you to explore.
Halong Bay Tour
When I traveled to Vietnam, next to a trekking tour through
the mountain villages of Sapa, I took a Halong Bay boat trip at the top
of my list. The pictures in the guidebooks were just too spectacular for me to
miss out on this experience.
Getting to Halong Bay
To get to Halong Bay, the journey is via Hanoi vietnam.
You can reach the Vietnamese capital from within and abroad with various
airlines. You can find cheap tickets and all the
information about the connections at Skyscanner and Momondo.
From Hanoi, there are now several ways to visit Halong Bay.
These include organized tours, the taxi, the bus or even the train. At least as
far as Hai Phong, you can get there by taking these means of transport, because
there you have to take a ferry to Cat Ba, where most of the tours start.
Combo tickets by bus or train are available from Hanoi and
can be booked at many hotels on-site or online at 12go.asia. Inform yourself in
advance about the prices, as there are sometimes large price differences. Halong
Bay and the legend of the jade spitting dragon. Vietnam Halong Bay is
said to have transformed a dragon into small islands as it spewed jewels and
jade. He was sent by gods to help the then-attacked nation so that attacking
ships could no longer avoid the bay and eventually perished.
Boat Tour Halong Bay
The transfer from the hotel in Hanoi to Halong Bay
went smoothly and quickly. The boat trip was a nice experience and the sight of
the thousands of small islands remained in my memory. While traveling to Cat
Ba, you’ll be able to relax on the deck in deckchairs and seating and let the
action around you calm down.
Families with children I recommend a higher standard to
choose from. Parties until dawn is not uncommon on the low budget boats. Beverages
must not be taken and who gets caught, must give drinks. The crew was not very
friendly, but that may be different during your tour.
Halong Bay Accommodation
The hotel on Cat Ba was very clean and comfortable. I also
felt comfortable in the boat cabin. However, staying in this is only allowed in
the late evening to early morning. Meals for lunch and dinner were plentiful.
There were varied specialties from the sea and vegetarians were also not too
Cat Ba is the largest island in Halong Bay and is home to
the wonderful Cat Ba National Park. There is a lot to see on Cat Ba.
Rare plants and animal species that are threatened with extinction can still be
admired here in their natural habitat. The rare yellow Orichdee belongs
to the optical highlight of this unique area.
The time we spent there was unfortunately very short. We
spent a lot of time in the caves and so the Cat Ba National Park
was not that much anymore. The hike to the viewpoint in the park took longer
than agreed with the guides and so almost everyone came too late. This again
caused a bad mood among the guides.
After that, we had some free time. So you can explore the
island on your own in a small time frame. It took us to the port of Cat Bas.
Here are some fishing boats frolicking. However, the view over the hilly
landscape in Cat Ba Island was one of my highlights of the whole tour.
Halong Bay Tourism
Upon arrival at the port of Vietnam Halong Bay
crowds of tourists bustle. Here the boats set every standard and people from
all over the world sit in waiting areas and get on their feet. But once the
trip starts, the ships and boats are fairly dispersed. It is not that boats are
in the water and you have to be afraid to capsize.
On Cat Ba Island and especially at the lookout point,
however, mass tourism and crowds prevail. The tour group was a comfortable size
of about 12 people and there was no crowding or lack of space onboard.