See the locations of Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay on Halong Bay Google Map Read background about the Karst and Caves of Ha Long Bay by Speleogenesis. Halong Bay is a Unesco World Heritage Site, read more
You have to choose and get some help here
Everybody goes to Halong Bay, more than 2.5 millions of people every year, so there are crowds of tourists in some places. And there are many operators of tours and some of them specialized on rip off: not delivering good quality. That's why I collected reviews of guests, who have been to Halong Bay. And that's why you find three categories in this blog:
- Good reviews
- Critical reviews
- No reviews
- Don't await to see brown, red or black ships as you see on many pictures: the provincial
authorities have ordered all the owners to paint their ships in white. Read about this:
Where have all the colours of Halong Bay gone?
- Don't look for the cheapest tours, the risk is high, that the service and the safety are cheap too
- Ask the tour seller: how old is the boat?
- Check, if the boat has glass windows - boats with wood windows are older. Newer boats have hammers to break the glass
- Check, if Kayaking or the transfer from Hanoi to Halong is included in the package, check if lifewests for Kayaking are included - Check, if the route goes to Bai Tu Long Bay, which is less crowded than Halong Bay
- Check the weather, before you start. If storms are forcasted, you should not go. In September 2009 five people died, as a brand new tourist boat sank (read more). Be aware, that the tour operater might not have an insurance, so take care, you have one yourself
- When going on board: ask for the security instruction. Check, where the lifewests are
- If you are not an experienced swimmer, take care, there can be streams in the water, may be the way back to the ship is much harder than the way away from the ship, there can also be jellyfish
- If you are not experienced in kayaking, don't go alone but with somebody who is experienced. Especially inside the caves there can be streams difficult to manage.
- Read, how cupidwithoutarrows compares the junks
Bhaya Cruises: Three days/two nights for two from 700 USD. The Bhaya is a new boat with an ancient history. It has been rebuilt after drawings of a junk, who was used by the Vietnamese Emperor Khai Dinh (1885-1925, read the full story). "Great experience", comments alicejlille, "perfect", notes Air Journey. Also Drew amd Liz liked the trip and Gipsy Lemonade was not only fond of the "elaborate lunch buffet" on board. In Vung Vieng floating village you change for a moment to sampans rowed by "incredibly strong" women, as Sam and David report, who show a lot of pictures of the trip. There is also a pearl farm to visit. See the detailed itineraries.
Pinta: 3 days two nights for two from 408 USD. Pinta Gold has been taken out of traffic by an inspector for security reasons on 20 november 2009. The author of this blog was on board, when this happened. You can read the story here and with pictures in this blog. The author does not know, if its operating again. See itineraries of Pinta Gold Cruiser. Read how Vaax enjoyed the trip with Pinta Cruiser, and so did Jacky on Pinta Gold Cruiser. "Great guide", "gorgeous deck"(sunlounges with white covers), "dinner was just as yummy as lunch and every time we thought that was the last dish they would bring more out", adds Chez N Andys, who critizises the mattress in the bedroom as too hard. "They served gourmet, had tons of fruits on board", notes Culinary Conquests. And Erin and Jeff were fond of the ten-course-dinner served on a beach. Good reviews on tripadvisor.com
Dream Voyage: This boat had a bad accident with 12 tourists dead in February 2011. Read How the dream turned to a nightmare on Halong Bay. Before this accident you could find reviews like theese: "A bit dowdy, with cracked and lifting deckplanks, broken wicker benches, erratic lighting and air conditioning; poor food and expensive drinks", comments Jeremy Hay on Inkspot. Good review by Trizzyb. But "Boat in bad condition", found WicNYC, "dont use this bout", is the advise of whizzyjayne.
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