Halong Bay: Cruising for 2 Days between Hundreds of Small Islands

February 27, 2018

Halong Bay is very high up on any traveler’s must-see list in Vietnam. It’s one of those places where nature still leaves you in awe, regardless of how much you travelled before. It’s no wonder the Vietnamese have several different legends to explain how the landscape was formed – when you’re there, sailing for hours on the sea between hundreds of small rocky islands coming out of the water, you really have to ask yourself how on earth something like that can come to be.

There are tens of tour operators offering trips to the bay. They offer one-day trips from Hanoi, and, probably the most popular option, 2- or 3-day cruises. You can choose from tens of types of boats, with different sizes, comfort, and slightly different itineraries.

There is so much on offer, that Daniel and I almost decided to not go to Halong Bay, out of sheer decision fatigue. We informed ourselves about the different options (in terms of companies, boats, stay duration, degree of comfort), we read dozens of online reviews of the different options… And we were finally so exasperated by the difficulty of making a decision, that we were close to giving up and just skipping Halong Bay.

Fortunately, we realized that would have been a big shame, and we booked a 2-day trip to the bay with the Indochina Junk company, which had mostly very good reviews. The cruise was a bit on the expensive side, but the cruise ship was really nice, the service fantastic, the food good and more than enough, the transfer between Hanoi and Halong Bay painless, so in the end we didn’t regret our choice.

The weather, however, could have been better… On our first day in Halong Bay, it was cloudy and we had about 5 minutes of sun – but no rain. On the second day, there was a drizzle almost all the time, which unfortunately reduced visibility a lot. But in any case, the bay is amazingly beautiful, so I would absolutely recommend going there to anyone who has the opportunity.

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