A trip to Halong Bay is at the top of many a traveller’s Vietnam wish list. But where to start? With so many companies out there it’s difficult to know who to go with. Knowing exactly what you want out of the trip is a good place to begin…
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. How long do I want to go to Halong Bay for?
There are many different boat tours, starting from one day cruises to several nights on board.
2. What is my budget for visiting Halong Bay?
Knowing how much you are willing to spend will help you narrow down which trip to go on. Most tours include transfer from Hanoi to Halong, and activities such as sea kayaking, cave visits and secluded beach stops as standard. Spending more will get you more, however it all depends on what you want to get out of your visit.
3. What experiences do I want from the trip?
Many tours have similar itineraries on offer, but your experience will vary depending on the length and price of your tour. For those who have limited time to spend in the bay or are on a tight budget, a one day trip will make for an unforgettable day, packed full of activity. For those who want to take things a little slower and don’t mind spending a bit more, a longer cruise means seeing more secluded parts of the bay within a more relaxed and luxurious environment, with no need to rush.
Things to consider:
- Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s main tourist attractions, and because of this the bay can become heavily congested with boats in certain parts. Some people say that in the busiest areas the water is dirty and filled with rubbish. Not very idyllic. While boats to these sections of the bay may be cheaper, it’s worth taking into account the impact that this type of tourism has on the wider environment. Consider spending more if you can, to go with a more sustainable and responsible company.
- How many people will be on your boat? We travelled on a boat with approximately 20 guests including ourselves, and this was plenty. A smaller group allows you to be able to explore more secluded areas, and you will likely get more out of your travel guide as they won’t have a large amount of people to focus on. Less people also create less pollution.
- When you book, make sure you double check what your itinerary consists of. Firstly, will you be picked up from somewhere, or will you have to arrange your own transport to the bay? How long does your journey take, and how much will it cost? Are there any hidden extras that you may have to pay for onboard? Will you be on the same boat for the duration of your cruise or will you be expected to change at some point?
We did a lot of research before deciding to travel with Indochina Junk and cannot recommend them highly enough! The staff couldn’t have been friendlier or more helpful, the food was outstanding and the overall experience was wonderful from start to finish. They are the first company to be permitted to cruise around Bai Tu Long Bay, the lesser explored area of Halong Bay, and are also devoted to keeping the bay clean and protected, while working with locals to clear rubbish and pollution from the water and islands.
Read more about our trip to Halong Bay here.
If you would also like to visit Halong Bay with Indochina Junk, click here to find out more.
Disclaimer: This post is in no way affiliated with Indochina Junk, they are simply who we chose to travel with and would recommend a million times over!