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Big Trip Blog Bigtripblog is a multimedia travel experience capturing the adventures of Kevin and Valerie during their one year trip around the world.

Sailing Through the Ha Long Bay

VIETNAM | Monday, 21 May 2007 | Views [1113] | Comments [2]

If you took one look at a picture of Ha Long Bay, you’d probably think, “I have to go there.” At least that’s what I thought. The place is unbelievably gorgeous and photogenic.

The stunning scenery of Ha Long Bay

We planned a visit without getting our hopes up too much though, for a couple of reasons. Some of our friends (tomo) and other travelers warned us of a lack of tourism regulation, resulting in things like dirty water, overdevelopment, and just plain too many tourists. Also we’re often weary of tours in general, and we hadn’t given ourselves enough time to plan out a visit (way to get there, way to sail around, place to stay, etc) all on our own.

So after talking to some other people and looking online, we settled on a two-day/one-night tour of the bay. When we got to the dock to find our boat and set sail, it was hilarious. There were dozens and dozens of boats all crammed together with little or no organization to be seen. We were led to our boat via climbing on and off two others. Then, as we pulled out, we watched all the boats (ours included) bumping into each other to start their tours. We wondered how much normal wear and tear accelerates by doing things so haphazardly. And of course, when we got back the next day, it was the same deal but in reverse. Priceless.

The scenery was as stunning as I’d hoped, and it never disappointed as the hours went by. I got very excited sailing in between the huge limestone karsts. The bay is so huge that all of those other boats were somehow able to spread out enough so that all the romance wasn’t sucked out.

Unfortunately, a couple of things about the tour were disappointing as I’d thought they might be. We were rushed through each “activity” - 30 minutes of sea kayaking (instead of the promised hour), a 15 minute hike through a cave and up a hill, a lot of fried food, etc.

But the other people on the tour were a lot of fun to hang out with, and as I said the scenery was fantastic, so all and all it was a pretty good trip.

Kevin taking a nap

Tags: Sightseeing



Hello there,

Great info on Halong bay as my family and I would like to travel there next month.

Can you recommend any tour packages? I will have kids and seniors traveling with me.


  ming zublin Oct 16, 2007 5:01 AM


Hi Ming,

Unfortunately I don't remember what company we went with. If you do some research online, you should find some good companies. And always ask around among other travelers. I would recommend waiting until you get to Hanoi to book a trip. Sorry that's all the info I have! As long as you don't go with the cheapest option, and do a little online research about the companies you are considering, you should have a great trip.



  Kevin Oct 16, 2007 5:17 AM

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