Halong Bay (Vịnh Hạ Long, lit. Bay of the Descending Dragons) is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Quang Ninh province of northern Vietnam, famous for its scenic landscape with thousands of limestone isles in various sizes and shapes.
Halong Bay has become an international travel hotspot in recent years; there must be more than 200-300 junks and cruises that depart daily from the port, with thousands of travellers visiting the destination each day.
The weather was perfect during my July 2008 visit. My guide told me that the clear blue sky are normally seen only for two-three weeks in one whole year. Sounds exaggerated, but my Hanoi friends later reaffirmed the statement… one of them had been to Halong for five times and had never seen such a clear weather. Lucky me :)
Some photos from the seaport and first glimpse of Halong Bay…
I joined an organised tour from Hanoi with Vega Travel which cost ~USD70 for a 2D1N trip; included were transportation from/to Hanoi, overnight stay on the junk, kayak tour, and basic meals (two breakfast, two lunches and a dinner).
The boat I was on was reasonably clean, the food was ok, and the staff were nice… I won’t mind joining their tour again if I visit some other places near Hanoi next time.
Drinks were the only basic need that was not included, and it’s expensive to buy it on the junk. Visitors are encouraged to buy the drinks on board (consider the extra price as tips), but they don’t really mind if the guests are bringing their own bottled water.