Cruises in Ha Long Bay start at the Bai Chay Tourist Wharf, a 3 to 4-hour drive from Hanoi. If you are on a budget travel, you may hop into buses from Kim Ma Bus Station in Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hanoi to the pier. This will only cost you 60,000 VND or 120 PhP but the journey can be uncomfortable. I recommend this for foreigners who are after for adventure and don’t recommend this for first-timers ‘coz Vietnamese hardly speak and understand the English language. You might get lost in directions.
However, there are also tour packages that could take you to Ha Long hassle-free. There are plenty of cheap travel agencies in Old Quarter and it is safe to book there than to negotiate in the pier. Just like some Filipinos, some Vietnamese can also deceive you in paying more than what the real cost is. And in this tour, you’ll be in a shuttle bus with other more or less 25 tourists which can also be uncomfortable for a long drive.
But in our case, we hired a private car and a private guide when we were still here in Ozamiz through Rulyn’s Travel Hub. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg considering that it saved us a lot of time. ‘Coz nowadays, we already need to buy convenience and comfort. Agree? Hehe…..
Now here we were! There are hundreds of boats cruisin’ along Ha Long from hundreds of operators. So if you just got here by chance with no bookings yet, you can still do the cruise but then again, beware of the defrauders.
Among the hundreds of boats, our tour package chose the White Dragon for our day tour. It’s just a small boat with a capacity of 25 people, just enough for one tour guide. But in this trip, we had a total of 3 guides for 3 different groups including us as only a duo.
While sailing towards the enchanting karsts, sumptuous lunch is being served in the boat. Just take a look at this heavenly feast for two!
Authentic Vietnamese cuisine which tasted really good as Vietnam is also known for its food goodness (that I’ll be writing about soon). Sad to say, we didn’t devoured all this gluttonous lunch because we were already so full and we were also very excited for picture-taking with the islets.
With me in the boat were 3 friendly Koreans who understand and speak English so it wasn’t a lonesome ride for me. They were also hippies who were game in taking my pictures and me to them as well. Better see our fun boat ride here.
We went around the mystical seclusion of peace and quiet, the calm sea of Ha Long that is. We got through from one cave to another, looking at the bats and avoiding their manure. As a bonus, our boatwoman also captured our two perfect shots in the bay!
Ha Long Bay cruise ranges from 100,000 to 150,000 VND or 200 to 300 PhP (lunch excluded) depending on the stops of your choice. For our second stop, stay tuned tomorrow only here on The Other Side of Mae! 🙂 #tosomtravels