Halong Bay is beautiful!! I booked a two day tour from the hostel I was staying at as that seems to be the cheapest and easiest way of seeing the bay. I went with the cheapest tour on offer, which was a two day tour for $40, which seemed really good considering you get to sleep on the boat and all food and transfers were included.
The tour was really good fun!! I got picked up early in the morning as it's about a four hour drive to Halong Bay and I met a couple who seemed really nice on the minivan (Kendra & Louis). We spent most of the journey chatting, so the time just flew by. Luckily they were on my boat!! We had quite a small group on our boat - there were just 12 people. It was nice though as you really got a chance to get to know everyone!!
The boat itself was a lot nicer than I expected it to be!! I had to share my room with an older guy called Fleming, but I didn't mind. I guess that's part of travelling alone - you end up with strangers all the time.
We started the day with lunch, which again was better than I expected (I had heard some horror stories about what the cheaper trips can be like!!). Then we set off around Halong Bay. Halong Bay was really beautiful, but I was a little bit disappointed with the weather. It was really hazy, so it was hard to get any really good photos. It was still stunning though. Our guide was really good and told us that the legend behind Halong Bay, is that the islands of Halong Bay were created by a dragon that lived in the mountains - as it flew towards the sea its tail smashed holes in the mountain, creating lots of holes or valleys. When it finally made it to the sea the last hole let all the sea water in, which is why the sea runs through it all.
Half way through the day we stopped at a cave, which was called
Cave. It was the coolest cave I'd ever seen. It was absolutely huge!! The Vietnamese had lit up various areas inside and it looked really beautiful. There were three areas in the cave and apparently the surprise was in the
last cave. When I reached there, me and Kendra burst out laughing - there was a phallic shaped rock that the Vietnamese had lit up a red colour! It looked hilarious!!!
After the cave it was time for some kayaking around the area, which was really good fun!! At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to go as it seemed a bit cold, but Gavin, an Aussie guy on the trip talked me into it. Me and Gavin set off in a kayak and ended up racing two French guys. I swear we had the fastest kayak ever!! I think we could have set world records!! We headed towards a lagoon inside a cave and it was really beautiful and peaceful - it was so nice to be somewhere peaceful after the noise and choas of Hanoi!! Me and Gavin ruined the peace though by trying to have a waterfight with the French guys, then we ended up having a water fight with each other. I ended up so drenched that I decided I may as well go for a swim in the water, which was great!! The water was a lot warmed then I expected.
After watching the sun set it was time for the drinking to start!! Me and Gavin decided to share a bottle of vodka and it's all a bit of a blur from there!! The two French guys joined us and I think we ended up going through about three bottles!! All in all though it was a great day.
The next day the people doing three day trips headed off to
Island, while the two dayers headed back to the mainland. I had booked a trip to Sapa for that night, so when I got back, exhausted, I was taken straight to a night train for an overnight journey to Sapa.
I would really recommend anyone in Vietnam going to Halong Bay as it was gorgeous. Just a shame about the weather though.
Source: Travel Blogs