Ha Long Bay, Vietnam is one of the top sites to see in Vietnam and arguably throughout Asia. It is located about an hour and a half away from Hanoi in the northern part of Vietnam. The bay itself features thousands of limestone karsts that come in all different shapes and sizes. It’s tough to describe the beauty of the bay on a nice sunny day. If you go when the weather is nice it is really an amazing site to see. I say that because there are different rainy seasons in that part of the world, so make sure you are aware. The weather could be quite dangerous as well with typhoon warnings in the late summer months. People say the best time to visit is in the fall and spring, September and April.
I visited Ha Long Bay in April of 2019 and was blessed with really nice weather which made it a phenomenal experience. The most popular way to explore this amazing site is to hop aboard a cruise. There are literally hundreds of cruise options that all have different sales pitches. You can spend a ton of time sifting through the duds or you can take Guying Around’s advice on the matter about which cruise to choose.
After doing my own research before going to Ha Long Bay, I found that the cruises all have similar routes and all have similar activities. You can go for a swim, kayak, attend a cooking class, or stop to explore and ride bikes on Cat Ba Island. The bay itself is pretty massive so I don’t think the route you go should make a difference. There will be other boats in the bay no matter where you go unless you want to spend a fortune which is something that I do not recommend you do.
Most cruises that you will find offer one night two day or two night three day options. I had enough time to fit in three days at the bay, which I suggest you do. The reason I suggest you stay for two days and three nights is that on the first day, half of your day is getting to the port (most likely from Hanoi), boarding the boat, going through a briefing and getting out to the bay. That takes time, so the first day is really a wash. If you have bad weather, then forget about it. Having that extra full day on the bay is something that I found was beneficial. Again, having a day of bad weather or hitting traffic out of Hanoi could ruin your trip.
During my three days two night cruise on Ha Long Bay, I had plenty of time to take stunning pictures, go for a swim, kayak and spend a half a day riding bikes on Cat Ba Island. It was really cool to see how the locals live around the bay in the different fishing villages and floating houses. I’m a pretty tall guy and there is no way I could live in some of those floating houses or on those boats. Check out this video below.
Now you are probably wondering what company I ended up choosing for this trip right? I chose Orchid Cruises which is one that I highly recommend. Everything that I wrote about above was a part of the cruise. The staff was super friendly, on the ball and took great care of everyone on board. I like to save the best for last, so one of the best parts about traveling with Orchid Cruises was the food on board. Every meal was something different and I had the opportunity to try some different cuisines. I tried different Vietnamese cuisines throughout my entire stay. The rooms on board were very nice and everything was fairly priced. You definitely get what you paid for.
When you Guy Around you sometimes travel differently. I stay in anything from someone’s couch or floor to a nice cruise like I wrote about in this post. If you Guy Around with an open mind and are flexible in how you travel, you can have some great experiences. I think to see and explore Ha Long Bay, Vietnam is something that everyone who Guys Around need to add to their bucket list. If you have any other Ha Long Bay or Vietnam recommendations please write in or comment below.