We’ve come to the last post in my Vietnam series and I must say, it’s been really cool to relive this awesome holiday again with you guys… I’m hoping it’s inspired some travelling of your own. 🙂
So the last thing we did in Vietnam was a Halong Bay tour. Now there are endless tour companies who offer these tours, so you can find yourself in a bit of an analysis paralysis situation. In the end we figured we wouldn’t go for the cheapest options we found (at risk of being crammed into an oversized boat with a hundred other tourists), and settled on a slightly fancier option, but not yet crazy priced.
Oh also – you can choose to either do a day tour or a 1/2 night stay on a boat. The overnight stay options came highly recommended, but unfortunately we just didn’t have enough time left and could only squeeze in a day trip. But it was definitely still worth seeing (as you’ll see from my photos below).
We booked through a company called Blue Dragon Tours on their Phoenix Day Cruise full day tour (booked via www.halongbaytours.com). It cost $52 per person and included:
- A transfer round drip from our hotel in Hanoi to Halong Bay via mini bus. It’s unfortunately a bit of a drive – about 3.5hrs each way, but it was a very comfortable trip.
- A traditional wooden “Junk” boat
- A seafood lunch (served on the boat just after you board)
- All entrance fees
- And an English speaking guide
They collect you from your hotel around 8am and then you get back again around 7:30pm, so it is a bit of a long day, but still a good one.
This particular tour passes various limestone islets with very interesting names such as the Fighting Cocks (the symbol of Halong Bay), Duck, Finger, Incense Burner, and Stone Dogs. At a certain point you get off the junk boat and onto little rowing boats to check out some caves. And then as a final stop you also check out the Thien Cung (Heaven Palace) Grotto – which kinda reminded me of the Cango Caves here in SA. In fact, if you’ve been to the Cango Caves you might find this part of the tour a bit boring. So if you can find a tour that doesn’t stop here and offers more time on the water, then I’d say rather go for that.
Right, enough talking… Let’s look at some photos!I think the bright colours put me off a little… Wanted more of a “natural” experience… But the views from outside the grotto were pretty cool:
And that’s a wrap! Vietnam really is such a beautiful place to explore. We loved every minute. If it’s been on your maybe list for a while, definitely move it to the yes yes yes! list.
Oh and if you happen to have any Vietnam tips of your own to share – do leave a comment below.
PS. If you missed parts 1 to 4 of my Vietnam series, click here
- Travel Thursdays: Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon), Vietnam
- Travel Thursdays: Phu Quoc island, Vietnam
- Travel Thursdays: Hoi An, Vietnam
- Travel Thursdays: Hanoi, Vietnam