3 days on Halong Bay

I spent three days on a boat to sail in Halong Bay, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, a UNESCO heritage site. Three days organized tour, a ride, a boat, a strict program (a little too much!) But worth it, at least for the amazing view it offers!

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Between sunrise, water-side cliff, sugar loaf, kayaking and swimming in the China Sea, I tell you.

Arrive in Hanoi, there is a bewildering number of agencies that offer a lot of tours through Vietnam and more on Halong Bay. Prices are in dollars! I wanted to try to do this tour by myself but everything is so well calculated that it is ultimately more complicated to do it by itself, but not impossible! If you have time … something I do not have for this country unfortunately!

The tour

$125 for two nights/three days, all inclusive (except drinks, even water!). The program calculated every single seconds. Day 1 : Departure by bus at 8am, arriving at noon, lunch, departure for kayaking in the bay, then visit a cave… etc. This leaves no place for improvisation, free time.

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What I didn’t like, is that the organization fills every minute, without really leave you the time to simply observe the bay, without making activity. Taking a tour with three days, we can most enjoy. Indeed, the second day, he comes to a true ballad sailing further into the bay. You end up with far fewer boats and more free time!

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Do not forget to plan to drink and well hide your bottles of water. Drinks are not included in the price and then pay on the boat (30,000 dong big bottle of water when it costs only 7000 dong into store!). If you BYO, you will pay 30% of what it cost on the boat. So you have to tweak it !!

The boat

There is something for every price . What really is different, it is the meal. Less expensive you pay, the less it will be good or you’ll eat the same thing twice!

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The cabin are not spacious but finally they are when traveling backpack for a long time, sleeping only in dormitories! What a joy to find an air conditioned room, hot water and a good mattress! Yes I’m just not much! There is no shade upstairs on the terrace and a dining room accommodating up to 30 people.

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Although it is far from old and typical Vietnamese junks, boats are wooden and retained a certain “authenticity”.

There is a lot of regulation in the bay. Ths is a rotected site. Therefore, the boats have specific routes to follow, and specific places to anchor at night. See you then with hundreds of other boats at sunset to spend the night. I did my tour in low season, I dare not imagine what it must be in full season! Rest assured, this doesn’t spoil the landscape too, and anyway, there was no choice today!

Halong Bay

Yes people come, because ultimately whatever the program and the boat on which you will stay, you will be there to see the bay! Splendor of nature, water is an incredible green. Depending on the depth, there are shades of color bottle, turf color, emerald!

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The sugar loaves are placed here and there covered with shrubs and plants. It’s very lush. Between the color of the volcanic rock, the green water and the most prominent green plants, we find ourselves immersed in a serene atmosphere.

Wherever you look around you, the bay stretches to the horizon. We distinguish many rocky masses that seem to go out from the water.

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Legend says that a dragon descending from heaven and carved the earth with his tail. Halong in old Vietnamese language, also means Dragon (Ha) which descends from heaven (Long)!

All small boats of fishermen sail the bay, other traders rowing dock on boats and other souvenirs for sale.

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At sunrise and sunset, the sunlight reflects off the rocky islets and water. Early morning mist gives a surreal and enchanting appearance.

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All the photos don’t reflect what we see or what you feel! So go for a walk and swim in the China Sea in the 2000 Islands …

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