Halong Bay is one of the major attractions of any tour to Vietnam.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, located just under 3 hours drive north east of Hanoi using the new motorway. The total area is vast, covering over 1500 kilometres, with over 1900 islets, mostly limestone with a tropical forest topping. Several of the islets are hollow, with enormous caves with incredible stalactites and stalagmites. It is said they have taken over 500 million years of formation in differing conditions.
Our 2 day (1 night) tours include a visit to one of the caves. Only 40 of the islets are inhabited, with traditional fishing villages, and again on the aforementioned tour, a visit to a village will be included.
There is no hard rule on the best time to visit. The summer months April to October can be hotter and more humid, and in this region, tropical storms or even the occasional cyclone are not unknown particularly in the August / September period. The Winter months of November to March can be noticeably colder, dryer, misty and rather atmospheric.
Clothing will be totally relaxed, so t-shirts, shorts (maybe longer trousers & hoodie style coat in the winter months or chilly evenings), trainer type shoes & swimwear for shore & sea excursions.
Chic Locations offer a variety of tours within the Halong Bay area.
This can be one day from Hanoi – it will give you a glimpse, but it will be a long day and the cruise itinerary is mainly travelled by the regional and especially Chinese tourists whose interest is equally shared with karaoke and shopping as much as the beauty of the area. Perfectly doable but would not be our suggestion, on so many levels.
The Two day (one night) tours are much more popular with European visitors as you travel to slightly more remote areas, and have a much greater feeling of escapism and appreciation of the scenery.
The Three day (two nights) option generally allow you to travel further out and /or have more time for relaxation on board and local activities.
Explore the Waters of Halong Bay in Style with Bhaya Cruises!
Our preferred partner in this region is Bhaya Cruises. They offer a good variety of boats depending on your requirements and are particularly experienced in dealing with the curious European traveller. Within their fleet, they have Bhaya Classic boats with either 15 or 20 cabins. Classic Premium which is more intimate with either 3 or 7 cabins, and is our particular preference for their individuality. Even more exclusive is The Bhaya Legend with just one to three cabins and are perfect for private charters. Top of the range in terms of cabin quality are the Au Co luxury cruises with 32 cabins.
Consistent within the Bhaya fleet is that all cabins are outside location with sea view, either from port window or balcony, en-suite shower and WC, all meals & soft drinks served in the restaurant, open lounge area, shore excursions subject to weather conditions. Wines, alcoholic and soft drinks not included but can be purchased. You usually embark around lunch time and disembark mid-morning. Transfers are included to and from your Hanoi hotel, arranged on a private basis to give you maximum flexibility. We can also arrange air travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay or vice versa. A short40-minute scenic flight but expensive and limited time saving given the extra transfer and check-in time.