Ha Long Bay is a majestic place made up of almost 2,000 limestone islands! Ha Long Bay, in Northeast Vietnam, is known for emerald water and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests.
If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, you’ve probably heard of Ha Long Bay. There are only amazing things to say about this place; rightfully so. This place is one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Ha Long means “descending dragon”
The population of Hạ Long Bay is about 1,540, They live on floating houses and are sustained through fishing and marine aquaculture.
In the Middle Ages, Ha Long Bay was an important naval defence base. Several invasion attempts were successfully fought off, including those by Chinese fleets. Local generals used their intimate knowledge of the bay and its countless islands to outwit and defeat their opponents in creative ways.
From Sapa we took an overnight train (Chapa Express) that took us to Hanoi.From there we got a cab that took us to Ha Long Bay. It seemed like a Grab taxi was cheaper than the tour company bus, so we called a Grab, two of them canceled on us and the one driver wanted to bank more money, so he asked us to cancel our Grab app, we were tired, so we did it, we agreed on the price that was shown with the app. There wasn’t a huge problem, minus him asking us to pay for the road tolls, which he never mentioned, we said no and he was fine with it. Just be stern and don’t give in all the time. They will always try to trick you, so just be extra careful.
Do your research and see what’s cheaper to get from place to place, whether that’s Grab or taking the tour company bus. It ended up being around the same price or a bit cheaper, so we did take the tour company when we left Ha Long Bay for Hanoi.
We did an amazing 1 night 2 day boat tour with Signature Cruise company! It was such a great way to end our trip in Vietnam. We paid around $300CAD in total, we splurged a bit, but it was totally worth it. We also got a taste of the cruise life, because we both have never gone on one.
This cruise company made it very comfortable for everyone, they didn’t over-stuff people, so it was very intimate and quiet. With the perfect amount of people on board, you got to meet new friends and also get that one-on-one time with whoever you’re traveling with.
The room itself was spacious and beautiful. Lots of closet space, the bathroom was also quite big with a jacuzzi tub and a window. The perfect bathroom views! We also got balcony, which was a decent size. For once we didn’t have to stumble all over each other to get by.
When we arrived on board we got served a beautiful 3 course lunch with dessert afterwards. They were so kind and took note of everyone’s meal preference. I don’t eat any type of shellfish, so they made it different by adding chicken or something that I did enjoy. Dinner was another 3 course with dessert. They added an extra piece of fish for me instead of giving me shrimp. The meals were all so healthy and delicious, making me feel like I was home, in such a good way. The food was just wow!
The cruise came with some activities to do as well, not just amazing food. They took us around local fishing villages, which led us to this specific place I was excited to see. A pearl farm, where they showed us how pearls are made!! It just blew my mind. I never think about how jewelry is made, but this was so interesting! They told us that they have to clean each oyster every couple months, and it takes 4 years max to get one single pearl out of one oyster. So neat! They also had a store to buy some of their pearls, I already own one, so I didn’t buy anything (Jamie also had the money haha).
They had a cooking class on the itinerary and cave to explore, which we didn’t do. We wanted to just rest and take in the journey. Vietnam was so busy, so it was much needed to just veg out. The cruise also had happy hour and very good GNT! 🙂 Watching the sunset and mingling with everyone was such an amazing way to end the night.
Tip: Your experience will probably be all similar with all the activities they do on the tours, so the price you pay is most likely a good indicator to the quality of the experience you’ll have! 🙂
We were sad to leave the boat! If you can afford 2 nights 3 days on the cruise I would recommend doing that.
We spent 1 night in Hanoi before leaving Vietnam and heading to our next destination. We didn’t do anything crazy, BUT we did try this new Vietnamese dish called Bun Cha! Check out the restaurant Bun Cha Ta. It was delicious and of course they had my favourite Black Sticky Rice Yogurt.