Before going to Halong, I have thoroughly searched for online information as well as consulting and asking around but I still quite not satisfied when I went on a trip. The information that I collected may not be enough. I decided to make a tag about travel experience for those who like to wandering, fortunately, read this information. First, we start with Halong Bay trip.
I still prefer to go on my own since once I chose to go on tour and feel like towed. I was not allowed visit some interesting places and went to places I did not like to. Especially I might not go to visit places that worth to see. There will be no choice for us when going on a tour. Moreover, go on tour mean you must totally depend on tour guides. No matter where you go, you have to follow the guide. But if you go on your own, there will be general information about where you go so that you will have the appropriate choice with your budget. I am quite dilatory and go whenever I want to, play how many I want to play, so personally, I don’t like a tour.
Back to the Halong trip, before going, I asked those who had visited there and gone online to many forums for more information. I was quite confident that I got enough information to go on my own. I got experiences by reading lots of selected articles and notice the posted date to avoid out of date information.
Accommodation in Halong
In general, there are a lot of homestays in Ha Long Bay regard hostel, small and big star hotels. The price is a variety from cheap to expensive. You can find a quite good homestay with 150,000 VND, but it is far away from the city center and usually located in the alley. Homestays in Hon Gai island are cheaper than Bai Chay Island. But living in Bai Chay Island, it will be more convenient and closer for you to do to the city center. It’s also easier and closer for you to reach the Bay or Tuan Chau.
A cheap and notable hostel worth mention would be Halong Party Hostel
On my trip, I chose Union hotel. When I came there, I knew my image was not wrong. View from the Union Hotel to the bay was very well
Next to the Union Hotel is the Grand Ha Long Hotel, which is newly built with a fantastic view. I heard that it was a part of the Union Hotel. I observed and found out that the view from Post Office was also good.
Before leaving, if you want to book more than 2-star hotels, please book in advance. You should book via Traveloka to save rental fee. After comparing prices among some dealers, I asked the traveloka.com for booking since its price was ok (more than 450,000 VND/3-star double room type 1). The price listing at the hotel is higher as twice as agent-booking price.
Transportation in Ha Long
Since I traveled from Hanoi, I was not worried about modes of transportation. Those who are far from Ha Long should go by train or plane for comfort.
For more information about cheap flights, please refer these links:
On my trip, I just wondered what bus station to go and which mode of transportation to chose, by car or train. From Hanoi, you can choose Luong Yen or My Dinh bus station. If you go by bus, you should go for high-quality brands such as Hoang Long or Ha long Express (60,000 VND/person). The earliest trip is at 05: 15, and there is a trip every 15 minutes. Also, you can take the train, but go by train takes you a longer time to approach Ha Long City. The Halong Express bus has opened recently, which departs from Gia Lam station and price is about $5-10 (from 07:00to 1:00 to Ha Long and about 3:00 to 0:00 back to Hanoi).
On my departure, I accidently went by Kalong bus from the My Dinh bus station without knowing why. My friend told me this is a good choice because most of my friends traveled to Hai Phong by this bus. The bus also looked good, the same as Hoang Long. So I decided to go for KaLong and ignored the nearest Hoang Long new car seemed sad. Bad thing happens when the music on the car suddenly turned a bit loud, but at that time the car had not run yet, so I think it was the fixed volume level. But after the car ran, the music was getting louder as the drive had no intention to turn it down. Until when I looked the seats around and above my seat, I discovered the loudspeaker, tucked it in, snuggled up to the rumbling chair. My ears closed to the main speaker. I so stressed that I could not describe my feeling. Although many people began to petition and swear, the driver still did not reduce the music volume. This trip was also slow, which took us 5 hours traveling to Bai Chay Island.
When I came back to Hanoi, I went to the bus station to catch Kumho, which a fast, big and beautiful bus with excellent service. They did not get more customers to fulfill the car and did allow people to sit on a plastic seat between 2 rows of seats (this car does not permit you to sit on plastic chairs, only use the main chairs and one seat for each person). Notably, service staffs served water as flight attendants. If you go by car, you can choose this brand.
Also, you should pay attention to vehicles when in Ha Long. If you go by train, you should take taxi or motorcycle taxi from the station to the hotel. If you go by car, you should go to Bai Chay bridge to take motorcycle taxi or taxi. If you go to the city center, the price is about 20,000 VND/person for a motorbike taxi and about 60,000 VND for a cab. When in Ha Long city, if you are in a group, go for a taxi. Individuals should take motorcycle taxi as the price is low. And for those who goes to Tuan Chau, you can choose motorcycle taxi, taxi or bus. The motorcycle taxi price is about 60,000 – 70,000 VND. The last time I took a taxi which is about 130,000 VND for one way from the Union hotel. But the bus price is just 5,000 VND. Fortunately, motorcycle riders here is gentle. However, you should deal to reduce the costs. Taxi drivers seemed not clandestine.
Best dishes in Halong
Foods in Ha Long are not impressive except the specialty squid. Sour soup or noodles here have the bamboo shoots soaked with chili in, so who is not accustomed to eating have to tell them not to put in. Dining in Bai Chay is quite expensive, but maybe Hon Gai is cheaper.
Today I found on the internet that people should eat at Peach Garden because of the low price. At first, I thought it is a romantic garden which sells food. Nevertheless, it’s just the street with famous restaurants. The Peach Garden market is like other public markets. The price in there is as contemptible as the street food stalls or in the market in Hanoi, but the food is very tedious. The restaurants along the road to the Gulf is beautiful but expensive. You should choose the restaurant which has the menu or asks price in advance. For people who like to watch the dolphins perform or music at Tuan Chau late at night, they have no choice and must go there for dinner. Eating in Tuan Chau is super expensive. You have to pay for the service of private (about 10,000 VND), but the food is too boring. The dish is steamed chicken meat, but it looks like remnants. I bet that you cannot swallow. Also, the salty Vietnamese berries are disgusting. However, crab soup is much more delicious. The eatery opposite the Bai Chay post office is OK, but I find the price is almost the same as Tuan Chau (about 100,000VND per person). To sum up, food in Ha Long is tedious, so it is better for you to eat at a typical restaurant and then buy some fruits for a snack at the hotel.
Sightseeing in Ha Long
Ha Long tour should be a two-day trip. You will spend one day only visiting the Bay, and another day to visit Tuan Chau.
Now I am telling you about my real story. I searched for information on the Internet and asked my friend that joining the group is a good idea. I asked the hotel reception for the phone number of a person who can help us find a group. He called and said that there was an 8:00 AM trip and he would let people pick me up at the hotel. When I asked for the price, he promised that it was sticky price and told me no need to worry. I preferred to go later, so I determined to go on another trip. I asked a taxi driver, and he gave me another phone number. Someone talking on the phone also said that there was only a trip picked me up at the hotel at 8:00 AM. I thought that there was only that time else, so I decided to go with the man who receptionist introduced. I checked out the hotel before visiting the bay and follow him to the boat.
On the way, I asked the price, and he said it was 200,000 VND per person not include tickets to the Bay. He also stated that the price was sticky and if I did not believe, I could compare. It was strange because the price I found on the Internet was over 100,000 VND per person, but taxi driver said 150,000VND per person. When coming to the wharf, I saw the ticket room. I came to the ticket table and asked the seller. She said the price was 50,000 VND per person. I totally dazed and then calmly asked how many trips for a day. She said that the trip was 8:30 AM and 9:30 AM. At that time, I asked the man why he told lies, and I decided not to go anymore. After agreeing to let me go with the sticky price, he told me not to tell anyone because the other team was 200,000 VND per person.
The boat owner collected 100,000VND not included visiting the bay though the price before boarding was already 100,000VND included visiting the bay. I told them to go back to shore because the boat was near the coast, but she pretended not to hear me as she was afraid the others heard. She kept my money and did not return. I thought it was a few penny, so I let it be.
Lessons learned here is that it’s quite hard if you do not know the harbor also sells group tickets. If you ask anyone, they will refer to a particular owner or boat owner. Even though the hotel says so how can you know? The ticketing booth is just 1 km away from the hotel and the ticket there are sticky. The boat runs in time even if there is just one person. However, there is only 4:00 ticket at the ticket counter, and if you want to visit the Bay at 6:00, you must hire the boat owners.
If you go on two day-trip, you should check in at the hotel at 12:00 the day before and check out at 9:00 AM the next morning, 9:30 visit the bay is OK. You should sleep and rest well. Early in the morning, you can enjoy the dawn on the beach and then eat breakfast. It is very comfortable.
When you visit the bay, the boat owners do not let the ship go close to the place except the caves. Therefore you should ask them to drive the ship near the Ga Choi (Cock Fighting) island.
On the day going, the tour guide said that it was Huong (Perfume) island, the other was Ga Choi island, but the boat was far from those places, so it was too hard to see and imagine.
In general, I think we must go back to Ha Long again.
Halong travel experience – where to go and enjoy?
This is the collection all experiences of Ha Long tourism regardless transportation, homestay, delicious dishes and where to visit, etc.
When is the best time to go Ha Long?
Ha Long Bay, located in the Northern of Vietnam, has four distinct seasons known as spring, summer, autumn and winter. Tourist can travel to Ha Long Bay anytime of the year, however, the best time usually from April to October. The weather in these months is quite cool and mild.
Notwithstanding, you can come to visit this city in winter months from December to February. In this time, the weather can be a little bit cold and cloudy, and there may be heavy rain sometimes. Many tourists come here in the summer for sightseeing and relaxing,
However, during the summer months from May to October, the temperature rises, and you may experience storms during the rainy season.
Where to go in Ha Long?
Visiting Halong Bay, tourists can take a cruise for sightseeing. You can see hazy haze like in dreams, sea clear like crystal reflects images of remote islands … And you will be able to see floating houses of the local people or boats bustling back and forth across the bay, which make you feel excited.
There is a popular resort called Bai Chay along the shores of Ha Long Bay where allows travelers relax and bathe the fresh air. Winds from the sea blow day by day in this resort. Usually, the average annual temperature is over 20 ° C. There is a low, sloping hill stretching over 2 km crosses toward the sea, embraces ancient pines intermingled with small specific architecture villas. Through the asphalt road, white sand and blue casuarina trees, under where small shops were hidden, lie closely to the bay. After swimming, tourists can go to the shore for a glass of cool water while enjoying the sea winds.
Also, tourists can go to Co To Island by boat for swimming and diving to watch the beautiful coral reefs. This place is also suitable for those who like wildlife and not crowded places.
Besides, travelers can bear visiting Tuan Chau island, the most famous tourist resort in the North and the most beautiful island among the 1,969 islands in Ha Long Bay as well. More than that, this is the only island where people live. Tuan Chau is famous for the Vietnam’s largest artificial coast. Tourists can comfortably play on the famous Tra Co beach whose white sand slopes gently 4 km long to the sea. You can enjoy on the beach and underwater games such as beach volleyball, soccer, surfing, parasailing, high-speed water slides, which certainly brings you a healthy, fun and impressive vacation. In particular, tourists may also try and enjoy the cuisine in Vietnam Cuisine Garden. This garden was built in a unique style that modeled the royal architecture of Vietnam in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Or else, if you want to take a bath in hot mineral springs, go to Quang Hanh which is over a dozen kilometers away from Ha Long. This is a state-owned resort that offers massage services for tourists.
Ha Long has a large cave system, each cave has its beauty, and the stories belonged to it. Tourists may choose to visit Luon cave located on the Bo Hon Island which is 14 km from Bai Chay to see the stalactites were built in many shapes and sizes for millions of years. You may not believe in your eyes since that scene is too magnificent and magnificent. In front of the cave is the island of Tortoise, on the right is Heaven Gate. Here cliffs are upright, four seasons of blue water as calm as a mirror. At the edge of the water, a bow gate opens at the foot of the island.
If you like to go to the temple worship, tourists visit Yen Tu. This is a system of pagodas, am towers and forests of ancient trees in harmony with nature, scattered from red slope to Yen Tu mountain gradually. The beauty of Yen Tu is the greatness of the mountain with the ancient look of the system am, the tower along with the larch, trees, architecture, apricot trees on the sides of the shade to tourists. Forget the fatigue of the ramp.
Evening tourists can go to Bai Chay night market to buy local gifts for friends or relatives or enjoy the food sold across the street. This place is around 9 pm to start bustling people, eating and shopping. If you want to see the whole city at night, you can board Bai Chay. On the contrary, if you want to see Bai Chay Bridge, you can completely go to the old ferry stopped using coffee, watching the sea and the city at night.
Halong Bay outside the large cave system, there are other famous monuments and attractions are waiting for tourists to explore. Surely you will have many great memories and memories when traveling in this place.
How to reach Ha Long?
Ha, Long City is 170 km away from Hanoi, with 3 to 4 hours by car. Most tourists book tours from Hanoi, including transportation to Ha Long Bay, as well as accommodation (on the boat or in the hotel), including tour guides and lunches, I. If you go self-sufficient to go to Ha Long Bay, tourists can pick up the bus in Hanoi. From Kim Ma Station on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, tourists pick up a bus from Hoang Long Express. Every 15 minutes there will be a trip to Ha Long. If you need to book in advance, you can contact by phone (04) 8452846. You can also pick up the bus from Haiphong just 75 km from Halong Bay. Once in Ha Long Bay, you can rent boats or cruise ships on the bay.
There are ships running from Hon Gai to Haiphong continuously every day. The boat departs at Hon Gai at 6.30, 13:00 and 16:00. Unfortunately, there are no hydrofoils running Ha Long and Hai Phong. However, the fare is slightly higher than that of a car.
Shopping and pricing in Ha Long
In general, prices in Ha Long Bay are not too high for a famous resort. Travelers may purchase clothes for a bit more price than other places. Eating in the bar is also quite popular. However, travelers also need to redefine the price before deciding what to buy or rent.
Also, ticket price from Ha Noi to Ha Long is about 100,000 VND (passenger car). The price of xe om from the bus station to Bai Chay resort is VND 30,000 per person. If you go to Hon Gai, you can lose up to 60,000 VND per person. You should take a taxi if the group of three or more. Private bus from bus station to Bai Chay or Hon Gai, the highest price is 10,000 VND per person.
The average hotel price is about 250,000 VND per day. If possible, you should rent accommodation in Hon Gai so that you can find affordable accommodation. You can book hotels online hotel information Ha Long here.