One of the closest day trips from Hanoi, Vietnam is Ha Long Bay, made easy by the fact that every hotel and hostel can get you onto a tour in no time. I took the option of going on a basic cruise around the bay, with lunch and round-trip transportation included in order to stay within my budget. It cost about US$30/person. I was part of a group of about 30 tourists, and got picked up from my hotel at 6am.
On the cruise. The boat never docked, so it was just sightseeing rather than walking around. I got back to my hotel about 6pm and was exhausted! I also went in winter, and although it was overcast, the views were still stunning. Unsurprisingly it was quite cold and windy on the boat.
However, I wouldn’t readily recommend just a sightseeing day trip for Ha Long Bay. It’s a beautiful area, and needs to be explored as well as seen. If you’re running short on time and money, doing this sail-around day trip may be a disappointment, especially if the sun’s hiding.
Instead, many alternatives are available. A quick Google search showed everything from a one-night stay on Cat Ba to limestone cave tours to luxury yacht stays. And it’s not just relaxing – Ha Long Bay is a hotbed of adventure sports like caving, rock climbing, camping and more. The area is definitely less serene than it used to be with all the visitors flocking over for an excursion, but if I go back, I’m definitely doing a longer, more physically intense weekend trip! Even with all the other tourists, it’s still a nice break from Hanoi’s nonstop traffic and motorbike pollution.
What’s your ideal trip to Ha Long Bay?