Halong Bay | Sailing on the Gulf of Tonkin
- Halong Bay tours are one of the messy cruises any traveler could ever imagine: scams, rude barkers and confusing fees. So better save yourself from the hassles by joining group tours.
- Even with travel agency arranged trips, make sure you are not cheated as scams abound in Vietnam as much as the bounty of tourist attractions. Book through reliable travel agencies.
- There is no fixed price for each tour package. So don’t be surprised if you meet someone who paid less or more for the same package.
- Daytrips normally range between $20-$30 and overnight on the junk could be about $45-$60. Longer than 1 night may soar up to $80-$100.
- Prices vary according to the number of nights and type of boat (called junk) you will sail on. From budget to luxury junks, Halong Bay never runs out of it.
- Your tour operator may also offer a mix of junk sleep over and a bungalow in the islet.
- Bringing of food and drinks on the boat are not allowed. You have to buy it onboard, otherwise be ready for a levy of heavy corkage. Food is terrible on the boat. It looks like rubbish and it surely doesn’t taste good. This is something you have to bear. If you have very discriminating palate, get a luxury junk and make sure you arrange your dietary requirements ahead of time.
- Most people running the whole thing in Halong Bay City from the ground staff to the on-shore crew are rude especially to the daytrippers. Be ready to hold on to your patience. It’s no use arguing with someone who only speaks Vietnamese.
- DIY to Halong Bay? Sure, it is possible. Hop on a bus bound for Halong Bay City and drop off in the Ferry Terminal (this is within route). The trip takes about 4 hours including stop over. In the terminal, pay applicable fees and wait ‘til you are joined with other tourists. The hitch here is that it’s a messy transaction and sometimes they make you hop from boat to boat (note that boats or junks are privately owned and each one has its own interests).
- To everything that are stated above always remember, there are always exceptions to it, using your charm and forgoing of logic most of the time works to your advantage.
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