As soon as we got back from Ha Giang, we didn’t even spend a day in Hanoi and we were on the way towards another adventure again. This time, we were heading to an area called Ha Long Bay, which is known by their little islands coming up from the sea, but also by trillions of tourists. I knew that Ha Long Bay has been soooo crowded lately that all the beauty is gone now and that less known Bai Tu Long Bay which offers basically the same landscapes but less people.
Before the whole two-day cruise I spoke to Mrs. Mai, a Vietnamese girl who has a certain interest in the Czech Republic. The reason I reached out to her is the fact that I spent several days by trying to choose the right cruise company, which didn’t go well. First of all, Mai agreed that Bai Tu Long Bay is a 100% better idea than going to Ha Long. Time was running out so I stopped speculating and finally ordered what she recommended. The only thing I was interested in was how much people would fit on the cruise because I didn’t want to be part of a cruise for 300 people. White Dolphin had a capacity of 8 people, which made me completely satisfied.
In Hanoi, they picked us up at the hotel and after two hours we were already out in Ha Long. There were only two other people on the boat and to our surprise they were two girls from the Czech Republic. So we had a two day private trip with two Czechs, which was fantastic if you consider our dislike of organized trips.
And now to the program. Most cruise companies offer more or less the same program and ours wasn’t different. Just as we left the harbor, lunch (straight from the sea) was served. Imagine the atmosphere – eating shrimps with the sound of the sea, no other ships around and all you see are beautiful green islands.
After lunch we visited one of the caves and a sand beach where we were almost the only ones. In the afternoon, we reached a bay where we docked and set out for kayaks. The only thing I change about this cruise is that the kayak time was too short. In an hour we were back on the boat, however still magical to see the sunset right from the kayak. After dinner we tried night fishing for the calamari but surprisingly we didn’t catch anything. A couple of mojitos & pina coladas later, we went to bed. In the morning I tried to get up for the sunrise, but it was cloudy, so I gave up. After breakfast we stopped by a floating fishing village and then we went back to the harbor and the trip ended.
And now technical stuff. If you decide for a two-day cruise, it’s actually 1 day of real time, because as the trip begins in Hanoi, you board around noon and the next day after noon you are back in the harbor and around 4 you’re in Hanoi. If you decide for a one-day cruise, you will spend about 4-5 hours on the sea, as you start at noon and return to the harbor around 4 or 5pm.
As far as the price goes, all the cruises are incredibly overpriced and you’re basically paying for seeing a must-see. For a two-day cruise, we paid about $150/person, which is more or less the same amount we would have paid for accommodation in Vietnam for about 16 days, which is ridiculous.
So that’s all from me, if you have any other questions, let me know in the comments below!
All pictures taken with a Nikon Z6 + Nikkor 35 mm f1.8 or Nikkor 24-70 mm f4.0. Some of them were taken by Dji Mavic Air.