When we visited Vietnam in November, we never expected we’d make it all the way up north (we really weren’t relishing the idea of too many flights, no matter how short). But from Ho Chi Minh to Hue to Hoi An, everyone we met who’d been around for a while said, “my favorite place on this trip was Halong Bay.” So we went. And as much as I like to be the purple sheep, this time, I can’t disagree.
It cost $37.53 each to fly from Da Nang to Hanoi on Jetstar. Once in Hanoi, we stayed in the Old Quarter for a night on either side of our three days in and around Halong Bay.
Just for a bit of fun, the population of Hanoi is 7 million. Guess how many motorcycles and scooters are in the city?
With the way things roll, visiting Halong and Cat Ba Island is one of the times when it makes sense — and is probably cheaper in the long run — to book a tour. We did ours with Vega Travel.
For $160 each, we had hotel pick-up and drop-off in Hanoi, a night on a lovely boat, a night in the beautiful Hung Long Hotel (I’m not even joking) on Cat Ba Island, fantastic six- or seven- or eight-course meals aboard the boat, park entrance fees covered, kayaks provided, and hikes, swims, cycle trips and paddles with the extraordinarily patient and gracious Chuk, our guide. Our group was 16 on the first day, and only 6 on the second, so very manageable, and no fists flew to get the last prawn off the serving plate.
Here are a few shots from this memorable part of our Vietnam travels.