Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 38
  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
    katie23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    PI
    Posts
    3,763

    Ha Long Bay, Vn: anyone been?

    Hi all, as the title says, anyone been on a tour of Ha Long Bay? If yes, is the water clear and good for swimming/diving from the boat?

    Did anyone go on the overnight tour? If yes, was it nice or worth it? Or just go with a day tour? Which tour group or company did you use?

    A friend told me that the Ha Long Bay tour is similar to the Palawan islands tour - limestone karsts, etc, but that the waters in Palawan are clearer. I'm inquiring for another friend who plans to go there with her family. They're the touring/ shopping/FB type, not the mongering type.

    She's debating whether to go to the North (Hanoi, Halong) or South (Saigon, Cu Chi tunnels, Mekong Delta). I have gone to the South but never been oop Norf. They plan to go in January, so weather should be good, no monsoons.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Custom user
    Neverna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Behind a rhododendron bush
    Posts
    15,185
    I went on a day tour from Hanoi. As far as I recall, the water was clear.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
    Iceman123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Last Online
    18-11-2018 @ 06:21 PM
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    3,454
    I was there in 2011. We spent the night on one of the tour boats of which there were many. Wasn't bad but my fellow guests were a fairly timid lot and I was jealous of the partygoers on the other boats that looked they were having a bit of a party.

    The water was filthy, plastic bags and bottles floating about all over the place. It may have been cleaned up since. They supply kayaks for you to paddle about on, but we definitely gave the swimming a miss.

    During the next day we were taken to a couple of tourist stops including a pearl harvesting set up.

    My summation is that Halong bay looks much better in the brochures than in the flesh.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Chiang Mai
    Posts
    27,400
    Several years back I went to Halong Bay. The weather was terrible so no blue waters at all. Quite dirty. I was totally unimpressed and annoyed we had wasted our time. My favorite place in Vietnam was Hoi An.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat
    redhaze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Just south of Uranus
    Posts
    3,167
    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    Hi all, as the title says, anyone been on a tour of Ha Long Bay? If yes, is the water clear and good for swimming/diving from the boat?
    I was there about seven years ago or so. The water was infested with garbage, more or less. We still jumped from the boat though. It was still fun. I don't think we were literally diving into garbage, but its all over in the water there

    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    Did anyone go on the overnight tour? If yes, was it nice or worth it? Or just go with a day tour? Which tour group or company did you use?
    Yeah, did the overnight. Even bought into a "VIP" boat, which in retrospect was clearly a sales gimmick because our boat was a shitty as all the other boats. They didn't feed us enough and everyone was hungry after dinner. Meanwhile, the workers were gorging themselves on dishes that we much better than what we ate and not offered to us. Then all the workers got drunk with each other, and asking for a beer that you paid for seemed like it was a giant inconvenience for them.

    It was still fun to spend the night though, and the mist around the mountains at sunrise almost made all the other shit worth it. If you just want to see it, a day tour would probably be fine though.

    Don't let them sell you on a VIP boat in Hanoi, once you get to Ha Long you will totally end up on the same shitty boat as everyone else. Can't remember the company name we got the tickets from but honestly I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter. Google reviews on the topic more or less confirm that they are all selling the same shitty tickets filled with disappointment and shattered dreams. You'll waste your time trying to get a refund after the fact, so just take it all for what it is if you decide to go.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat
    redhaze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Just south of Uranus
    Posts
    3,167
    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    My favorite place in Vietnam was Hoi An.
    I agree, Hoi An is nice. I found Dalat to be a nice little place as well. Hanoi is worth going just for the food (unlike most the rest of the country where the food is a mixed bag at best).

    Overall I found Vietnam pretty disappointing as a travel destination

  7. #7
    POTUS HOCUS
    david44's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Last Online
    03-12-2018 @ 01:21 PM
    Location
    Inner Wrongholia
    Posts
    13,668
    It'll be cool I go to Delta and Phu Quoc 25 min flight or even overland via Snooky and Kompot which are both worth a visit, they do seem to have learned dual pricing fromm the thais but at least I can read the menus, even if not understand them, food is great .Even a day trip to marshes opp Can Tho worthwhile , many tours from $20 up strating in Saigon hotel door to door pick up lunch , but Delta is a geeat place worth a few days, I also like Hue and Dalat ,(Dalat will be cold in winter20ish and as low as 12-15 at night).

    Did I mention the Delta ladies



    Last edited by david44; 30-09-2017 at 04:55 PM. Reason: Delta not Dleta
    I used to have a job at a calendar factory.
    I got the sack because
    I took a couple of days off.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat
    redhaze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Just south of Uranus
    Posts
    3,167
    Quote Originally Posted by david44 View Post
    I also like Hue
    I almost died on a blood soaked hospital bed in Hue. The blood wasn't mine. The hospital bathroom was an inch deep in feces with no bum gun or TP in the bathroom or for sale anywhere near the hospital. Not exactly conducive to a severe intestinal infection and 109 degree fever caused by food poisoning.

    One guy banged up in a moto-cy accident died looking right at me no more than two feet away in the bed just next to mine. I wasn't far behind, the hospital staff was basically reading me my last rights.

    One smart doctor finally diagnosed me correctly just when it seemed the end was nigh.

    This whole experience sort of turned me off from Hue.

    Never go to a hospital in Vietnam

  9. #9
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Roiet
    Posts
    28,309
    Bobcock was there but all pics are gone. So has he.
    This as well.
    http://teakdoor.com/vietnam-nepal-an...long-sapa.html (Pictures of Hanoi, Halong, Sapa ...)

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Last Online
    23-11-2018 @ 10:37 AM
    Posts
    25,743
    Katie Darlink,

    I shall give you the good oil on Halong Bay.

    Given it's not a river or an ocean but just a bay relying on tidal movement it all depends on what time of the year one goes to how how clean or dirty it will be.

    Think off any Asian beach, if ya go in the monsoon the beach is covered in shit and totally disgusting, go high season they are glorious.

    Halong bay is never glorious because of the lack of flowing water, it's more like how dirty or clean it is at the time of year you visit.

    Regards swimming, good fookin luck with that Katie. I would not put my toe in it simply because of the chance of catching leprosy.

    We took an overnight tour but took the option of being dropped of at Cat-Ba island and spending the night in a Hotel and finishing the tour the next day.

    Fantastic call on our part.

    Consider this but do go see Halong Bay. Nice tour.

    Just don't swim in the shit house eh.

    Look around at all the boats there, they all discharge huge amounts of human shit into Halong bay every fookin day. ??????

    Have a nice trip Katie.

    All good.
    Stroller is a Yerman faggot.

  11. #11
    Member

    Join Date
    May 2013
    Last Online
    Today @ 03:17 PM
    Posts
    56
    In March 2012 we did a loop from our Hanoi hotel to a boat to and through Halong Bay. Avoided VIP anything as the reason to go is visual and not fine lodging/dining, make reservations on the ground instead of getting sold a 'grand' tour. Spent two or three nights in Cat Be including a day trip back to the Bay for kayaking and up to a park. Avoid wintertime as it was the only time I ever experienced wet not damp walls in a hotel (warmish water coldish air = condensation). Circled back to Hanoi through Haiphong to NiMH Binh(?) for a paddle boat trip through the karst formations along a river. Train back to Hanoi.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Last Online
    23-11-2018 @ 10:37 AM
    Posts
    25,743
    ^

    The overnight boat trip could be a very long night if ya don't want to get pissed up and Party on.

    Hence why we said, Fook that, and bunked up on Cat-Ba.

    Anyway, Halong is quite a beautiful area but unfortunately fuked up by mass tourism same as any other place.

    Ya still got go see it though.

    Just don't swim in the fookin sewage pond or sleep on the boat.

    If ya are a young fooker well maybe.

  13. #13
    Fresh Seaman CaptainNemo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Last Online
    18-02-2018 @ 04:17 AM
    Location
    in t' naughty lass
    Posts
    5,408
    I went all the way across to Halong on a motorbike from Hanoi during Tet one year... it wasn't that good. All I remember was eating frogs legs and seeing a VN bird with uncharacteriscally gravity defying knockers by the sea-side.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat
    katie23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    PI
    Posts
    3,763
    Thanks all for the honest replies. I knew I could count on TD for a no-holds-barred review.

    As I've previously stated, I'm asking for a friend, not myself, but the info will be very helpful in case I want to take this trip in the future. I've read mixed reviews about the water. Some say it's okay, others say it's full of rubbish floating about.

    My friend will go to Vn for touring and maybe shopping, so a day trip will probably suffice. They'll get lots of ops for selfies with a day trip, so her FB fix will be catered to. I'll let her decide on whether to go on a day trip or O/N tour.

    Cheers all!

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Last Online
    23-11-2018 @ 10:37 AM
    Posts
    25,743
    The thing is Katie it's quite a run out to Halong bay so doing the over night thing is a solid idea.

    The only question is whether ya want to overnight on the boat or bunk up on the Island.

    Regards the quality of the water and the shit floating around it simply depends on the season.

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat
    katie23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    PI
    Posts
    3,763
    ^Yeah, I've read it's 2-3 hrs one way from Hanoi to Halong Bay. For a day tour, leave early morn then arrive back in Hanoi at night - a friend of a friend did that. It will be a drag in the bus, but it's doable. It depends on my friend B, the one who'll be doing the trip. She said they'll have roughly 5D/4N for the trip, so it depends on her how much sightseeing or shopping she wants to do. She asked me to make an itinerary for her, as she knows that I travel. She's a good friend, so I'm doing this as a favor.

    I've already made an IT for her for the South, so I'll let her choose. The middle (Hoi An or Hue) is out of the question, since it's far & they have limited time. They prolly also don't want to take another flight while in Vn. Hanoi or Saigon is okay, since there are direct flights to both cities from Manila. So those are the considerations. Heck, I might even convince her to go to the South, since I'm more familiar with it & can give her more guidance for her trip. If she wants to go somewhere cool, I'll include Dalat in her IT.

    Thanks and cheers!

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Last Online
    23-11-2018 @ 10:37 AM
    Posts
    25,743
    ^

    Well that amount of time is nothing so maybe drop Halong bay. To do a day trip is a grind and also ya don't get to see the stuff ya see on the full over night trip.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat
    redhaze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Just south of Uranus
    Posts
    3,167
    Halong is out of the way. If I only had five days I would probably just stick to Halong Bay and Hanoi. More than two destinations in four nights really just isn't enjoyable.

  19. #19
    Member Roger Ramjet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Last Online
    23-11-2018 @ 03:38 PM
    Location
    high in the sky!
    Posts
    301
    Went to Halong Bay and stayed on the mainland for 2 nights in February... Quite cold..... below 20 Deg C. I arrived at the Hanoi Airport and had difficulty finding reliable information..Everything is focused on trapping tourist money....offering very expensive boat trips and VIP travel plans! I did some quick blog reading and caught a metered cab to the Hanoi Bus station..( cheap!) then the locals bus to Halong Bay...very cheap.... 3 hours of very rough ride as the road is very potholed and rebuilding and upgrades everywhere. It is hard to figure where to get off the bus but I arrived at about 7.00pm and got off where my Google maps showed the main market area which is where the locals mostly got off! The whole seafront area is undergoing massive construction with a couple of Kilometers of huge multi story tourist hotels simultaneously under construction including all the big Western Hotel names. The view out to the Islands is great and I located a very comfortable inexpensive (off season)3 star newly constructed hotel 100 meters from a large Seafront landscaped Park (also under construction) and about 1 kilometer from the locals market and the Fisherman's wharf. The tourist boats were not obvious and I think maybe not running due to weather...but I enjoyed the market and fisherman's wharf area and was amazed at the scale of construction! Good place to keep clear of in another 12 months I think as I expect tit will be full of Chinese tourists from top to bottom!...... But it was B Cold in February and I left a day early to Thailand to warm up!
    "Looking for a cold beer to put out the chilli!"

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat
    OhOh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:50 PM
    Location
    Where troubles melt like lemon drops
    Posts
    15,733
    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    ^Yeah, I've read it's 2-3 hrs one way from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
    'arry flew from Halong to hanoi in a float plane. I took a "freight train" early morning from an out of town Hanoi station to Halong. Many locals taking veg to sell, sitting in the "guards" coach tasting the local brew and playing cards with the "inspectors". Cheap fare but expensive card games.

    Halong city itself, is still under construction in many ways, lots of locals, Asians, frolicking in the sea from the man made beaches.

    Old Hanoi very entertaining, excellent 5* hotels and delicious Asian/French at hand. Even ameristani junk food available if that's your thing.

    Stand still, for one moment, in the street and a man on a motorbike will offer whatever you desire. Delivery may not be what you asked for but as I turned them all down I may be wrong.
    Last edited by OhOh; 01-10-2017 at 12:42 PM.
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat
    redhaze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Just south of Uranus
    Posts
    3,167
    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Stand still, for one moment, in the street and a man on a motorbike will offer whatever you desire.
    With a cop just behind him too....

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat
    katie23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    PI
    Posts
    3,763
    Thanks all, your reviews have been noted. Cheers!

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat
    OhOh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Last Online
    Today @ 06:50 PM
    Location
    Where troubles melt like lemon drops
    Posts
    15,733
    Quote Originally Posted by redhaze View Post
    With a cop just behind him too....
    Isn't that always a risk?

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat
    redhaze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Just south of Uranus
    Posts
    3,167
    Its a known scam in VN, and I saw it happen.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat
    hick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Last Online
    Today @ 04:58 AM
    Posts
    5,278
    All in all, sounds like a place/tour to be avoided.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •