Halong Bay: A tourist trap - but a beautiful one

Halong Bucht

After a rich breakfast buffet with noodle soup and toast with jam, we decided to... Hotel Waiting for our driver for the boat tour of Halong Bay. Either it's totally off season right now or Ha Long City is always so dreary. We walked around a bit yesterday and were very disappointed. When we couldn't even find a decent meal, we wanted to look for restaurants on the Internet. We came across the following quote: “If Halong Bay is heaven, Halong City can be hell.”.

We now had even more hope for the boat tour. Full of anticipation, we made our way to the pier. Our tour guide greeted us immediately and gave us a voucher for the tour. The first surprise came straight away - suddenly there was no longer any mention of included drinks. These could now be purchased on the ship for a few dollars (but still many times more expensive than usual). The second surprise followed directly on the boat. Our fellow travelers, who were all Japanese, told us that they had only booked a 4-hour trip - but we had booked a 6-hour trip. When we asked our guide the only answer was: “Don’t worry about time.”

Unser Boot
Our boat

Well, there was nothing we could do now anyway. So off we go into a truly unique landscape. Halong Bay consists of hundreds of small islands that rise up to 150m high from the water. The smaller ones are uninhabited and only covered with bushes and smaller trees. Eagles nest on the larger ones and, with a bit of luck, you can also see monkeys.

Halong Bucht
Halong bay
Halong Bucht
Halong bay

Fishing village in Halong Bay

After a good three quarters of an hour we arrived at a fishing village in the middle of the islands. The locals live here in floating, self-built houses. It is actually a self-sufficient group that lives exclusively from fishing; tourism now also contributes to its livelihood. So we were able to rent a kayak and explore a few picturesque bays with it.

Fischerdorf in der Halong Bucht
Fishing village in Halong Bay

Thien Cung stalactite cave

We continued along the edge of the islands to a small bay with a stalactite cave. This was beautifully decorated for tourism and illuminated in bright colors. The tour guides are happy to explain which animal or mythical creature the current rock formation looks like. The whole thing is very busy even in the off-season - but it's still worth a visit.

Finally, it took 45 minutes back to the port of Halong City.

Hier war schon James Bond
James Bond has already been here

Our review of Halong Bay

  • overall rating


In summary, Halong Bay is a beautiful trip that is very worthwhile. However, you can safely avoid spending the night in Halong City.

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