Halong Bay Cruise FAQs

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When is the best time to visit Halong Bay?

The best time to visit Halong bay is October, November, April and May, even though it is possible all year-round. In the winter, it can be cold and swimming and kayaking are therefore not so exciting. Besides, the sky is not so clear for a good view of the bay. In June and July, the bay is full of domestic tourists. It is also the typhoon season and your cruise can be cancelled or delayed.

How far is that from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

Halong Bay is about 170 km far from Hanoi. This would take you about 3 – 3.5 hours on bus transfer. Shuttle bus normally leaves Hanoi by 8.30 am and reaches the piers at 12 noon. 

See best cruises on Halong Bay:

- Victory Star Cruise

- Emeraude Classic

- Ginger Cruise

- The Au Co

- Bhaya Classic Cruise

- Paradise Luxury Cruise

How can we get to Halong Bay?

Shuttle bus is often included in the price. It is a shared bus that picks up guests from different hotels in Hanoi. Note that it can pick up guests that will not board your same boat. Private car is more convenient and comfortable, as you are the only one on it. Costs vary, depending on the type of vehicle. For a 4 seat car, one way costs $80. 

What if a typhoon hits Halong Bay?

In the worst case scenario, all tourists boats are not authorized to go, travel agents and cruise operators will do their best to ensure you have a good time in Halong city. You will be transferred to a hotel onshore or back to Hanoi. Compensation depends on cruise operators. Some will refund none or a part of your cost, as this is considered a force majeure that is out of their control.

Is one day trip to Halong Bay worthwhile?

Taking time spent on traveling to and from Halong Bay into account, it is not worthwhile to have one day visit. Most tourists tend to plan for at least 2 days. The general comment is the more time you spend on the Bay, the more unforgettable your experience is. One day trip is only for those who are trying to squeeze time. Note that it takes up to 7 hours to and from Halong Bay.

Do tours go to Cat Ba Island?

Most cruise boats do not stop at Cat Ba Island. The Au Co 3 day cruise stops off Cat Ba for either trekking or biking. However you can book a separate trekking tour in the National Park. Price tour can be arranged as your request.

What is the general cost like?

Extra costs for drinks or personal expenses on cruise boats are generally a bit higher in the mainland. Prices in Halong city (if you stay on shore) are a bit expensive. Tourists can buy clothes a little higher than in other places. Meals at small restaurants are popular but visitors should ask for confirmation about service or price of product before using or buying something.

What kind of tourist boats are in use in Halong Bay?

Except for the Au Co and the Emeraude Classic boats which are built of steel, most other tourist boats (or often called junks) are made of timber. Size varies greatly, from a small 1 cabin wooden junk to 30 cabin vessel. There are standard cabins to very luxurious presidential suites. So you can spend as much as $165 for a single standard cabin to $700 for a high quality one. 

Will we get seasick on boat in Halong Bay?

No you will not. There are nearly 2000 rock formations that block waves entering the Halong Bay. The water is very calm and it is like you are cruising on a lake.  However some junks offer unique itineraries to Bai Tu Long Bay or Lan Ha Bay which are affected by open sea. These junks can swing left and right a bit. Once the junk enters the bay surrounded by limestone islands, they become stable again.

Is it safe to stay overnight on junks/boats?

Yes it is safe on overnight junks which often anchor in shallow and wave-less area of the Bay. Safety standards have improved a lot, involving all aspects including technical (fire alarm, anti-sinking alarm), human (training, manual), rescues (life vests, tools, tourist briefing), etc. The authority undertakes careful annual examination of tourist junks. 

Are there life jackets on tourist boats? Will they fit children?

Yes, there are life jackets on junks. This is one requirement for any boat/junk in Halong Bay. Each cabin also has life jackets. There are jackets that fit adults and children. There are also life buoys on board. 

Is there electricity supply on boats?

Yes, there is electricity on board to supply equipment, lighting and personal use. In your cabin, there is socket for computers and mobile phone chargers. Note that the socket is the Vietnamese standard for 220V.  

Where do boats anchor at night?

The authority has set up areas where tourist boats can anchor at night. These areas are often surrounded by islands, and therefore are very calm. 

What do we have to bring with us?

  • Passport
  • Sun cream, insect repellent
  • Swim-suit and changes
  • Good camera with lots of films or memory space

How should I dress when visiting caves?

Caves and grottoes are natural ones, not religious places so wear anything you feel most comfortable. You will have to take some steps up to reach the caves, thus it is better if you wear comfortable walking shoes.

What kind of food is provided on boats?

Most meals are offered with seafood as Halong Bay is abundant with fish, squids and so on. There are brunches and BBQ where you will enjoy not only Vietnamese traditional food but some mixed food. If you are on a diet, or are allergic with seafood, you should inform your meal preference to tour operator some days in advance. Remember that all people to Halong Bay have never complained anything about delicious food on cruise boats!

Does the price include shuttle bus? 

It is different between cruise operators or travel agents. Some of these include a shuttle bus transfer in the quoted price, and therefore the cruise price is a bit higher than others. Some agents separate cruise costs and travel costs. The bottom line is that a seat on a shuttle bus costs you $40-70 for two ways. You will then be picked up or dropped off at your hotel within the Old Quarter.

Which boats offer dinner in a cave?

Several cruise operators have dinners in a cave. The Emeraude Classic and The Dragon Pearl Junk offer unique dinner in a romantic cave setting. Their itineraries are unique in Bai Tu Long bay and the cave is a small hidden one. Most often you will have dinner in a cave for 3 day 2 night cruise only.

Is electricity switched off at night?

It is hard to say yes or no, as it depends on which cruise operator you book from. All reputable operators will not apply this policy that annoys their dear customers. Some complain that the air con in their cabin is switched off and on several times at night to save energy. The reason can be due to technical problem but definitely not due to human intention to save energy. Again book your cruise with reputable operators.

Are there bed bugs?

No there are not. Tourist boats are sprayed bi-monthly to prevent bugs. Mattress is cleaned up on shore to ensure cleanliness and hygiene standard.

Are there sharks in Halong Bay?

There are no sharks in Halong Bay. The water is a calm, shallow place that has no food for sharks. Besides, sharks are often over hunted in Vietnam and are on the verge of extinction. There have been no reports of sharks seen in Halong Bay, so rest assured you are safe!

Is there jerry fish?

Yes there is jerry fish, and it is hard to say when and where this fish are often swimming to. Tourists should double check with the captain to see if the place is safe to swim in.

What if we get lost while kayaking?

Note that your leader is an experienced one, and knows the place, and paddle very well. He can disappear quickly into a rock formation. You should inform him in advance that he needs to pay extra attention to you while kayaking. You will discover that you get lost in rock formations that look quite the same, and do not know the way out. Definitely if you get lost, the leader will turn back and find you!

Is kayaking safe for children?

Yes it is safe for teenagers. All tourists are required to wear life vests before kayaking. Make sure your children can swim too. One kayak boats can sit two adults, so it is best that father and child sit on the same one.

Who should we report scams to and how?

Tourists are encouraged to report scams to the authority at any time in any day.

Mobile: 0913.265.009

Tel: 033.3847347

Fax: 033.3845027

Email: dulichduongdaynong@gmail.com.

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See other travel updates of this destination:

- Tips on Halong Bay Cruises

- One Halong afternoon without you

- Magical moments in Halong Bay

- Reasons to Consider a Halong Bay Cruise

- Halong Bay insight cruise

 

 

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