On my last day and night in Hanoi I went on a open tour to Halong bay, I had instantly regretted doing one of these tours as I knew it would be dreadful and herding-of-cattle-like. It was also a bad day to visit as the weather was glum, grey and rainy which meant I couldn’t see the beautiful turquoise water I was looking forward to seeing all around me.
There was a sliver lining to my day as I met two incredibly friendly Vietnamese families who insisted I’d join them, which was real sweet.
During the tour, some of us went canoeing to explore some of the enclosed bays in the rain. Event though the weather was pretty awful and rainy, the waters were calm and silent…. I remember getting lost for a moment just staring up at the rocky plateaus in one of the huge coves, face against the rain and thinking how beautiful nature can be at times. This was probably the highlight of the day.
Halong bay was spectacular, even in the rain, but the choice to do a pre-organised tour was a bad move for me and the cave visit to see limestone formations did little to excite me. Nevertheless, I’d like to go back someday on my own to see it on a clear day and spend more than one day in the area.
I chose a one day tour from Hanoi, as I only had the one free day, it was an exhausting 5 hour coach trip there and back so if you only have one day I would recommend that you spend it fully enjoying another activity/place, rather than cramming it in to simply tick it off the list – it deserves a decent 2/3 of your days.