How to Get to Halong Bay
You can take a 3-hour tour bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay, which will take you straight to your cruise ship, or, do as we did and stay one night in Halong City first. We chose to stay the night in Halong City because we wanted to climb Bai Tho Mountain for the amazing view of the bay before going on our overnight cruise.
To stay one night in Halong City before embarking on your cruise, make arrangements with your cruise tour operator. Our tour bus dropped us off at a taxi point. Expect to pay between 200.000 – 300.000, depending on where you’re staying. We were quoted 400.000 by a driver unwilling to use the meter but he eventually agreed to 200.000 to take us to the Wyndham Legend Halong Hotel.
Where to Eat in Halong Bay
The Wander Station is a double story café that was our ideal air-conditioned haven after our climb up Bai Tho Mountain. You can get an artisan coffee there, a choice of dishes, and some very refreshing gin & tonic drinks.
If you’re looking for something lighter, or just a sweet snack after dinner, head to Tiệm Bánh Crepe for some crepes (10k – 20k). The ham and cheese crepe was delicious, as was the simple strawberry jam crepe, which was probably a better diet friendly late evening snack. The staff actually went out and got in the required ingredients (jam) to specially make my crepe rather than just tell me they were out. A cheap rewarding treat after the climb up Bai Tho Mountain.
Things to do In Halong Bay
Go On An Overnight Cruise
Sleeping out on a boat in a mystical place reminiscent of a dragon’s nest is one of the top things to do in Vietnam. With over a thousand islands clustered together within the enchanted Halong Bay, this natural eighth wonder of the world is quite unlike anywhere you’ll have been before.
A number of Halong Bay cruise operators are all waiting to show you the UNESCO Heritage site, so you’ll want to select one who offers an itinerary showcasing the best of Halong Bay in the time that you have. Click here to read my blog post of the one night Halong Bay cruise that we were on.
Climb Bo Thai Mountain
Secret passageways (dramatic exaggeration) and heavenly views (no exaggeration) await you if you decide to undertake an adventurous hike up Bo Thai Mountain. You can learn how to reach the top of Bo Thai Mountain by clicking here to my blog post.
Where to Stay in Halong Bay
We stayed at Wyndham Legend Halong Hotel, which is located on Halong Road just across the Bãi Cháy Bridge from Halong Bay city.
We only slept one night at the Wyndham Legend Halong Hotel and didn’t try out any of the facilities or restaurants but the 5-star hotel was very nice and friendly. They upgraded us to their Junior Suite, which was an extremely large and comfortable corner room with beautiful views of the colourfully lit cable bridge and harbour at night.
The hotel is 2km away from city centre, which I found a little far away considering I had limited time in Halong Bay. The only way to get to Halong City was via the traffic bridge, which required a taxi and each journey cost approx. 100.000. So, if location is important to you, look for somewhere within city centre like the DC Hotel.
If you’re looking for a luxurious city hotel to relax in while visiting Halong Bay, then I can certainly recommend the Wyndham Legend Halong Hotel.