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Halong Bay is located in the Gulf of Tonkin in the North of Vietnam. In the entire area of Halong Bay is about 1,500 km2 with nearly 2000 limestone islands and islets of different sizes and shapes. Halong Bay has twice been named as one of the World’s Heritage Sites. Processing such naturally majestic landscapes, Halong Bay is a hot destination for both domestic and international tourists. Of all the ways to discover Halong Bay, cruising is the most common and favorite one. A Halong Cruise takes tourists far into the middle of the bay, to isolated islands, islets, and caves.

Additionally, staying overnight on a Halong cruise enjoying the nightlife atmosphere, looking at the sparkling city from far, and admiring the beautiful sunrise early in the morning is an incredibly wonderful experience. To serve the high demand of visitors, most companies, hotels, and travel agencies sell Halong Cruise tours. It is beneficial for tourists as they can make a choice. However, because of the big number of Halong cruises offered, they may probably get overwhelmed and confused which one to choose. If you are in such a situation, read this article about steps to choose a Halong Cruise. Then, when you are on the Halong Cruise, there is still something you need to know to be safe and have a wonderful journey on your Halong Cruise.

1. Activities during the Halong cruise journey

Halong Cruise
Source: Vivutravel

The activities and itineraries vary from different Halong Cruises. However, some most popular activities are usually included. Right on the Halong Cruise, there are activities like cooking classes, Tai Chi morning exercises, karaoke, or sunset party, cave boating, squid fishing. Besides, during the cruise tour on Halong Bay, you will probably be transferred to a smaller boat to discover all the isolated corners of Halong Bay easily through activities like kayaking or boating, visiting caves, visiting local fishing villages, and trekking on islands. Keep in mind that you are able to choose which activities you would like to get involved in. If you are not keen on kayaking, swimming, or trekking, you can just stay on the cruise and relax. So, all you need to do is to make your own decision and confirm with the staff on your Halong Cruise so that they can arrange you to disembark on time if necessary. If you have any difficulties choosing the suitable activities, just ask the staff on your Halong Cruise. They are always available to serve you and answer your questions.

Normally, what activities you should choose depends on weather conditions, your own interest, and physical health. There are some strong activities requiring good physical strengths like kayaking, hard trekking around Cat Ba Island, and climbing up Titov Island. Therefore, it is of great importance that you should understand your body well. If you don’t feel good, we recommend you to stay on your Halong Cruise or join in easier activities like visiting pear farms and fishing villages. For old travelers, you had better not join in these hard activities. Never underestimate your safety.

One more important thing is that you have to prepare all the necessary gears or facilities required for each activity during your Halong Cruise tour. Things you need to prepare are sun cream, water, soft and comfortable shoes, hat, glasses, light jacket, insect repellent,… They are very important to you. You can not go trekking or hiking without good shoes. You may get burnt by the strong sun. Many other situations may happen and annoy you if you don’t have enough gears besides. Definitely, these things should be prepared before you get on the Halong Cruise and start your trip. However, as mentioned above, during the tour, you will be transferred to smaller boats to discover the area. There is a chance that you may leave these stuff on the Halong Cruise. Therefore, we would recommend that you put all these small but essential stuff in a small and light bag so that you can always bring it along with you.
Thêm đoạn: Bring the active gear.. (đoạn này không rõ content sửa xong chưa)

2. Following your tour guide strictly while on the Halong cruise tour

Halong Cruise
Source: massie bros

The essential thing you must keep in mind is following all the guidelines and rules of your tour guide and staff from your Halong Cruise about time and route limitation, and required facilities.

Firstly, Halong Bay is a huge and complicated area, and importantly, it’s strange to you. There are some particularly deep areas, some areas with strong wind, strong waves, and tide. In some other areas, due to the strong and odd currents, like the entrance of caves, especially Dark Cave, the water is weird and unpredictable, and tourists may be sucked in the cave. Situations like this did happen before and are very dangerous. While the place is new to you, your tour guide or staff from your Halong Cruise know it well. Therefore, listen and follow strictly what they say like not going to dangerous areas, going in groups, keeping an appropriate distance from other, getting all required facilities (such as a light jacket). Even if you are experienced swimmers, don’t underestimate the importance of light jackets. These rules are all for the safety of you. 

Secondly, as one of the most well-known tourist destinations in Vietnam, Halong Bay is very crowded. Then, if you are not following your tour guide and your group strictly, you are likely to get lost. Whenever you want to leave the group for a while, don’t forget to notice your tour guide.

3. How to budget your Halong cruise tour

Halong Cruise
Source: Wanderlust Storytellers

Firstly, if you book an organized tour from Hanoi, this is an effective way to manage your expenses as most of the activities, meals, transportations, tour guide, and insurance are included in the Halong cruise tour price. Therefore, you are not likely to have to pay any extra money except some small personal expenses. So, what you need to do is researching and choosing a Halong Cruise within the price range that fits you with all your expected activities, and of course, you do it before departing.

On the contrary, if you don’t book such an organized tour, you can still take a Halong Cruise. You can get to Halong City by bus or motorbike, then go to the dock, negotiate the price, and book a cruise tour to Halong Bay. Booking in this way is cheaper than booking a package from Hanoi. However, the price doesn’t include food and drink during your Halong Cruise Company. If you want to use food or drink on the cruise, you will probably end up paying much more money than usual. Therefore, if you don’t book an organized Halong Cruise tour, the way you can budget your travel is preparing your own water and food so that you don’t have to buy it on the cruise at an expensive price.

Another thing that can help you save up money is sharing the cabin on the Halong Cruise with another passenger (probably a stranger if you travel alone). Otherwise, you would have to cover the price of the whole cabin which is supposed to serve at least two people.

4. Foods and drinks 

Halong Cruise
Source: Vietnam Travel Group

Firstly, normally, the price of the Halong Cruise you pay should include all your meals on the cruise including breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Besides, in your cabin, they often provide some water, fruits, and cake. However, we can’t guarantee for sure whether they are included or not, and if not, how much they cost. Therefore, check it out clearly by asking the staff on the Halong Cruise directly before using those stuff. Otherwise, you may have to pay a large amount of extra money.

Secondly, keep in mind that you will probably have to pay extra money for the Halong Cruise if you want to bring your own food or drink on the cruise. So, unless they are essential, you shouldn’t bring any outside foods and drinks to the cruise as your all meals during the cruise tour on Halong Bay are included.

Thirdly, the popular dishes offered on a Halong Cruise are certainly fish and seafood. They are tasty, but not good for those who are vegetarians or have an allergy to seafood. If you are one of them, you should inform the tour operator or travel agent right when you book the Halong Cruise tour. In case you forget, just tell the staff on the cruise as soon as possible, and they will prepare for you something better. Importantly, remember that the Halong Cruise will not take responsibility for any kinds of foods not offered by the cruise itself. Therefore, be careful if you want to try something new.

5. Protecting your belongings on Halong cruise

Halong Cruise
Source: Petrotimes

On your Halong Cruise, there are about over 20 passengers who you have met for the first time. So, the situation is a bit complicated. You should be careful enough to protect your own personal properties. Don’t leave your wallet or your phone on the table without having an eye on it. Don’t forget to wrap your belongings before leaving or transferring to another boat. This notice is even more important if you are sharing your cabin with another person on the Halong Cruise. We are not encouraging you to be suspicious over everything and everyone. You still need to be open to talk and make friends in order to have a wonderful journey. All you need is a little carefulness.

Above are 5 essential guidelines for you when you are on a Halong Cruise. Hope you a wonderful time traveling on Halong Bay, Vietnam!


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I've spent more than 5 years setting foot on every corners of my beloved country - Vietnam as well as many other countries in Asia. Then, I realized that traveling not only binds us together but helps us to connect with ourselves. Traveling helps me to discover the real me and makes me become a better version. Traveling teaches me how to be patient when I got stuck in traffic jam and be flexible when getting lost in Far North Vietnam. Traveling makes me fall in love with learning, from the museums and galleries, café corners to the late-night conversion with the locals. Traveling helps me to realize how small I am every time when I stood in front of the vast ocean and when I drove along the stunning mountain pass. Traveling also reminds me of “give and take", which was the reason why I joined Journey On Air. With many other experienced wanderlusters of Journey On Air Team, we would love to help you plan a fantastic trip to Vietnam as well as other destinations in Southeast Asia.

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