The following day we had planned a day trip to Ha’long Bay. Although most people go for more than one day, our schedule was pretty tight, so we only had time for a day trip. We used the same company we had used to go to Perfume Pagoda, since that had gone well.
We were a little late starting, since we had to move around the old city picking up various people from different hotels. It took a couple of hours to get to the launch point for the Bay.
The boat ride was pleasant, and the scenery spectacular. And we only collided with a couple of boats as they jostled for position at the quay. We visited some caves (Thien Cung, or Celestial Palace cave, and Dau Go Grotto), which, while not spectacular, were still interesting, and thankfully not quite as ‘developed’ as those we had seen in China at Guillin.
We continued on to a ‘quiet spot’ for an afternoon swim off the boat. Although they had advertised snorkeling as a possible activity, the water was pretty murky. Not dirty, just not clear – at least not
inside the sheltered bay we were in. The lunch they provided was very good. The boat we were on also had some rooms, so I assume they use it for the overnight trips. They looked nice, but we would check into the existence of toilets and showers before doing a multi-day trip.
The one thing that bothered us was that at the end of the trip, we were surprised by a ridiculously high bill for the drinks we’d had: they’d been offered to us throughout the trip in a way that led us all to believe they were included.