Ha Long Bay Tour With Vega Travel
The first challenge you’ll inevitably face when visiting Ha Long Bay is the absolutely overwhelming array of choice. There must be more than a hundred tours to choose from, all with different routes and duration. We found Vega Travel as they were recommended by The Independent which is a reputable source and they offered a single day tour.
Vega Travel offer a private 6-hour trip with 2-hour return transfer from any hotel in Hanoi at a cost of $195 USD per person. This seemed good value for a private day-long tour, especially in comparison to others we’d seen and that’s originally why we picked them.
On the day, we were picked up at 9.30 AM by the tour guide and driver. We arrived in Ha Long Bay at half 11 to embark on our private boat, immediately presented with a delicious homemade buffet of Vietnamese food including prawns, clams, rice, spring rolls and chips.
We visited in Spring so weather conditions were typically foggy which decreased visibility but gave Ha Long Bay a dramatic feel as the impressive green peaks appeared from a heavy silver mist. We were able to see the bay from the front of the boat which gave us breathtaking, uninterrupted views of the bay – ideal for keen photographers.
Our tour guide was speaking perfect English and excellently explained the history of the area and the tale of dragons which gave Ha Long Bay its name. She spoke with enthusiasm and it made our experience that much richer.
The first stop we visited was the largest cave in Ha Long Bay – Sung Sot also named the surprise cave which is definitely worth a visit as it’s a UNESCO declared world heritage site.
After that, we went kayaking in a large lagoon which was so much fun! It was our first time on kayaks but our guide explained clearly and we were soon finding it easy. She helped us spot a Macaque perched on some nearby limestone rocks. We brought bananas in advance which was a great tip from the guide as we used these to tempt the monkey over for a photoshoot. We ended the trip relaxing at Titop island which was a welcome rest after our activities.
We have to give our guide big credits as we were massively jet lagged after flying across six time zones to Hanoi. She not only offered to tailor our trip to a more ‘low-energy required’ approach but took us past a pharmacy on the way back to pick up sleeping pills! She was extremely enthusiastic and excited about sharing the bay’s stories and she made the day extremely fun.
We highly recommend paying the extra for a private tour like this. We saw many large group tours which can still cost up to $100 USD per person. Privately, we had a rich, intimate experience of Ha Long Bay which will love long in our memories.
What to pack for your trip
Raincoat if the weather isn’t good
Waterproof shoes or flip flops (for kayaking)
The bottom line
If you’re planning to go to Ha Long Bay, you’ll have the option of a day tour or a 2 or 3 day-cruise. We did not feel like we missed out staying only for a day but if you like the idea of staying longer and fully explore the bay, Vega Travel also offers this option.
Ha Long Bay is not a place you’ll want to miss if you travel to Vietnam. Yes, it can get packed with tourists but it’s too stunning to be missed and 100% worth the money.