These photos do not even begin to give this place justice. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Halong Bay, Vietnam is one of the most beautiful places I have traveled to. I could’ve spent hours on our boat just taking in the breathtaking view. After a bit of a bumpy drive from Hanoi (the road between Hanoi and Halong Bay is currently under construction in preparation for more tourists, a good and bad thing for the bay), I spent a night on a boat floating through the bay. I was able to explore a cave inside some of the limestone islet, kayaked around the floating village, and enjoyed the gorgeous sunset and sunrise.
I arranged my Halong Bay tour on arrival in Hanoi through my hotel. I had heard the recommendation was not to go too cheap on the tours. There have been some safety issues with some of the boats in the past. The hotel let me store my larger bag and I took only a small bag with me on the boat.
I did a two night, three day tour and I think it was perfect amount of time. We kayaked through the floating village, stopped to explore a cave, and took a cooking class on board. It was a little too cold while I was there (January) but in warmer months they stop for some sunning time ashore. We were never hungry and in the evenings they had special happy hour drink specials (alcohol was not included in the price).