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Ha Long Bay-Cruise or go to Cat Ba and take a day trip?

New York
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Ha Long Bay-Cruise or go to Cat Ba and take a day trip?


We are planning a trip to Vietnam in July. We would very much like to visit Ha Long Bay. We are interested in photography. My wife likes to paint. Here are our questions:

1. Will it be O.K in July?

2. Should we go to Cat Ba and next day take a Day Long Cruise or go for 2 Day/1 Night cruise from Ha Long?

3. What is the difference between different cuise offerings? I hear a lot about Santa Maria and Hanspan.

We would greatly appreciate any help.

los angeles
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1. Re: Ha Long Bay-Cruise or go to Cat Ba and take a day trip?


we haven't actually taken our trip yet, so i can only tell you what i've found from my research. We are going end of June and know it will be hot and could possibly rain.

If you do searches under the names of the various junks you will find many threads that talk about the different options.

We are doing one night with kayaking. The Santa Maria has had many good reviews and can be booked directly with Columbus Travel. The Lagoon Explorer 2 also has good reviews and can be booked directly with that company. Also, agents in Vietnam book these trips. As I understand it, the Lagoon Explorer 2 and Santa Maria have kayaking included, but i could be mistaken.

We have been looking at slightly "higher end" junks -- the Ginger, Bhaya and Valentine. These have all been reviewed extensively on this forum and you can find those threads through a word search. They charge extra for kayaking.

If I remember correctly, the Ginger has 10 cabins, the Bhaya has 20 and the Valentine has 5.

After all this research, i still haven't decided which one to take -- and i've been watching these boards and researching since October!

Would love to hear more input from anyone reading this thread!

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2. Re: Ha Long Bay-Cruise or go to Cat Ba and take a day trip?

I was in the Cat Ba Island 4 years ago and 3 years ago. It was not much to see because when you get there its already late in the afternoon. My choice is to go for one day from Ha Noi, 3 - 4 hours in Ha Long Bay is enough unless you get get someone to take you to some special caves (not Sung Sot Cave that looks like Disney Land :((((). Do not get me wrong, Ha Long Bay is beautiful but dealing with hackers is a big problem. I guess if you take a very expensive tour to Ha LOng, you will get what you pay for it. July in VN is not a great time to travel because of the rainy season compare to Jan-May in VN.

Have fun in VN,


3. Re: Ha Long Bay-Cruise or go to Cat Ba and take a day trip?

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