The New Open World organization has recently declared Halong Bay Vietnam as one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature, the vote has drawn hundreds of millions from all over the world, with it’s astounding beauty, Halong Bay deserves the title as a heaven on earth.
Lying in the border between Vietnam and China, Halong Bay has long been in the list of most worth visiting places in Vietnam, in 1980s, when relations between Vietnam and China was not smooth, only tourists from Eastern European countries could visit Halong bay, up until mid 1990s the number of visitors coming to Halong Bay soared drastically. Halong bay cruises at that time were pretty confused, most boats were small and lacked safety equipments and Halong Bay tours were limited to a few hours boat ride in the areas close to shore, no matter how much money you had, all travellers were on the same boat, and visitors were bothered by local vendors selling souvenirs, the first tour company running trips to Halong Bay was Queen cafe, located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, at that time travellers had to fight for a ticket to travel Halong Bay, after 5 hours groping on bumpy roads from Hanoi, the bus packed with travellers arrived in Halong city, afer lunch at a restaurant they had to push their way to get on boat. On rainy days when the weather was bad it was really a risk to sit on a small boat with 30-40 people. Over a few years the organizations got better and came into order, there were many more travel agents running Halong Bay tours for big and small groups, for families and even private chartered boats for couples going on honeymoons
Huong Hai was on of the first companies offering Halong bay cruises with overnight on boat in the deluxe standards, actually some tour operators had opened this before however their night boats were rather simple, even dirty, there were no electricity or air conditioning and the “rooms” were under the boat floor with lots of cockroaches and rats, with the appearance of high standard cruisers these old boats were no longer used by the travel companies. Today visitors going on Halong bay overnight tours tend to spend the night on boats instead of a hotel, the boats were called “junks” and built in Chinese style as a wooden floating hotels, safety equipments are provided, the staff are professionally trained, some boats have luxury standards of a 5 STAR HOTEL
To have a 2 or 3 day tour to Halong Bay it cost about 90-100 usd per person for standard boats, cheaper tourists travelling on budget tours can book their tours at a travel desk in the Old Quarter at the cost of 40-50 usd, travellers prefer high quality can book their trips online at the cost of 200 – 300 usd depending on boat level. You get what you pay for after all…