People mind think you’re crazy when you tell them you spent a few days in Northern Vietnam without doing a Halong Bay cruise. it is at the top of most Vietnam to do lists. But then you juts relax and remember – Let go Lan Ha Bay over Halong Bay and you ll Love it !
But picking the trip is a nightmare as there are almost as many travel agents in Hanoi as there are islands in Cat Ba . Here’s how to make the right choice and have the best time possible.
ALLOW TIME
Don’t do a one-day trip, and if you can avoid it, don’t do half day either. The two-day, one-night option is best, and gives you a chance to really soak in the atmosphere and scenery that makes Lan Ha bay so famous recently for travelers
TIP: EVEN THOUGH LAN HA BAY IS LESS THAN 160KM AWAY, KNOW THAT IT WILL TAKE AT LEAST 4 HOURS TO GET TO
You can pick any bus companies ” Cat Ba Express , Daichi , Good moring cat ba….etc..” from Old Quarter to drop you at Cat Ba island after 4 hours .Is was 18 Apr,2018 – after 2 hours checked online how to get to cat ba ? We ” my girl friend and me ” put our whole Cat Ba Island trip together with Cat Ba Express. Bus out of Hanoi,(nice bus) transfer to the hydrofoil bus on Cat Ba and then pick up and transfer back to Hanoi. They do it all right just the way it should be done .
Our team on that day with Cat Ba Express
ALIGN ON BUDGET
Don’t kill your budget for Cat Ba- Lan ha bay, but don’t be a cheapskate. There re some local tour operator that i highly recommended such as for classic tour ” Cat Ba Express, Cat Ba Vision, Cat Ba green trail …”if you want to challenge your self with some adventure activities like Hiking, rock climbing, deep water solo ” you can go for Asia Outdoor or CatBa climbing… They all on top of local TripAdvisor. Otherwise You could purchase a Two day tour for $65, but know that everything—the boat, the food, the staff—will be mediocre. If that’s all you can spend, fine. But a good rule of thumb is to align your LanHa Bay trip with your typical budget and round up a bit. For us, that’s $35/day/person in Apr. For our trip, we spent closer to $37/person, although we later realized that other people on our boat had bought the same trip for about $26/day. That got us a good boat, plenty of time on the water, and food that included grilled oysters and clam chowder.

TIP: DON’T BE CONNED INTO SPENDING MORE BY PICTURES OF WOODEN BOATS WITH BEAUTIFUL SAILS

I was lucky to see this Chinese junk with Sails
All the boats are now white, most don’t have sails, and the vast majority (in the <$50/day category) follow the mostly same route. . then

View from a cave out to Lan Ha Bay
If you book for whole tour from Ha Noi The total cost should include all transfers from Hanoi, all meals, appropriate length of accommodation, and all activities and entry fees. The only thing you should need to pay extra for is drinks. ” its quite expensive than normal “

PICK YOUR ACTIVITIES
The one must that your tour should provide is free kayaking. This is, rightfully, almost everyone’s favorite activity as it allows you to freely explore the caves and grottos carved out by the water. We kayaked into the “Dark , Bright Caves,” which was featured in Kongskull island , and then spent another hour just exploring the various nooks within the rocks.

Bright Cave
If you want a more adventurous trip, opt for a one-night on boat, one-night on island package. That way you can do some trekking and additional kayaking in a different bay.

Navy Pick – Cat Hai Village
If you want a more relaxing trip, opt for two nights on the boat. I actually wish we had done that, because all the transfers on the second day take a while and kill the atmosphere a bit.
When night is upon us, you will have the opportunity to snorkel with the amazing bio-luminescent plankton. See the incredible underwater light show, right in front of your eyes! Jump off the boat and watch the colors of the water shimmer and dance! Shimmy

your body glowin’ under water, the deeper you dive the more you see
DO YOUR RESEARCH
This is the hardest part when it comes to choosing the Lan Ha Bay trip right for you. Even if you know your budget, how do you know you’re not getting put on that $55 boat and paying $100 instead?

The truth is you don’t, but the best thing you can do is ask as many questions as possible.

TIP: The most important question to ask the travel agent is, “What is the name of the cruise company?”

If they won’t give it to you, walk away. If they share it, get on the internet and do some digging. (FYI, that $55 cruise has less than a 1-star rating on TripAdvisor.) If you like what you see, haggle the price down a bit. If you don’t, move on to the next agent.

Unfortunately, there’s almost no way to book directly with the tour provider, so you’ll have to use a mix of intuition, internet searches, and other travelers to make your choice. The travelers who got the best deal on our boad used by Cat Ba Express

MORE LAN HA BAY TOUR | CHECK OUT MY PHOTO’S ALBUM AND VIDEOS
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