We did experience the beautiful Ha Long Bay in 2016, however, we were called back after just 1 1/2 day due to thunderstorms. So we always wanted to come back.
Ha Long Bay is the biggest tourist attraction in Vietnam and more than 10 million people visited this bay last year alone. It is the most popular destination for a reason, and it is absolutely unique and stunning. That being said, we were so disappointed to visit this year. There was so much garbage everywhere. It was heartbreaking to see. And it was impossible to ignore, which “killed” the beauty of the trip for us, unfortunately. We don’t know why it is being cleaned up, after all the bay is UNESCO protected.
We were on a different cruise than last time, and it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t too good either. We still would recommend the Indochina Junk cruise any day. We had two cabins right next to each other and this time we also got to have a day at the biggest island in the bay, Cat Ba. Agnes and I, we bicycled across (baby Ellen, Bjoern and Dagmar went by electrical car), drank snake wine, had a fish spa and, on the way back to the cruise ship, was able to find a nice clean spot in the bay to go for a swim.
Until there is found a way to deal with all the tourists and boats and garbage, it’s probably not a good idea to go. But I would say a stay at Cat Ba (so many hotels has been build on the island now), would be nice for a couple of night to enjoy the view of the bay. The bay is still beautiful and to sail through the thousands of lime stones. (If you don’t have or see the garbage) is really an amazing experience.
Be mindful of the season, the locates of the bay has four seasons, and three of those has “tricky weather” for cruises. The first time we went, thunderstorms were coming and now the second time we couldn’t see anything the first 1 1/2 because of heavy fog…