Stunning scenery and stunningly incompetent tour guides!

Halong Bay Travel Blog

 › entry 55 of 96 › view all entries


We got up at 6.30am for our “organised” tour of Halong bay for 3 days and two nights.We arrived at the boat dock and boarded a junk at around midday, we had a relatively shit lunch and then headed out for a sail.

First stop was a set of caves which were midly impressive due to lighting in there.Someone made the comment that it would of made a good night club, they were right.

Then we dropped off half our tour group on Cat Ba island before heading off for a cruise round the astonishing Halong bay. The scenery is easily among some of the best I have ever seen, and chugging along on the boat was a great way of experiencing it.They tried to get to go to another cave but no-one wanted to.

In the early evening the boat stopped somewhere and anchored up, and then we all went swimming at dusk, another great experience.But after about 5 minutes my ribs were throbbing and I was forced to stop.

Then we had dinner and just chilled out on the boat for the next few hours talking and drinking.


A wake up knock from the crew at 6am so everyone could go kayaking was enough to wake me up,even though I wouldn’t go because of my ribs.But I managed to stay in bed longer.Woohoo.

Then we headed to Cat Ba island and all the fun began, the tour guide greeted us at the dock and told us that we didn’t have a room on the island, so we would have to go 4 to a double bed.This obviously caused everyone to kick off.

What made me laugh is that he tried to blame us for booking to go on the weekend.

Cunt. I explained that usually when someone makes a booking you book the trip they intend on doing. He claimed it wasn’t his fault there were no beds, but could not comprehend the simple fact that he shouldn’t of taken the bookings as he should of known better.

Then we went on a pointless 2 hour trek, which wasn’t far off rock climbing, where I slipped and sliced my knee open.Very annoying. Then we finally got to Cat Ba town and were all made to wait for two hours in a hotel foyer. They told us to have lunch first but everyone was hot and sweaty and a little bit pissed off.

What made things worse was they told us rooms would actually be ready for us after lunch, but guess what. A bus full of Vietnamese turned up and were shown rooms straight away. Then it started kicking off and all the westerners got pissed off with the treatment we were receiving.

One Australian girl went ballistic and was screaming at the tour guide to start sorting us out some fucking rooms. He just stood there like a complete idiot and ignored and laughed at us.

Usually this is the sort of thing I would get annoyed about but I sat there and let it all go over my head, ive been in south east asia too long to let this shit affect me and I had too many people kicking off for me. And I was expecting this sort of thing to happen from day 1 in Vietnam thanks to warnings from fellow travbuddys.So I just rode the storm.

Finally 11 of us got taken to a hairdressers and shown rooms where we would have to share a slightly big single bed for two people.So we kicked off some more. They claimed to only have 3 rooms but after investigating some more the girls found more rooms upstairs and we ended up getting our room.

Finally, but what a joke of a set up!

After managing to get a wash finally we headed down to the strip of Cat Ba town which is actually like Benidorm or somewhere like that. We had some Bia Hoi then walked up the promenade. On the way we saw the Australian girls and they still didn’t have a room.Shit!

While on the promenade we looked in the water and saw lots of nice things like condoms, used sanitary towels, dead rats and a dead dog. I certainly wont be swimming in the water round here.

Later in the evening we got a big group of us together and went to the harbour side for some Bia Hoi. This is when we got a front row seat to watch some Vietnamese guys fighting with each other and then the police. I felt like I was back in England. What idiots!


I woke up early and found that I had been eaten alive by bed bugs which pissed me off slightly more than I already was.

Then we went for an awful breakfast of rubber flavoured pancakes then got taken to the dock where we had to wait around for ages to board a boat back to the mainland.While waiting we bought some Sour cream Pringles but when we opened them they were original….gutted!

Finally back on the boat we enjoyed some relative calm whilst heading back to the mainland. A shame really we couldn’t of stayed on the boat the whole time.It was a much better way to see halong bay.

Back on the mainland we were taken for an awful lunch before heading back to Hanoi. There was another farce with the buses back and they were overcrowded and people complained, only in true Vietnamese fashion the people said ‘get on or you wont get back to Hanoi”, utter dicks.

On the plus side our bus was stopped by the traffic police and charged 500,000 dong for being overcrowded.making everyone else a lot happier.

Back in Hanoi we got a nice room and had a good wash, then I watch Jenson Button continue to dominate the Formula one.

lovely_lori88 says:
ok now thinking the $85 wasn't soo bad...ahh that sounds shit. sorry to hear about that!
Posted on: Jun 17, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Halong Bay
photo by: miggitymax