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Halong Bay - Same Day Boat Tours

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We’ll have 2 days at Halong Bay, Vietnam, in February on Millie. On the first day we are looking to do a (same day) boat trip. Can we get such trips from where the ship moors? If not, where do they go from? Would we need to book this beforehand, or are there plenty of people touting for such trips?
Can anyone suggest any operators?

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1 minute ago, Newbury newbie said:

We’ll have 2 days at Halong Bay, Vietnam, in February on Millie. On the first day we are looking to do a (same day) boat trip. Can we get such trips from where the ship moors? If not, where do they go from? Would we need to book this beforehand, or are there plenty of people touting for such trips?
Can anyone suggest any operators?

 

I would start by checking the roll-call thread for your cruise, there are usually many others arranging similar private trips there.

 

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Also recommend that you check with others on your roll call to see if there are any smaller groups renting a junk. Personally would not choose one of the trips with 30 or more passengers - such as offered through Celebrity. 

 

If you are not planning on going to Hanoi on the other day, then I recommend an overnight stay on Ha Long Bay since there is nothing much else to do there.

 

Either way, recommend you book something prior to your arrival.

 

We joined 7 other couples and rented an Indochina Junk for the overnight sail to Bai Tu Long Bay - the more distant, less crowded part of Ha Long Bay. They are an excellent company providing many diverse activities during the cruise and wonderful food & service.

 

Note that the independent sailings leave from a different dock than where the Millennium tenders dock - just a short van drive normally provided by the vendor of the junk cruise.

Edited by NantahalaCruiser

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1 hour ago, Mark_T said:

 

I would start by checking the roll-call thread for your cruise, there are usually many others arranging similar private trips there.

 


I am already part of the roll call for my sailing but that tends to be made up of others, like me, who have never been to Halong Bay. This post was put here to target those who’ve already been there and have first hand ‘done that’ experience.

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1 hour ago, jelayne said:

Also look at the Asia ports of call board.

 

Yes, good point jelayne, I’ll try that thanks.

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23 minutes ago, NantahalaCruiser said:

Also recommend that you check with others on your roll call to see if there are any smaller groups renting a junk. Personally would not choose one of the trips with 30 or more passengers - such as offered through Celebrity. 

 

If you are not planning on going to Hanoi on the other day, then I recommend an overnight stay on Ha Long Bay since there is nothing much else to do there.

 

Either way, recommend you book something prior to your arrival.

 

We joined 7 other couples and rented an Indochina Junk for the overnight sail to Bai Tu Long Bay - the more distant, less crowded part of Ha Long Bay. They are an excellent company providing many diverse activities during the cruise and wonderful food & service.

 

Note that the independent sailings leave from a different dock than where the Millennium tenders dock - just a short van drive normally provided by the vendor of the junk cruise.


Thanks for your experience, but I specifically want a one day boat tour. Also Millennium doesn’t tender these days it docks at Tuan Chau, but I’m unsure just how much is around here. 

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Check out this tour.

 

    Contact: Le Thi Ngoan/ Mrs                    
    travelauthenticasia@gmail.com                    
    ngoan.le@travelauthenticasia.com                    
    Trip Advisor Reviews:                    
                       
                         
   
Our tours pick you up at dock & it is private & can be customized to match your interest & budget.
                   
   
Need a refundable deposit (30%) at 01 month before departure by either Pay Pal or Credit card to firm your booking (see next sheet for payment method). Balance can be paid in USD cash on arrival to our guide.
                   
   
If the ship skips port(s) due to unforeseen circumstances, no fee charge but requires you to inform us 12 hrs. In advance so that we have enough time in advance to release services reserved for your group
                   
   
Tour include: Port fee, transfer, entrance fee, lunch with a local none alcoholic drink, English speaking guide, mineral water in car, tax and service changes.
                   
                         
PROGRAM DETAILS:                    
                         
   
07h00: Ship dock at Halong international cruise port, and use free shuttle to transfer cruisers who book private tours out of the dock to back yard of Cruise passenger station
                   
   
08h00 Meet up with guide  at where shuttle drop you, then transfer to Tuan Chau island sightseeing pier
                   
   
08h40- 09h00:Board your private day junk for Halong bay for cruise briefing. Start scenic cruising on Halong Bay, passing through lots of highlights of the Halong bay, we quickly get away from the tourist crowds to be alone in the middle of the pristine natural landscape among thousands of spectacular limestone islands.
                   
   
Continue cruising to Cong Dam while discovering geological values of Bai Tu Long Bay (less visited part of Halong bay)
                   
   
11h00: Paddle through Vung Vieng fishing village in a rustic row-boat rowed by the local or by kayak rowed yourself
                   
   
(People do not like kayak or boat row, can stay relaxing on board, but it is recommended to take the boat row)
                   
   
11h30 – 12h00: Back to junk for relaxing while cruising to Cong Do area. 
                   
   
Lunch serves on board with the option for vegetarian.
                   
   
14h00: Arrive at Hon Co Island to explore the well-hidden Thien Canh Son cave ( 30 minutes visiting, if you do not like this visit, you can always skip it to do more cruising)
                   
   
15h00: Experience the pleasure of cruising through the bay while our boat takes a different route returning to land.
                   
   
16h30 -16h45 Trip ends at Tuan Chau pier, say goodbye to your crew and return to the boat.
                   
    17h00: Drop off at port                    
                         
                         
   
Notes: Cruise or Itinerary can be changed with prior notice according to the weather or Halong Bay Management permission
                   

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29 minutes ago, Newbury newbie said:


I am already part of the roll call for my sailing but that tends to be made up of others, like me, who have never been to Halong Bay. This post was put here to target those who’ve already been there and have first hand ‘done that’ experience.

 

In that case I'd suggest checking out one of the other roll-calls for this itinerary like the one I'm on for example:

 

 

Plenty of information and ideas there for all of the ports.

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19 hours ago, Mark_T said:

 

In that case I'd suggest checking out one of the other roll-calls for this itinerary like the one I'm on for example:

 

 

Plenty of information and ideas there for all of the ports.


Great advice Mark_T, I’ve spent the last 2 days reading your roll call and got some good info. 

Not long for you now!!

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Indeed, on the final countdown now 🙂

 

Glad you found the information there useful.

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20 hours ago, bubbachief said:

Check out this tour.

 

 

    Contact: Le Thi Ngoan/ Mrs                    
    travelauthenticasia@gmail.com                    
    ngoan.le@travelauthenticasia.com                    
    Trip Advisor Reviews:                    
                       
                         
   
 
                   

 

We used this company through our roll call. We were 14 people in the "junk". Our Millie docked at noon,  and we had an overnight there. We decided not to travel to Hanoi. First day early afternoon we took a taxi to the fish market, and spent there several hours taking our time. Then we took a taxi back to the pier, stopping for a photo op at the new museum -- a very interesting building.

The second day we were picked up at 9AM by this company and traveled to a different dock. We boarded the "junk" for a very enjoyable tour until 4PM (including a very tasty lunch). We were very pleased with our overnight in HB.

BTW, we used this company also for Hue and Saigon, again, through our roll call.

Someone organized also a transfer to Bangkok and we booked a hotel for the night.

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On 11/9/2019 at 5:43 PM, Newbury newbie said:

We’ll have 2 days at Halong Bay, Vietnam, in February on Millie. On the first day we are looking to do a (same day) boat trip. Can we get such trips from where the ship moors? If not, where do they go from? Would we need to book this beforehand, or are there plenty of people touting for such trips?
Can anyone suggest any operators?

 

This is my experience on board the Millie last year at Halong Bay: on the first day, the ship tender dropped us close to the Bai Chay Lighthouse [map]. I booked a private day tour with Mrs. Ngoan from Travel Authentic Asia for a small group of 4 people. We were picked up at that location by our driver and tour guide, who took us to Tuan Chau Harbor [map]. The tour guide rented the junk for our group of 4 people at Tuan Chau Harbor. The main attractions we saw that day were Hon Ga Choi, Sung Sot Cave [map], Halong Pearl Museum [map], Luon Cave and Lake [map], and Ti Top Island [map]. Lunch was included in this full day tour. On the second day, I joined a tour organized by a person in the roll call for a half day tour of the town; the highlight in my opinion was the Quang Ninh Museum [map].

 

I very much enjoyed exploring Halong Bay on the first day in a small group. Having the entire junk for only the four of us was very relaxing. I explicitly asked Mrs. Ngoan to not join our group with others, as I had bad experiences with that problem, especially in India.

 

Mrs. Ngoan from Travel Authentic Asia was not my first choice. I was dealing with a different company, and felt like treated as a bag of money. The straw that broke the camel's back was when they wanted to charge extra to pick us up where the tenders drop us off; if I didn't pay the extra fee, we would have to walk some distance where they would be waiting for us.

 

Here are some photos from our Asia trip [photos].

Edited by tjunmin

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A few years ago, a group on MIllie, arranged the junk tour after our arrival about noon.  Then they went to Hanoi to spend the night, toured Hanoi and returned for departure.  It's a long ride to Hanoi and the overnight at the hotel broke it up.   If you stay at the Hilton, you can claim you stayed at the Hanoi Hilton - a quite nice and relatively inexpensive hotel.  

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When we visited, we took a 1/2 day private boat trip through Halong Bay and then had a driver take us into Hanoi where we stayed overnight at a hotel (we arranged the hotel arrangements).  The guide picked us up the next morning, we toured Hanoi all day and we were driven back to the ship. It worked extremely well.  The price would not have been exorbitant except the night we docked was the first night of the Tet Holiday, so tour guides cost 2x the normal price.  On the other hand, we were smack in the middle of the festivities at our hotel and saw the incredible fireworks....which we would not have seen had we stayed overnight on the ship. 

 

Note...you will actual sail through part of Halong Bay getting to your dock....however the 1/2 day boat trip is worth your time.

 

If my memory serves correctly, we used Smile Tours both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.  

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I hope you find this helpful.  We recently completed a 15-day cruise on Azamara that included an overnight in Ha Long Bay.  

 

We had 9 am on day one and 2 pm departure on day two.

 

The cruise ship dock and the junk dock are a $20 taxi ride apart.  The ride is 23-25 minutes.  However,  I do believe that Paradise cruises moved their dock right next to where the new cruise dock is.  Their shorter day trips go go to Bai Tu Long Bay, which many prefer to Ha Long Bay.  I do believe they do make a trip to Tien Song (Surprise) Cave like the regular Ha Long Bay cruises do.

 

We did the overnight cruise and did take the taxi to Tuan Chau, where the Ha Long Bay cruises begin.

 

We chose Bhaya Premium cruises and it was amazing.  The premium boats have 4 to 7 cabins and are amazing.  The meals, guiding, personal service, were all great.  

 

The following is a summary of our logistics.  

 

The Quest docked at the cruise center around 9 am.  We needed to be at Tuan Chau by 11:45 am.  We walked off the ship a little after 10 am.  By 10:15, we were at the end of the dock in front of the hotel where the taxis are available.  There are regular taxis along with "gypsy" taxis.  They gypsy cabs promise $20 rides and the regular taxis run on meters.  All accept US dollars.  We opted for a metered taxi just to be safe.  The fare was $18 and we left $2 tip.  We were at the Bhaya welcome center by 10:45 am  and they gave us welcome drinks while we waited in their nice air conditioned building for about 45 minutes, also getting instructions.  

 

Bhaya was outstanding.  Our package included drinks with dinner, which was nice too.  We did kayaking, an hour at a beach, the cave and enjoyed the views from our own balcony and the public area on top.  It's an amazing experience.  I would recommend the overnight as their is nothing like the extra time to really relax on Ha Long Bay.  There were three other couples on our boat.  Another was also on the Quest.

 

The ship returns at 10:45 am.  We had Bhaya call our taxi driver from the previous day.   He asked us if he could do the return.  He was there at 11:10.  He had us back at the cruise ship dock by 11:40.  We took the port shuttle to the ship and we were on by 12:10 pm.  I think the Millennium has a 1 pm departure and Bhaya overnight would work well with the Celebrity port schedule, but you would want to book the premium boats and not the larger 22 cabin ones.

 

I hope this helps.  The people who did the day trips with Paradise also enjoyed their day trip.  

 

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We also just returned from an Azamara cruise to SE Asia. We arranged a private 6 hour (from Trip Advisor 4 hour trips don't cover the highlights) on the first day for a group of 10 Pax. it included pick up at the port, transfers to the dock where the Halong Bay ships depart , a good lunch, etc. It was highly rated in Tripadvisor. We used Halongbaytours.com

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29 minutes ago, dabear said:

We also just returned from an Azamara cruise to SE Asia. We arranged a private 6 hour (from Trip Advisor 4 hour trips don't cover the highlights) on the first day for a group of 10 Pax. it included pick up at the port, transfers to the dock where the Halong Bay ships depart , a good lunch, etc. It was highly rated in Tripadvisor. We used Halongbaytours.com


Do you recall how much you paid for this dabear?

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27 minutes ago, Newbury newbie said:


Do you recall how much you paid for this dabear?

$75pp. We had to give a $30 deposit pp & paid the balance at the end of the cruise.

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I’m so new too this posting.  I did sing up for the meet and greet on the ship.  They said we only had 10 people sign up and need 25 to have the party.  Hope we make it too that number.  First time for that. Not fist time sailing but first time posting.  I read your question about boarding the ship in HK. Not sure about Celebrity’s policy,  but when we were in Dubai we were catching a Oceania cruise and we had come in early.  We called the line and told them we would be boarding later as the ship was spending the night also. Had no issues. Now this question might have been answer so forgive me. I’m just trying to hook up with people before our cruise.  We are from Florida my husband and I have taken 40 cruises and many land trips,  He still works but he buys vacation time which allows us 8 weeks a year .  Thank you for bearing with me on this knew adventure of posting.  Sandra & Jim

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To anyone who's been on these Junk boat tours - how much do they charge for a beer or glass of wine on board? In my brother's case this would be the deciding factor in whether to partake or not!!!!!!

 

 

Edited by Newbury newbie

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Phil, Vietnam beer is cheap....but, it has to be very, very cold!.... don't know about wine, I only drink wine on the Ship, because I like my white wine chilled.

Pamela.🍻🍺

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