Hey you guys, Phoebe here from Little Grey Box

Are you planning a trip to Halong Bay?

If you are, here are a few things I think you really need to know before you go

Before I started planning my trip

I was really overwhelmed because so many people told me it was touristy and crowded

Halong Bay is a popular destination but I think that's for really good reason

I've never been anywhere else quite like it and it is absolutely beautiful

You will see lots of other tourists of course

but for the most part, you're on your boat and they're on theirs

you might see them when you get off but it's really no big deal and at night

all those other junk ships come alive with beautiful colours

from the lights that they all put on and it looks amazing

Matt and I visited twice in October and both times we've experienced a typhoon

but both times we've been told that was really out of character for that time of year

October and November are a great time of year to visit

You might find that there are more tropical storms

from May to September, but I wouldn't really let that put you off

They say that February through to April is a little bit cooler

but it can be a little bit drizzly and foggy

I would just say when you're booking make sure that your company has some kind

of a cancellation or refund policy so if your cruise

is cancelled due to bad weather you don't lose your money

The journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay is about 180 kilometres and in my experience

it takes around 3.5 to 4 hours to get there

Now each time we've done it

the transfer has been included in the cost of the booking

typically we have been picked up from our hotel

at around 7:30am and arrive in Halong Bay about 11:30am.

On the way back, we leave about 12:00pm from the port and

get back to Hanoi around 4:00pm

One thing I would recommend is to pack some headphones

if you can so you can listen to some music

to make the time pass cause there is likely no entertainment on your bus

if you have something like Netflix

I would download some of your favourite shows and watch those as you go along

just to make it a little easier

I am one of those people that always get boat sick

so I was really worried about Halong Bay

and I was nervous that if I started throwing up

it would just ruin my entire trip

...but here's the thing

it is flat, there are no waves there's none of this motion or anything like that

I didn't so much as get a whisper of an upset tummy

if you are worried, of course, pack some ginger tablets

or some sea sickness tablets

but I would be really surprised if you needed them

So you may be thinking what the heck am I going to do when I get out there?

Just sit on the boat and stare off into the distance for three days?

Luckily the cruise ships have plenty of activities organised

and they're optional, so if you do just want to sit on the deck for three days

you're more than welcome to

The kind of excursions that I've experienced are things like

kayaking, visiting a floating village

there was a pearl farm, we explored a few caves, there was a beach trip

you could go up to the top of the mountain for amazing views

on one tour we hopped onto a smaller boat and went out for the day

and we were jumping off the boat, swimming stand up paddle boarding, it was so much fun

We also had some great experiences with Karaoke and amazing live music

so it's really really fun

and if you are up for it you are going to get to meet

some really interesting people from all over the world

But if you're an introvert, you can just spend the whole time in your room

It's your holiday

Typically you'll find cruises offer two options you can do 2 days, 1-night which is the most popular

or 3 days, 2 nights

Matt and I have done both and I have to say I really recommend you do the 3 days, 2 nights

if you have the time When we did the 3 day, 2 night cruise

we saw people who were getting off the 2-day, 1-night cruise

so they all got off the boat and we stayed on

and I just remember thinking

that was not enough time

that extra day that we got we saw so many more things

and it felt like we had a real Halong Bay experience

and for the amount of time that it takes to get out there and back

4 hours each way...

2 days's just not enough time

Matt and I have done it both ways When we were booking the trip ourselves as

part of our honeymoon we didn't have a really big budget to work with

so we went with something budget, but not super budget

and we had a great time, it was really nice

recently for a work trip, we got to do the luxury version

and I have to say... it was phenomenal

I would recommend booking the best cruise

that you can within your budget I've heard some horror experiences of people

who have gone really really low budget and had a terrible time

and that's just not what you need when you're over there having a great holiday

of course, if you don't have the budget to go luxury

I totally understand the difference between the luxe and the less

for me was really in the detail

I mean the room was bigger, the bed was really comfortable

the shower worked, the air-conditioning worked food was amazing, there was more entertainment

it was just a classier experience but, then again there was really nothing wrong

with the less option either

When I first starting researching our cruise

I was really overwhelmed There are so many companies out there

and a lot of them don't have the most reliable looking websites

and not only that but all the reviews are really mixed

and every time I found a company I thought I liked

people had just given it terrible reviews and it really turned me off

In the end, I turned to some of my friends for their recommendations

and that's how we found our first budget cruise so here's what I would say

don't let online reviews totally cloud your judgement

a lot of the time people tend to be more motivated to write a review when they had a bad experience

than when they had a good one so it may not be a true reflection of that

company's actual reputation I think it's important just to look for a

cruise company that fits within your budget

has some activities that you're interested in

goes to the places you want to go to seems like it has some good food

includes a transfer has a cancellation policy in case there is

some bad weather and, has a seemingly good reputation

just remember you are never going to find a cruise company with a 10/10 perfect reputation

at the end of the day, go with your gut instinct that's what we did and our first budget cruise was fantastic

Now look what you pack is also going to depend

on whether you are going luxe or less when we were on the fancy boat I felt like

I should be a little more dressed up for dinner and stuff

so I would just put on a nice dress nothing too crazy no heels or anything like that

with the budget cruise, I was just shorts

and t-shirts the whole time it was super comfortable, super laid back

either way, you are going to need some clothes that are light and breathable

shorts, cotton skirts, little dresses, that kind of thing

we wore our swimwear a lot as we were on and off the boat

just some gear that dries kind of quickly is perfect

that you can pull over your wet swimmers of course, I would recommend that you bring

sunscreen and a hat, mosquito repellant of course

and in terms of footwear, I was fine in flats, sandals, flip flops

if you want you can bring some sneakers but you probably won't need them

it was lovely and warm when we visited so I never felt the need to have anything like

a jumper it was just the perfect temperature

Matt and I are both vegetarians and we had no problem whatsoever

there was plenty of food for us to choose from

and when I spoke to the people that run the cruise company

they said to me they cater for a whole range of dietary requirements and food preferences

I would just recommend checking with the company before you book and then reminding them a

few times before you get there

I've done two experiences, luxe and less

for the luxe option, we went with Paradise Elegance Cruises

Now these guys were my dream cruise company when I was first researching our honeymoon

and had to go with the budget option so I was really excited to get to experience it myself

it was just phenomenal honestly it was phenomenal

the ship was beautiful, the staff were incredible the food was so, so good

I loved, loved, loved it

For the budget option, we went with Paloma Cruise

and I really can't say anything about it,

it was fine, there were no issues with safety, the food was great

the service was lovely, they were just really

wonderful people. We made the extra effort and paid a little bit more

to get a room with its own balcony and I would really recommend you do that

cause I saw the rooms without and they were teeny tiny

But again, if that's what your budget can afford

you're still going to have a good time

Everything on board the Paloma was great, the people were lovely

it's just if you can afford it, I would go with the luxe option

because it's so special and we just had the most memorable experience

But like i keep saying, if that's not what your budget allows

that's totally cool, Paloma or something similar will do you well

Thank you so much for watching I hope you found this video useful

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Have a great weekend you guys and I will see you next week

Love ya!