Dozens of unique monkey troops live on the islands with no fear of visitors
A UNHESCO world heritage site and a truly wondrous adventure, Ha Long Bay is not the cheapest option but one worth a little splurging. The majority of tours include kayaking, two cave visits, a beach trip, all inclusive meals, fishing, a cooking class, and morning tai chi. It takes a few hours by bus from Hanoi to arrive at the bay, but hotel pick up and drop off is usually included as well.
- Glory Legends Cruise has some great friendly staff, good food, moderate drink happy hour, and clean accommodations. You will be actually in the bay itself for roughly 23 hours on this cruise, be sure to check before booking as some trips have less time but cost the same
- Buy beer from the locals floating village people, the cost is not that much cheaper but the communities are really struggling and could use the income
- When stopping at the beach, it is possible and worth it to make it up to the tower and back down in about 15 minutes, that way you can enjoy the water afterward and beat part of the crowd for a good picture
- Be warned that there are tiny insects/fish in the water that will bite. They are not any more harmful then a tiny spider bite in the states, but some tourist did become alarmed. I was bit several times in Vietnam and I promise you will be fine
- Go in August, even if there is rain in Hanoi the bay can still be dry, we did see thunder and lighting in the distance but it was lovely over the water. The beach was crowded at this time but the water was empty and warm, in peak season both are said to be unbearably full