My first impression of Ha Long City is wow. The views are incredible, however, it is very commercialised. We liked the area, but there isn’t a huge amount to do and we were literally the only Westerners. In the evening, there are dazzling hotel lights and fountains and it looks amazing.
I almost felt like I was in Vegas!
On our first full day in Ha Long City we wandered around searching for something to do, we checked out the half-built theme park but this wasn’t open until 3 pm and we decided against it because it was slightly out of our budget. So instead we took a long walk to the beach. It was probably only about a 30-minute walk, but when it is scorching hot and your back is dripping with sweat, the walk just seemed to never end. Eventually, we made it to the beach, and it was so worth the tiring walk! With palm trees scattered all down the golden beach, and no-one but us, it was so peaceful.
We stayed for a couple of hours just enjoying the weather and views and then we headed back. We began to start walking back in the hottest part of the day with the sun blaring down on us, we had our caps on and towels over our heads looking like we were trying to survive in the desert. We stopped off for a well-deserved ice cold soft drink and bite to eat, and then decided we would definitely get a taxi back to our hotel.
That evening we went on a cable car (costing us around £10 each) which took us to what looked like a ‘fairyland’. When we got to the other side there was a giant Ferris Wheel (included within the price) which was all lit up, you could see over the city and the views were just surreal.
Whilst on this fairyland included within the price of the cable car we were allowed to go into a waxwork display. This was nothing but tragic, but did provide us with a lot of humour! (yes James decided to get a selfie with Vladimir Putin)
I’ll let the photos do the talking… still can’t work out if this one is meant to be the Queen or Helen Mirren?
After our cable car adventures, we went to a bar. We were both craving some Western food, so we both tucked into a burger and spaghetti Bolognese, it tasted so good!
Our final few days in Ha Long City we weren’t feeling too good, this wasn’t too much of an issue seeing as we had run out of things to do and see in Ha Long anyway. We just spent the day in our room and on the rooftop overlooking the City writing out our blog and reflecting on our trip so far.
The hostel we stayed in was the Halong Cheers Hostel and in terms of room quality, it wasn’t the best. It wasn’t that clean and we didn’t have any hot water! But, the staff were the friendliest people on the planet. Which is why they probably have such a good rating on Trip Advisor? Any issues we had they would help us sort. They even gave us access to the empty room across the hall from ours to use the shower! which made up for the issues with our room, but I guess that’s what you get when you pay £5 each a night?
Again, whilst we wouldn’t rush to go back, we enjoyed our time at Ha Long. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to others unless they are near the area or need a pit stop after the cruises. It is different and wasn’t what we were expecting, but we are glad we did get to experience it.