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Halong Bay Cruise: 10 Don'ts for a Wonderful Experience

Whether it is your first time to cruise Halong Bay or your return trip to this breathtaking natural wonder, there are still a few things you should know not to do for an amazing experience. Here are 10 things you shouldn’t do when visiting Halong Bay.

Whether it is your first time to cruise Halong Bay or your return trip to this breathtaking natural wonder, there are still a few things you should know not to do for an amazing experience. Here are 10 things you shouldn’t do when visiting Halong Bay.

1. Skip the excursion to Sung Sot Cave

Though it is not compulsory for visitors to join all the excursions to explore around the heritage bay, it’s surely worth your time visiting Sung Sot Cave. Also known as Surprise Cave, this cavern is the largest and most beautiful one in Halong Bay, with plenty of glistening stalagmites and stalactites formed thousands of years ago. With glowing yellow lights and gentle rays of natural light, the cave is like a magical place filled with myths and legends.

2. Miss out on the scenery at dusk and dawn

Halong Bay is one of the best places to witness a sunrise or sunset in Vietnam. After a long day of discovery, enjoying a cocktail or indulging in an onboard outdoor pool while watching the sun set orange and pink over the limestone islands will be a highlight of your vacation. When the sun slowly goes down the horizon and the cool breeze gently touches your cheek, you truly experience the wonder of this World Heritage Site. And greeting the sun and starting a new day with a Tai Chi practice on the sundeck offer the same feelings as well.

3. Eat only in the indoor restaurant

With buffet and a la carte menu meals available on board during the trip, there are more options than just eating in the restaurant. You can grab your plate and drink, then move outside the dining room for a memorable meal with stunning views of Halong Bay. Some luxury cruises also offer a dining setting in your cabin or balcony for a unique and private gastronomic experience.

4. Ignore the safety guidelines

When you board your cruise ship, you will be warmly welcomed by the staff with a welcome drink and a cold towel before receiving your cabin key. At the restaurant, your cruise manager will also advise you on the safety and security measures onboard. You should pay close attention to the information provided for your own and your travel companions' safety. It's essential to know what to do in an emergency.

5. Let your kids run free

“Always keep your eyes on your children” is absolutely the case for every family trip. Though all Halong Bay cruise ships have balustrades that prevent kids from running around freely, parents should supervise their kids at all times and keep them away from climbing the railings, screaming, and acting loudly. Other activities, such as exploring caverns, swimming, or rowing in a bamboo boat, also require strict supervision of your children to ensure their safety.

6. Forgo a cooking demonstration

Whether you’re a cook or not, joining a cooking class on board is a great way to learn about local cuisine and culture. Vietnamese food is both tasty and healthy, and it is often surprisingly simple to prepare. Most cruise lines will offer a cooking demonstration of spring rolls or food carving shared by the cruise chef. Guests can learn how to make spring rolls firsthand and then taste their fruits. Spring rolls, whether fresh or fried, are a Halong Bay delicacy and a popular Vietnamese delight that can be easily made at home.

7. Not go kayaking in Luon Cave

Kayaking is a must when visiting Halong Bay, as this activity allows travelers to get in a truly intimate connection to this natural marvel. Paddle through calm waters, discover hidden corners, and even touch the limestone karsts with your hands. Among other attractions, Luon Cave is praised as the perfect place to go kayaking in the bay, with its extraordinary features. It’s like an arch-shaped entrance that you can navigate through and enter a peaceful lake encircled by towering rock formations.

8. Smoke and do drugs

As a courtesy to other passengers, smoking is not permitted in most places on the boat, including inside your cabin, the restaurant, and other closed and covered areas. However, guests can smoke on the sundeck or on the room’s private balcony. It’s also noted that opium and all opium preparations are forbidden in Vietnam. The transportation, sale, possession, and consumption of opium shall be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

9. Pass up internet access

The internet connection originates on land, so as you travel farther into Halong Bay, the limestone islets and islands will block the signal, making it very poor. The ideal time to connect to the internet is at night, when the boat is anchored. On board, the strongest signal is found in the restaurant. If you have a 3G/4G SIM, head to the sundeck for the best internet signal. Alternatively, switch off your gadgets for a digital detox!

10. Forget to turn off the tap

Not many realize that water on your cruise costs three times more than water on land. You should turn off your taps firmly to avoid any leaks. If you notice a leaking or dripping tap when receiving the cabin, notify the staff, and the cruise will arrange for maintenance crews to repair it.

In conclusion, there are a few things you need to know before embarking on your Halong Bay cruise trip, and we do hope the above information is useful for your next journey. Now it's time to pack your bags and try out interesting experiences in Halong Bay.

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