Robert is a very good guide and knows a lot about the tour. He speaks very well and explained everything. 1st we explored the Heaven Paradise Palace Cave then we cruise around the bay. We enjoyed it. They served many foods too. Thank you!
Just finished the Halong Day cruise with Robert. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. The scenery is spectacular. Had the opportunity to explore a cave and kayak through a few secluded coves. Our guide and our hosts on the boat did everything they could to make it a pleasant trip.
Firstly i will give the positives which out way the negatives from our day tour.
Long (3 plus hours) but comfortable bus journey to Kawlong bay, the bus collected us from our hotel in Hanoi and wound its way through various collection points which lead to a delay.
Quick stop at a marble workshop set the tone for the first rapid stop.
The boat ride through the bay is very good with lots of photo opportunities, lunch was reasonable but not Western kid friendly.
First stop was the caves, well worth the climb up the hillside, this is not for old or infirm. The inside is stunning but again we were wisked through without much time to enjoy.
Bamboo raft was relaxing and we saw the monkeys sitting on the cliff face.
The island visit to see the beach/ or temple was again hurried, however if unlike me you managed to climb the steps again the view was worth the climb. The beach was heaving and the sea does not look clean.
Back on the boat and a cruise into port to complete the bus journey home.
Now i will come to the disappointment and negatives.
As the bus was so late in arriving at the boat every item on the agenda was rushed.
During the first long bus journey our guide hinted that the trip back could be 4 hours unless we take the toll roads which reduce to 3 hours. When we purchased our tickets the timescales clearly indicated it was the short route returned. When we returned to the bus we were asked if we wanted to donate 100k per passenger (over 20 passengers on the bus) to pay the tolls. When asked how much the toll was the answer was 440k. We the declined the offer, however in some anger it was decided we would just take the toll road. My point is not the value of the money which is tiny when converted to USD, it was the ransom that peeved me.
We were located in Ha Long City and contacted Dragonfly office in Hanoi, only one day before our trip. They were super helpful and organised our trip in no time through WhatsApp chat. They have sent us the link for on-line payment and got us on the bus back to Hanoi with them. They also prepared a vegetarian meal for my girlfriend as per our request. Not the best meal you will ever have, but the food was OK, and in my opinion Hà Long Bay tour is not about a food anyway. You will have plenty of food so no worries there.
Our tour guide (Jack) was really good, sharing a lot of information, and all with good English skills so understanding him was not a problem at all. He even helped us to translate the message in Vietnamese from airline company that changed our flight.
All in all, good cruise, with a reliable company I would say, and a great customer support.
If they would find a way to add some additional stop, for at least 30 minutes, for jumping and swimming around a boat, that would be amazing and put them at the top of the list for sure.
Good food on the cruise, magnificent scenery. Our guide was knowledgeable and shared interesting nuggets of information along the way. The bus pickup was on time and the bus and cruise ship comfortable. Senior passengers should should be prepared for the climb up and down to the cave and the bamboo boat ride. Be prepared for hot and humid weather in summer. A worthwhile trip!