Hey fellow travellers,
I will be heading to HaNoi in about 1 month and Ha Long Bay is on the top of my to-do list. The only problem is - I hate boats!
Obviously I understand that this is a boating activity and therefore can cope for awhile - however I'd prefer to only do it one day. Is it worthwhile doing a daytrip? Or are you really missing out by not doing an overnight trip? Also is sea-sickness an issue or is it relatively calm/flat being a bay?
I'm not a fan of boats either - I get seasick on large ferries and since being involved in a boat accident last year have been pretty nervous of getting on any type of boat. However, I didn't have any problems in Halong Bay - it's pretty calm and the boats don't go too fast, plus you can spend most of the time it's moving sat out on deck, which always makes me feel better. The problem with a daytrip is that it's a really long day. I haven't done it in a day but friends of ours who stayed with us (in Hanoi) earlier this year left at about 6.30am and got back at 10pm! I don't think this is normal but it can happen. I've only ever done 3 day trips so I'm not sure how long you spend on the - moving - boat on a two-day trip but my guess is that for most of the trip you will just be in the bay either not moving or moving pretty slowly.
I completely agree with Sarah but it may be that by daytrip Linda could also have meant just spending a full day on the boat without spending the night on it?
If that's the case: yes that's fine and still very worthwile. Overnight trips can mean two things for Halong. Spend the night on a boat (and spend 2 days on the boat) OR spend one (or two) night on the shore and just boat during the day. It's not always clear to me what people refer to when speaking about this area and overnight trips.
If you have the time you can easily go in the afternoon from Hanoi to Halong Town and organize a boat daytour (there are plenty of them or pre-arrange with package deal from Hanoi) and hotel on arrival. The next morning you could spend the day on the water on the tour. Then it depends on whether you want to go back the same day. Most (boat)daytours take a full day and then you'd have to leave Halong in the dark to go back to Hanoi or spend a second night.