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Author Topic: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam  (Read 1894 times)
Jason Denning
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« on: November 06, 2013, 09:24:23 PM »
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Hello

I am going to be in Ha Long Bay over Xmas and and want to find a place to stay near a great view, Cat Ba Island looks promising.

I would love some advice.

Thanks

Jason
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Msphoto
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2013, 07:19:38 PM »
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Most people going to Halong bay do so on a small package trip that you can arrange easily from anywhere in Hanoi.
Typically it includes transportation from Hanoi to Hai Phong where you board a junk style boat that sleeps maybe 20.
The boat takes you out through all the islands and in our case we spent one night on the boat with meals included,
then they put us up in a hotel for another night on Cat Ba Island. We saw a few of the sights on Cat Ba and then the boat takes
you back to Ha Phong and bus back to Hanoi. All meals were included plus the hotel on Cat ba.
Was pretty nice trip and fairly reasonable. The first time we went was in 2001.
We went back in 2005 and were amazed at how many more boats and tourists were there than the first trip.
Photography-wise it was an amazing place though often there is that typical white hazy sky of Southeast asia.
You can check out some of my images from those trips here
http://www.msphoto.ca/Vietnam_slideshow.html
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Michael Sherman Photography
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Jason Denning
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2013, 08:44:44 AM »
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Thanks for the info.

I won't be doing a tour from Hanoi as there are a couple of specific place I want to shoot as specific times, so I plan to get a train to Ha Long. And arrange the rest myself, possibly a private boat.

I would love to know if there are any specific islands I should visit that you can get  off and walk around for good views?

Thanks

Jason
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Msphoto
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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2013, 01:53:58 PM »
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Actually on our second trip there, we did hire a private boat to take us to the next area to the east of Ha long bay for a couple days.
It's called Bai Tu Long bay. Was a bit of an expensive fizzle photography-wise due to crappy weather and from what we
saw, not as photogenic as Ha Long.
I'd think that you could get a ferry or private boat to Cat Ba which is a biggish island with a decent sized main town.
Interesting stuff to see around that island plus the harbour is jam packed with boats, junks and floating restaurants.
I'd think it would be easy to hire a boat from there to take you out among the small islands.
Ha Long is getting pretty overrun with tourist tour boats everywhere there now and sadly lots of garbage floating in the water
that we definitely didn't see on our previous trip.
All said though it's definitely an amazing place and I'm sure you will get some great pix.
December is going to be cool weather there.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2013, 01:56:32 PM by Msphoto » Logged

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stingray
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2013, 01:01:04 PM »
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I stayed in Cat Ba island for 3 days at the end of Jan 2011.

My sense is that time of the year is low season.  I was nearly the only person in a very large hotel. My sole purpose was to photograph Ha Long Bay.

This link will give you a glimpse of the town from a historic gun on the top of one of the local hills.

http://mattobrien.zenfolio.com/p849309835/h2e1bf44f#h2f475176

Just to warn you that most of the time I had grey overcast skies. I got the impression that such weather is not unusual at that time of the year.  I would check other reports on the weather.

There is a fast ferry which travels to Cat Ba. The main town on Cat Ba is a decent size with a variety of hotel options.

I explored renting a boat.  Easily available and not expensive.   However, I abandoned the idea as the boats would not land on beaches, etc.... so I could not get sunrise / sunset shots. (ie moving boat / low light problem).

I can see the potential, would like to have stayed longer, but the next time I will be more careful of prevailing weather conditions.

Here are a few links.  Explore the zenfolio folder using the arrow tabs for more Cat Ba / Vietnam pics from my trip.

http://mattobrien.zenfolio.com/p849309835/h2e1bf44f#h2e1bf44f
http://mattobrien.zenfolio.com/p849309835/h2e1bf44f#h3eb3651a

Note that with the exception of 30 mins one morning I had grey skies for most of my trip.




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Jason Denning
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2013, 05:27:56 AM »
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Thanks for the tips, I ended up doing a 2 night cruise as well as staying near Ha Long city where there are some good shooting spots.
The weather was sunny all the time however it was a little misty the whole time so not clear sunny days.
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Fotoman 617 with Rodenstock 55mm, 90mm and 180mm lenses
Mamiya 645 Pro TL, and every lens mamiya made.
Sony A7 with 35mm and 55mm Primes
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