After you’ve succeeded in solving the issue of when to book a Halong Bay cruise, it is time for the next question: what to pack for a Halong Bay cruise trip?
Even though it is not the most serious issue, good packing will totally increase the enjoyment of your experience in Halong. This blog will summarize every necessary thing that you need to bring on board.
There is only one simple rule for you to follow when it comes to packing for a cruise trip: simple and light. The reason for this is that most of the time, Halong Bay cruises are just a small part of your journey exploring the northern regions of Vietnam, and after the cruise portion you will likely come back to your hotel.
Many of the cruises do not offer spacious room. Therefore, you should arrange to leave your big and heavy luggage at the hotel. However, if you do not trust the hotel with keeping your belongings, or in some cases you actually do not plan on going back to the hotel, it is definitely fine to take your luggage with you on board.
So, for people who want to follow the “simple and light” rule I suggested above, here are the things that you should prepare to enjoy your once in a lifetime trip in Halong Bay:
1. Small backpack
The best thing for travellers is a small backpack. Instead of huge luggage pieces that take up a ton of time to search through and get what you need, a small backpack helps you quickly grab your things and sprint to the deck outside to witness breath-taking sights.
Besides, with the help of the backpack, you can bring along a few bottles of water and your camera when exploring many magnificent caves at Halong Bay.
2. Personal document
Whenever traveling abroad, you must always bring along your passport just for any cases that might arise. It is the only thing that can prove who you are and where you are from.
Even with the tightest packed backpack, you have to make room for your passport because without your passport you might not be allowed to get on board your cruise ship.
It depends on your personal needs, but I would love to suggest that you bring one pair of clothes for a 2 day trip, or two pairs for a 3 day trip, plus one set of pajamas to sleep at night. Halong Bay cruises also provide many extra activities such as kayaking or swimming, so you should also bring along a swimming suit.
Weather is also a factor affecting your choice of clothes. If you travel in winter (from November to March), you should pack thick and warm clothes. Summer is from May to September which is suitable for swimming under clear blue skies, so you also may want to bring along some shorts, skirts or sleeveless T-shirts.
I would not suggest high-heels or luxurious shoes at all because you are traveling and exploring, not competing in a fashion show and this rule also applies for clothes. You should wear something simple and comfortable.
You can easily find a pair of flip flops around Hanoi or Halong for just 1 or 2 USD. Flip flops and sandals are perfect for walking around onboard and a pair of sport shoes is best for visiting caves.
5. Water and snack
You should carry a few bottles of water along as the drinking water provided on board is quite limited or in some cases there are some cruises that do not provide water (it’s insane and it usually happens with cheap cruises provided by untrustworthy local travel agents).
I would not also recommend spending money on board because everything is highly overpriced. Instead, you can buy everything you need- from water to snacks- at a convenience store (like B-smart or Circle K) with a low and fixed price.
6. Toiletries and medical supplies
After a whole day of exploring and playing, it is time to clean up and prepare for a beautiful night. However, many cruises do not provide shampoo or toothpaste. A few do supply but with unknown brand names.
If you have ever stayed in a typical Vietnamese hotel, you must have countered a small green container of toothpaste which smell and taste really weird. Therefore, I definitely recommend packing your own toiletries for your trip.
If you have sea sickness, allergies or respiratory disease but still want to witness the magnificence of Halong Bay, medical supplies are definitely what you must pack for Halong Bay cruises. You cannot easily go to a hospital while in the middle of the sea, and it would take much time to get back to the port.
It would ruin your whole trip just because you forgot to prepare a few pills at the hotel.
7. Electronic devices
Cameras cannot be left behind if you want to capture the breathtaking sights and savour the moments of your family and friends. I would suggest that you bring a light and compact camera with a few extra batteries.
Charge all your batteries so that you will not need to worry while taking great pictures of Halong Bay and its caves. You do not want to miss a good moment just because your camera is out of battery.
You can also bring your smartphone and laptop with you as most of the cruises are now equipped with WIFI. Therefore, you can easily contact with your family, friends and stream your adventure live to them.
8. Book or diary
For travelers who just want to enjoy the scene and relax, or those taking a long 3 day 2 night trip and are afraid of being bored, reading your favorite books with a cup of tea on top of the cruise looking at the blue skies, or writing every detail about your adventure in Halong Bay down in your diary would be a very good way to immerse yourself into the experience.
In conclusion of our 8 Ultimate things to pack for your luxurious Halong Bay cruise, all you really need to do is to prepare carefully and pack everything in your small bag and go experience the marvelous UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Besides, you can also visit travel forums like TripAdvisor or LonelyPlanet to ask other experienced travelers for more tips and tricks.
If I am missing something you think absolutely essential, please leave us a comment, and if everything is neat and clean and you find this post useful, like and share this to your fellow travelers!