I'm going to have a trip to Vietnam in August (in the North). Do you know any cruise that take me from Halong to Cat Ba? Any other interesting things to explore in Haiphong?
I've just been in the north of Vietnam and not having much time to go to Cat Ba (you should count at least 3 nights to do it if you're leaving from Hanoi - one first night so you'll start off the day early in the morning, one night on the cruise, and then one night at the mainland because there is no ferry to take you back to Hanoi or anywhere else once the cruise is finished; the last ferry is something like 4pm and cruises finishes around 5pm).
I didn't want to go to Halong either because it is SO crowded and it was a little heavy on my budget, so I just had a feeling I would be disappointed.
It was a great decision because I hence searched for other cities around Hanoi and ended up staying 2 or 3 nights in Tam Coc, which was SO beautiful and peaceful and incredible. The nature sights are amazingly beautiful and there are a lot of temples to choose to visit in the surroundings (to go either by bicycle or motorbike). I stayed at Thanhdat Homestay and could not recommend it enough. 4 days ago