If you are planning to go to Ha Long bay but don’t want to go pay $200 for Castaways or $160 for hideaway.

Read on; We did practically the same tour for $60!


Although Castaways via the best party hostel (IMHO) in Vietnam is definitely worth the money, some people might not have the luxury of spending that amount of money on a 2N/3D tour.

We checked out some other tours from Hanoi to Ha Long but they where all pretty expensive. The cheapest one we found was $60 (but it didn’t have the transport included $30 for a return ticket)

We must be able to do this cheaper!

And so we did! Via Cát Bà island (the biggest island in Halong Bay)


Our tour

So we organised our own (cheaper) tour!

We got the bus-ferry-bus to Cat Ba island, the biggest island in Halong bay. From there we booked a tour for only 14$. We booked our tour at Mr. Zoom. The boat takes you around Halong bay (you’ll even soar past castaways island) and takes you kayaking in the same place as with Castaways. (I know from experience because I’ve been on the Castaways trip in January :) )

The tour itself was pretty awesome, we went kayaking and because i’d already been there I could navigate us to a hidden cave entrance which is pretty hard to spot. We were the only ones in the secluded area!

Kayaking in Halong Bay
Kayaking in Halong Bay


After a fine lunch we went on and went for a dip in the pretty disgusting water of Ha Long bay (serious people! Don’t litter!)

All in all we paid 24$ for a return trip to Cat Ba, $6 per person per night for a overnight stay in a Hotel on Cat Ba. and 14$ for a day-tour (including kayaking and a hill climb on monkey island) for two stingy backpackers that’s all that counts 😉

The view from monkey island
The view from monkey island

That leaves some money here and there for some Bia Saigon and a pizza (“The He-man”) on Cat ba @ Noble House

After the bus-boat-bus tour back to Hanoi, it was time to conquer the highest mountain in Indochina.