Most of the city looks like a huge construction site, and will probably continue to look as such for a while.
I had a lot more expectations from Ha Long city than Cat Ba town, but looking back, Cat Ba looked and felt much better.
Therefore, I would not recommend staying here for a while, not until the constructions are finalized (maybe next year’s summer, 2017).
Meanwhile, I think a 3 days boat tour in the Ha Long Bay would be a better idea.
Despite all of these, the future look of Ha Long city seems promising. And there’s a huge fun park under construction that would be interesting to visit someday.
I’m staying at Ha Long Happy Hostel for 3 nights, in a private room at first floor. The room definitely looks worse than the room in the photos I saw when I made the reservation.
Here’s a few reasons I disliked this place:
- mattress or something smelled like urine; this was gross and if I wasn’t so tired, I would’ve looked for another place;
- power plug near bed not working;
- they advertise they offer free beer between 18:30 and 20:30, but when I asked where can I drink a beer, around 19, they sent me to a bar down the street;
- they say they have “computers with internet” that you can use downstairs; it should say there is “one computer you may use if none of the other 30 guests use it”; I had to go a few blocks up for internet coffee shop;
- they advertise they have free internet in the whole building; the internet was a joke, most of the time not working; I’m not even mad about this, because for 10$ I had mobile internet from mobiphone (12GB traffic for 30 days);
- asked the guy from reception where can I take a bus to Haiphong from, he could not show me on the map where the bus station is; and when his colleague tried to help, out of nowhere she drew attention that “I have alcohol breath” which I find not only rude, but also interesting given that I served the only vegetarian thing they had on the one day boat tour that herself recommend me (ie. beer);
- not that I relied on it, but packaging of a disposable toothbrush was unsealed when I arrived and it was offered without any toothpaste.
I would not return to this hostel, and I do not recommend this place to anyone, not until they learn what tourism actually means.
However, despite the shitty hostel and the construction site that Ha Long city is, the Ha Long Bay is pretty nice and it’s worth a visit.
Next — Ha Long Bay.