Just got to Hanoi this morning. Was thinking of doing a trip to halong bay tmrw for 2 days 1 night but the weather is very overcast and slightly cool and drizzling. Is it still worth doing the trip or is the weather going to have a bad effect, visibility, cold etc? If so are there any other suggestions around the north area have 2 to 3 days.
I was in HAN during Tet a few years ago. Cool and raining most days. I went on a 1 day tour of HaLong Bay. My photo gallery has those photos: page 10 under VN. I would vote that you go for a 1 day tour. There is just no reason to take 2 days when you cannot get in the water IMO. You will see enough islands in 1 day. Good luck.
Had a look at the pictures, looks like the weather is very similar now to when you were here. Big draw for me is going to get some good pictures, and the weather is just so dull. Not sure if I fancy a 6 hour round trip from Hanoi to spend a couple of hours on a boat when it could be raining/cold on the day trip. I'd love to do a 2 day trip and get in the water too but don't think that'll happen with the weather. And it's fairly steep price wise..... on the other hand it is meant to be beautiful scenery..... hhhmmmm decisions!!
Check at least 3 travel shops before you commit to a HaLong Bay tour. I paid $22 for a 1 day tour years ago. I doubt it went up that much since then. Walk around the Old Quarter and compare prices. Have them written down and play one travel shop against the others. HB might be worth 1 day if it is not raining all day. Water Puppet Show will at least get you out of the rain for a few hours! Good luck.
It's stunning so it would be a shame to miss it altogether even if the weather and resulting photos are not great. It was hot when we were there and we did spend some time in the water but to be honest because of all the tourist boats the water does contain raw sewage in some areas so you have to be careful where you swim anyway.
As Mike said, it's worth shopping around for a good price; none of the tours should be that steep if you book in the old quarter. I think I paid slightly more than Mike when I went in 2006 and I booked through my hotel.