Vietnam (Halong Bay)
surcharges such as mandatory insurance. The tourist boats just stop at an island with two poorly preserved caves, and passengers are hit up for overpriced beers and kayaking ("the water cave") along the way; the whole ordeal takes four or five hours and is really best avoided unless you've never seen a cave before or want to hang out with clueless gap-year tourists. You can talk with the guide, who takes a tourist group on the pier, buying cruise or transfer to Cat Ba with him directly. If they have empty rooms on the boat, they will happy to take you. 2 day 1 night all-inclusive cruise is less than 40 USD. An old report claims "There is another government- run ferry leaving the tourist wharf at 12:00 daily costing 100,000 VND per person and takes 5 hours.
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