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Health and Safety
Not until 2013 were safety regulations somewhat enforced on Halong Bay. In fact, most mid-range and budget cruises still do not have lifejackets or safety procedures in place. You get what you pay for, so choose your cruise operator wisely, including opting for higher-end operators that have safety standards and that insist passengers wear lifejackets during bay activities. Incidentally, the increased number of boats on the water had led to an increase in boat collisions. In late 2012, the government issued a ruling that all Halong boats were to be painted white in an effort to decrease the number of accidents.
Boat safety aside, one thing to keep in mind is that most off-cruise activities require some level of fitness. Access to caves and coves have slippery stone steps devoid of guardrails. Wear proper shoes when exploring the area, especially on island trails that are narrow and somewhat strenuous.
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