Halong Bay Vietnam Travel
Vietnam's Halong Bay is a jewel in the countries tourist sites. Halong Bay is like no other area in the world with over 1000 amazing islands.
They are in fact limestone karsts of all shapes and sizes which rise out of the sea like a strange apparition.
The area has World Heritage status and this is something the Vietnamese are very proud of.
The best way to see the area is take one of the many Halong Bay cruises so that you are out amongst these amazing rocky islands just relaxing and enjoying the strange shapes drift past you. If you are more energetic, you can kayak through caves or trek over isolated islands.
Halong Bay at night
How can I visit Halong Bay?
If you are visiting Hanoi then its just three and half hours to reach Halong Bay.
You can easily book a trip in Hanoi, especially around the Old Quarter, there are many tourist centers or your hotel will arrange a trip for you.
To get the best from your trip to Halong Bay, I recommend that you book a Junk Boat and stay overnight. The first day your boat will cruise the waters and past these amazing limestone krasts.
They rise spectacularly out of the water and you won't tire of seeing them as you float by on your boat. Most of the boats have top decks where you can relax with a cold drink and let the scenery unfold before you. Its a trip not to be missed.
What Can I See at Halong Bay?
Aside from over 1000 islands, many uninhabited, you can view kayak in the waters.
There are many caves in Halong Bay and a kayak trip through them is breathtaking as you leave the open waters of the Bay, go into the dark dank caves and then through into sunlight. Many Halong Bay Cruises offer kayaking on Halong Bay as an option. One trip I did you kayak into three such caves.
Halong Bay is the home to many fishermen and women. Their brightly colored floating homes snuggles against the rocky backdrop of the islands.
Vendors approach the cruising boats offering to sell all sorts of tourist related goods, especially food and drinks to supplement the already gargantuan feasts offered on board the cruise ship. They move quickly through the water to try to reach the cruise ship first and make their sale.
Trek on an Isolated Island
If you stay away two nights then you have great flexibility to enjoy more highlights around the area.
One of the highlights is surely trekking over an island which is rather isolated.
On the island I visited a 65 year old lady lives alone in her rudimentary dwelling. Her garden is magnificent and she welcomes visitors to rest awhile with a banana and a cup of tea. She speaks no English but that doesn't stop her welcoming tourists from all over the world to enjoy her hospitality.
Do take your mosquito repellent though - they are ferocious!
Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island is a weekend away island for Hanoi locals so if you are staying there, try to avoid the weekends.
It's a pretty place with some nice beaches. The two night Halong Bay trip often includes the first night on the boat and the second night on Cat Ba Island.
I recommend this option.
On the first day cruising amongst Halong's many islands you are competing for space with a myriad of other cruise boats all vying for the best spots.
However, on the second day, the cruising was sublime and I rarely saw another boat as we cruised leisurely towards Cat Ba Island. It was even more relaxing and a great way to explore the island.
How to Book a Halong Bay Cruise
It's easy enough to find information about Halong Bay and the various cruise options when you are in Vietnam.
If you are staying in Hanoi (which I recommend), then there are numerous tour operators. Most hotels, particularly around Hanoi's Old Quarter can also book a tour for you. They make it very easy and will pick you up from the door of your hotel, take you to the cruise boat and then back to the hotel again afterwards. It's very easy.
I don't recommend going up to Halong and trying to negotiate directly. There are literally hundreds of boats waiting in the harbor. Much better to have it organised for you. They are cheap enough.
Satellite Map of Halong Bay Vietnam
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