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Halong Bay Vietnam Travel

Updated on June 10, 2012

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.

Some of the many Halong Bay islands
Some of the many Halong Bay islands
Vendors approach the Halong Bay Cruise Ships
Vendors approach the Halong Bay Cruise Ships

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.

She welcomes travelers with whatever delights she has grown in her amazing garden.
She welcomes travelers with whatever delights she has grown in her amazing garden.

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

And finally....

This hub and the photographs are copyright Travelespresso. Do not copy.

Writers love feedback. If you like this hub, please rate it up, pass it on and/or leave a comment.

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    • travelespresso profile image
      Author

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      If you can, go before it changes too much. Parts of Vietnam are changing at a frenetic pace! Thanks for your comment.

    • witchworx profile image

      witchworx 7 years ago from Hong Kong

      Beautiful... been wanting to go to Vietnam but no chance yet.. thanks for the info, now I know where to go to once there..

    • travelespresso profile image
      Author

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Thanks WT. It's true, there are many beautiful places in Vietnam. I've been lucky enough to see many but there are still more places I want to see, and that's before I re-visit some!

      I avoided Thailand this trip because of the unrest there.

    • World-Traveler profile image

      World-Traveler 7 years ago from USA

      I remember Halong Bay from one of the movies involving James Bond. Vietnam is beautiful. I encourage a visit to Bangkok, the city that never sleeps.

    • travelespresso profile image
      Author

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Yes, Halong Bay is peaceful in parts, especially the last day. You are right! It's one of those dream getaways! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • profile image

      Fatimasmith 7 years ago

      Very Peaceful, with lots of activities, a dream getaway!

    • travelespresso profile image
      Author

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      There are many more amazing shapes around Halong Bay. It's an incredible place. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      That rock is incredible! I was at the DMZ when it was split. I'd like to go there!

    • travelespresso profile image
      Author

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      My pleasure De Greek!

    • travelespresso profile image
      Author

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Vietnam doesn't get all that many tourists compared to destinations like Thailand so many of the tourist attractions don't have a huge profile. I've no doubt that will change and change soon. It's a great place for tourists.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Diane.

    • travelespresso profile image
      Author

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      It is a great spot china man and well worth going to. I'll be happy to link hubs when you have it done.

    • travelespresso profile image
      Author

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      The bananas from that area are divine too MM. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      Wonderful. Thank you for this :-)

    • profile image

      china man 7 years ago

      Nice hub for a nice spot - I should be down there this winter as I now live just up the road. I am doing a huge hub on backstreet Guilin which north on the same geological band - maybe we can link to them to each other when I have it done ?

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      I can't almost taste those bananas and tea! Beautiful description of a beautiful destination.

    • travelespresso profile image
      Author

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Halong Bay is a romantic spot Wavegirl, especially the second day! Hope you get there soon.

      KWA - I tried to join a few days ago and had problems - probably the internet connection here, so I still haven't joined. I plan to though.

    • Diane Inside profile image

      Diane Inside 7 years ago

      Never even knew this place existed, great hub.

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      Halong Bay - is one place that is totally on my list to visit. I think I even have it in my romantic getaway Hub! Anyway reading this Hub of yours (kudos for the challenge of taking it!!) really puts it on the top of my list..

      p.s. how are you doing with keyword academy? I have been using Market Warrior but it is slow and makes the whole computer slow)

    • travelespresso profile image
      Author

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      It's always great to participate in these 30 minute challenges you organise. It gets the writing juices flowing very quickly. Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      pinkylee 7 years ago

      The pictures are amazing. This sounds like a trip I would truly enjoy. Great job on the hub.. thumbs up and voted useful

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 7 years ago from USA or America

      Hey Travel, awesome hub. If I could travel, that sounds like a place to visit. Definitely a rate up! Thank you for participating in the challenge too. I appreciate it. :) A great job for 30 minutes. :)

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