Limestone islets and grottos are scattered across the emerald waters of Halong Bay, one of the most beautiful and most visited places in Vietnam.
FINDING YOUR WAY
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage area of natural beauty in the north east corner of Vietnam. Made up of around 2000 limestone formations on the emerald waters of the China Sea, this area was once full of fishing villages. Many families have moved to the land and into Hanoi, their homes replaced with tourist boats. Some communities still remain amongst the limestone where they fish and grow pearls to be made into jewellery.
EXPLORE BY CRUISE
Book an overnight tour as the four hour drive from Hanoi will take up too much of your day for you to be able to enjoy yourself. You can stay on private islands or on-board a traditional junk ship.
Relax on the top deck and admire the breathtaking scenery as you drift around the islets. Halong Bay might be the most famous place in Vietnam but your crew can still find little pockets of tranquillity. Activities on board vary. Some focus on relaxation with early morning t’ai chi and spa treatments, while others offer kayaking and walking. Experiencing the local cuisine on board is a must. This area is known for seafood and squid is found in abundance here so expect to see some of these on your plate. At the end of the day the highlight is watching the sunset from the top deck or your beach villa if you’re staying on land.
It’s worth doing your research before you book. Safety standards aren’t always the same as at home and you’ll want to go with a good company. You’ll also need to decide on the kind of experience you want. Tours range from luxury all inclusives, to booze cruises with all night partying. A basic 1 night will cost about $80 (food is included but you’ll pay extra for drinks). If Halong Bay is out of your budget, then travel two hours south of Hanoi to Ninh Binh province. Visit for a day or base yourself in Tam Coc and do a river cruise in Trang An, known as Halong Bay on land.
You can also visit the area by staying on Cat Ba island and taking a day trip to the bay. It’s easy to get a bus from Hanoi and there are plenty of accommodation options.
Halong Bay is 4 hours drive from Hanoi which has an international airport, buses and trains to take you around the country.
Visited December 2016
Little Amy Tours @littleamytours