Ha Long Bay is perhaps the most famous part of all of Vietnam. According to UNESCO, Ha Long Bay is a collection of over 1,600 islands – Though other experts put this estimate closer to 3,000. It’s an incredibly scenic boat ride, whether you go just for two days or for three or four days.
Ha Long Bay is one of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are spread out across large distances. Unlike other sites, like the Taj Mahal or Angkor Wat, Ha Long Bay is not a structure, a temple or a manmade creation at all. Instead, it’s simply a majestic collection of islands.
A Wide Diversity of Islands
As you cruise along the islands in Ha Long Bay, you’ll find that each island is different than the other. Some islands are decorated with lush greenery and vibrant wildlife, while others are simple towering rocks. Many islands have beaches that you can dock on and beaches you can play in.
Many Caving Opportunities
Nature has bestowed Ha Long Bay with a myriad of caves to be explored. These caves are sometimes scary, sometimes large, sometimes twisted and sometimes shallow. Some of these caves lead to places, while others are simply hollowed out rocks to be enjoyed for their own sake.
Whatever your appetite for adventure is, there’s probably a cave for you.
The Ethereal Fog
If Ha Long Bay was famous for any one thing, it’d be its fog. Most people who visit Ha Long Bay choose to do so during the early parts of the year, in February, March or April. That’s when rain and storms are least frequent and the risk of getting sidetracked by weather is low.
During this time of year however is also when fog is more frequent. While the fog can obscure your view of some of the islands, many tourists come to visit Ha Long Bay specifically to see this world famous fog.
The fog adds an incredible ethereal quality to the whole experience. Look out on any side of the boat and it feels like you’re surrounded by the very spirit of the ocean. Years later, when you look back on you Ha Long Bay visit, the individual islands may seem to blur together – But the sight of the seemingly supernatural fog will stay with you for life.
Kayaking, Swimming and Snorkeling
Ha Long Bay is one of the best spots in the world for Kayaking. Kayaking allows you to get really close to some of the islands and spots that a large boat can’t safely dock next to. It allows you to steer yourself into caves whose mouths open towards the water. It also gives you a sense of power and serenity to guide yourself through those legendary waters.
There are also many spots where you can go swimming or snorkeling. Swim amongst the fishes and use your snorkels to peek into some of the many underwater life forms that live in the bay.
Explore Fishing Villages
As an area of the county rich in aquatic life, Ha Long Bay is also home to many fishing villages. Here fishermen have been making their living for decades, sometimes centuries off the ocean life.
By stopping by on some of these villages, you can see for yourself how fish is caught and how fishermen live their lives in Vietnam. You can also have some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever had in your life.
The Community Experience
After you have stayed at the hotel you booked in Hanoi for a few nights, going on a Ha Long Bay trip is a very communal experience. Since you’re on a boat with a group of other people for a period of two or three days, you’ll get to know one another quite well. Seeing the majesty of Ha Long Bay and exploring its many nooks and crannies is a powerful bonding experience. You’ll make friends that you’ll stay in touch with for life.
Cruises come in many shapes and forms. Some are budget cruises, while others have en-suite bathrooms, sundecks, lounge furniture, large dining rooms and modern design overall.
Whether you’re a college student on break exploring the world or a married couple on your second honeymoon, exploring Ha Long Bay is an experience of a lifetime that you’ll never forget.
Guest Post by:
Author Bio – This article has been written by Dzung Trinh from TNK Travel, Vietnam. If you’re planning for Halong cruises or Mekong river cruises, TNK Travel is the perfect choice for all your needs.