The Bountiful Bay
Vietnam’s natural wonder Halong Bay is definitely the perfect destination for an idle scenic cruise, but there are a lot more to do and explore
With the surrealist scenery of 1,600 limestone islands and islets across 1,500 square kilometers of turquoise-green water, Halong Bay in northern Vietnam is undoubtedly one of the world’s most popular cruise destinations. It’s a great idea to spend a night marveling the UNESCO World Heritage Site in its most spectacular grandeur on a luxury cruise, but make sure to set aside some time to explore the many natural wonders the bay has to offer.
Make a pit stop at Cat Ba Island, Halong Bay’s biggest island, where you can visit some Vietnam War-related sites and museum, hike through the Cat Ba National Park, do some rock climbing as well as take a leisure stroll (or cycling) through the town’s small alleys. The island has three sizable sandy beaches with stunning view of the bay in the morning which is perfect spot for a refreshing dip.
The tropical climate blesses Halong Bay with numerous magnificent caves you can explore, such as Hang Sung Sot Cave with limestone formations that resemble an army of soldiers, Me Cung Cave or the Bewitching Grotto with gorgeous stalagmites and stalactites or Tien Ong Cave that is packed full with valuable archaeological finds like fossilized animal bones, pottery shards and tools dated back 8,000-10,000 years. These caves tend to spread out, but a decent tour guide can easily craft a cave hopping day trip and throw in some fun kayaking time for you.
Need more thrill? How about a ride on one of the world’s tallest Ferris wheels, Sun Wheel Halong, at Sun World, Vietnam’s largest amusement park? A night aboard a squid fishing boat with freshly cooked seafood at the end of the trip? Or a short seaplane ride 300 meters above water that will fill your Instagram with stunning pictures? Halong Bay has adventures galore to enjoy. Just ask your tour guide!