Visiting Vietnam visitors cannot miss one destination that epitomises the beauty and the people of Vietnam – Halong Bay. Cruising is the best way to see the bay and usually a 2 day 1 night cruise is enough to thoroughly explore this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Halong Bay translated means the Descending Dragon Bay and is a very popular region three hours east of the country’s capital Hanoi. The bay features thousands of awe inspiring limestone rock formations, islands and islets dotted with caves and grottos. It is unquestionably one of the world’s natural wonders. There are over 2000 geological formations jutting out of the tranquil emerald waters many with names like stone dog, fighting chickens or giant turtle.
The bay has been the set for two James Bond films, with chase sequences, but today it’s famous for more slow moving vintage Junk cruises and scenic lunch tours. With over 400 boats plying the bay it can be hard to choose the right boat for you. Whether to visit as a day trip from Hanoi or to spend an overnight aboard one of the classic sailing Junks depends on how much time you have to explore.
Halong Sails of the Bai Tho Group, the original pioneer cruise line in the bay and a highly respected cruise company since 1990, operate a fleet of traditional wooden Junks. With over 10 years experience Halong Sails is the perfect cruise line for independent travellers or groups. Their vintage Chinese vessels, spread over 3 levels, offer a relaxing lounge and bar, restaurant and sundeck.
On overnight cruises accommodation is in deluxe cabins with private facilities, twin or double, air conditioning, TV with panoramic windows. The Vietnamese food on board is exceptional, cooked by experienced chefs and served by friendly local staff. Delicious fresh seafood meals are a delicacy.
The key to enjoying a Halong Bay cruise is to sit back, relax and take it all in. Watching the dawn or sunset and particularly the moonlight over the bay cannot be missed. Enjoy sailing past houseboat communities and pearl farms. There are many shore excursions available to explore the caves up close, rent a kayak or enjoy a beach visit for a swim. One tip the locals are football mad and starting up a game, which requires no common language, is a fun way to meet the friendly Vietnamese people.
How to get there
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: R.M