Words can do little justice to the scenery that awaits travelers to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Hundreds of forested limestone karst formations rise from emerald-green waters, looking like slumbering creatures ready to stir. The islands have a legend behind them: The gods sent a family of dragons to assist Vietnam‘s emperors in repelling invaders, and the creatures spat out jewels and pieces of jade that turned into the islands. Many tourists come here on a day trip from Hanoi that involves an early departure, a three-hour bus ride to the ferry terminal, and a four-hour cruise along with scores of other boats before a transfer back to the capital. To truly appreciate the natural beauty with a modicum of solitude, take an overnight cruise—waking in the morning to the sight of the mist-shrouded peaks without the distraction of tons of other boats (and their gawking passengers) is unforgettable.

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White Dolphin boat in Halong bay

Apparently a private luxury tour of Halong bay for 3 days with 6 people only costs $250 per person! This ‘junk’ had 2 bedrooms, 2 jaccuzi tubs, a sun deck, formal dining room, and a staff of 5. Granted upon further inspection everything was just a bit off- the arms fell off the deck chairs, the jacuzzi tub erupted water like the Bellagio fountain, and the bed was as soft as a plank of wood. All things considered I’m pretty sure this is the 5 star standard for a junk in Halong. The lovely staff more than made up for any little defects in the accommodations. Our guide spoke fluent English and was a great pal. The chef made elaborate 5 course meals that were some of the best we had the whole time there. When he saw our enthusiasm for his artful vegetable carvings of birds and flowers he sweetly created a massive fruit dragon display for our final meal! I’d definitely recommend these tours! Be sure to bring warm layers though... http://www.whitedolphincruises.com/

Kayak with the Mcacques

Ha Long Bay has a surreal beauty-- and thousands of travelers there to ogle at it with you. Take an overnight cruise that offers kayaking, such as Vega Travel, to feel more immersed in the bay’s natural beauty. If you’re lucky, you’ll see monkeys on the rocky shores or swimming!

Take a Selfie in Ha Long Bay

Come on, how could you not?

Sunset at Halong

Sailing around the peaks of Halong Bay is breathtaking, surprising and most serene. Aside from the many boats (junks) on the water, a sunset return to the main junk by row boat found a moment of pure solitude.

Modern snacks, traditional marketing

Kayaking on spectacular Ha Long Bay is one of those must-do experiences in Vietnam. The bay, as evidenced in other photographs on afar.com, is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. While you’re out on the water, expect to be approached by vendors from the local villages in traditional wooden boats. They’ve stocked up on sea shells (at the back of the boat, above) and snacks they think will appeal to travelers.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay is by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to... It’s like the movie Avatar minus the blue guys and destruction. Tall peaks jump out of the water all around you, and floating villages are hidden around every bend. If you travel to Vietnam, definitely make a day trip to Hanoi and spend it relaxing on a boat in the middle of the bay.

Halong Bay

In Halong Bay, families in the nearby Floating Villages with travel out to the tour boats to sell their fruit and handmade jewelry. They’re kind and friendly, and happy to guide your boat back to their part of the village to show you around.

Nature's Work of Art

Halong Bay is a breathtakingly beautiful bay in the Gulf of Tonkin, comprised of densely concentrated zone of stone islands. The only way to see it all is to take a leisurely boat ride around the bay (a day trip or an overnight stay) soaking up the spectacular scenery, exploring the grottoes and caves, and just enjoying what seemed like nature’s work of art. http://0dysseusjournal.blogspot.com/2012/01/vietnam-natures-work-of-art.html


There is really no way to describe or capture a worthy photograph at Ha Long Bay. The lighting and air is so pure, and a quiet looms above the little islands. This was a moment of reflection. Our friend, Son, wanted us all to leap over the edge. We did.

Radical Beauty In Ha Long Bay

Ha long...we arrive in Ha Long to overcast but tame skies. Our Guide sets off to find our boat and the three of us hang near the van for no more than a few minutes... we are shuffled onto a sampan type boat among the many boats that push and wedge in for a front spot at the concrete steps. We have a five-person crew. The boat, small ship, as it turns out is ours for two nights. For perspective, that includes sea kayaks, separate quarters each with its own bath...breakfast, lunch, dinner and diesel. Our two-hour ride out to the first stop included a six-course lunch with wine and fresh crabs and sesame pork and whole sea bream. Dinner was similar.... Ho hum.... food plays second fiddle to the symphony of sights on Ha Long bay. Ha long is an orchestra of syncopated islands, set up like the notes of a composer’s work sheet, and conducted by the rhythm of the tidal ebb and flow. No matter the deity surely this is one of his finest movements. Our tempo has abruptly changed from Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell to Handel’s Water music suite and after lunch we stand on top of the boat, mouths open, thinking halleluiahs, but not able to speak. Our anchor spot for the night sits in a small bay with a view of a pagoda way atop a near by island. There are another 5 or 6 boats anchored within our view. Young Vietnamese girls paddle in small prams from boat to boat selling shells, fish, and Oreo cookies. Strange this place is.

Halong Bay Family

While docked at Halong Bay, Vietnam, this small skiff seemed to come out of nowhere and rowed over to our boat. The little boy had a small rubber basket filled with some shells that he wanted to sell to us. I love the little baby in the photo who seems to be smiling just for us!


I had a wonderfully fun and relaxing stay on Vietnam‘s Halong Bay. I recommend the 2-night trips - just one night is not enough!

Hazy, purple sunset over Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam: Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, it’s full of people. But at night, when the fog rolls in, and the sun is almost set, all of the other boats fade away and the only thing left is you. You, alone with the mystical mountains, and a purple haze. This brief moment of peace, alone-ness, and wonderment makes this place special and worth the trip.

Cruising Around Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is a body of water approximately 1,500 square kilometers in North Vietnam with 1969 islands of various sizes, 989 of which have been given names. It was designated a World Heritage site in 1994. Ha Long Bay means “Bay of the Descending Dragon” in the Vietnamese. The best way to see and enjoy Ha Long Bay is to board a junk boat and cruise around the bay’s islands. If you have time, try to take the overnight trip and enjoy a silent night in the bay. We didn’t have a lot of time so we took the day trip. We had a delicious local seafood lunch on board as we cruised around the bay. We also visited one of the caves and stopped at a beach for a swim and some of us kayaked around the bay. On the way back, we bought seafood from the floating markets and our cook made us a delicious dinner.

Resting Rower

Tourists have the option of paddling around themselves, in kayaks, or getting a ride from a local in one of these rowboats. I love this shot of the rower in “the pose” -- you see people everywhere in Vietnam sitting like this.

Cruising Ha Long Bay and Exploring Sung Sot Cave

Escape the heat and chaos of the streets by taking a cruise on the pirate inspired ships of Ha Long Bay. At a very decent price, you receive a quaint room with views of the bay, amazing dining options and opportunities to dive off the deck into warm, welcoming waters! Explore Sung Sot Cave, the center of UNESCO World Heritage, filled with stalagmites and stalactites, beautiful lit walkways and quite possibly the best escape from civilization! The crew on board is happy to help you with your bags and assist in making your experience one to never forget!

Boat Bargaining in Vietnam

The beautiful Halong Bay, about an hour outside Vietnam’s Ha Noi city is as awesome in reality as it is in pictures (albeit a little more crowded). There are literally thousands of boats running trips into the bay, some are amazing, others are grotty. Be sure that while booking a tour you are shown pictures of the boat you are supposed to be on, be sure to ask if that is the exact boat you will be getting on and tell the agent or hotel that you will be returning after your trip (even if you will not) and that you will book another tour with them if this one is good. Often times people on the same trip are charged totally different prices, sometimes $100’s different. Be sure to do a little research about what the boat you want should cost and do not be afraid to bargain hard!


The decisive moment.

Music Of The Night

I find the title very fitting. Halong Bay is the most peaceful, serene place on Earth. I attempted to take a photo of other sleeping boats. My less-preferred digital camera, despite the shutter and aperture limitations, caught this moment. I love how the movement represents musical notes.

Living on the waters of Halong Bay

The floating villages of Halong Bay have the most fascinating structures in vibrant colors. I found the squid boats to be most intriguing.

Local Transportation in Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is a great place to take a short cruise. There is a plethora of cruise ships to chose from; mine was a wooden junk, that carried 5 passengers on this particular cruise. The food was fantastic, the scenery - breath taking and the serenity, unsurpassed! There was an optional excursion to a village and school, these boats took us there.

Cruise Vietnam's Halong Bay on a Traditional Junk

Halong Bay is magical place. Sail through the mist to find karst formations rising out of the water, visit floating villages, and enter mysterious caves and grottoes complete with stalactites. Many tours are available, but we booked ours through Handspan in Hanoi where they were extremely helpful in planning many aspects of our trip to Halong Bay and beyond. A cruise is also a great opportunity to meet other travelers. Don’t miss out on jumping off the top of your boat into the crystal blue waters!

World Heritage Site: Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong bay is north of Hanoi and a registered World Heritage site. A fantastic place of huge rocky islands called ‘karsts’ that jutt up out of the bay, thousands of them, all trying to out do each other in size or sheer magnificence. Even though it is flooded with tourists in April when I went, it is so vast that, once taken by boat from the teeming port, you soon lose sight of the hundreds of boats that regularly ply the green waters of the bay. It is other-worldly, eerie, the day I went was overcast, but it had an incredible feeling of vastness and strangeness, like you had been transported to some other planet, a watery world made up of strange rocky shapes gesticulating at the sky. The great karsts themselves, I was told, took around twenty million years to form in the muggy tropical climate of northern Vietnam. A must for any visit to South East Asia.

Kayaking in Ha Long Bay

As if visiting the “Descending Dragon Bay” (Ha Long) on a traditional junk wasn’t magical enough, we then discovered the joys of seeing it up close. On our double kayaks, we paddled through islets and visited the floating fishing villages. Our only mistake was booking only one night on the Paloma Cruise....next time we’ll stay longer.

Kids life on the water

One of the most interesting parts of my Ha Long Bay cruise was stopping at a fishing village where these children were just getting out of school for the day. Watching these kids row their own boats was interesting as we sat in rowed boats with our life vests on. They also used their feet to row which I had never seen before. Some of these kids may have never set foot on ground yet.

View of Ha Long Bay

The highlight of my trip to Vietnam was the calm cruise of Ha Long Bay. It was very peaceful and the view of all the limestone rock islands never ceased to amaze me.

A Birdseye View over Halong Bay

A unique new seaplane service has just started operating in Vietnam meaning that it’s now possible to see stunning Halong Bay from the air. Travellers are treated to a spectacular birds-eye scenic view of the thousands of green limestone islands and crystal clear waters.

The Bay Of Descending Dragons

Halong Bay is considered to be the most beautiful vista in Vietnam. It consists of 1,969 islands and islets situated in the Gulf of Tonkin.This area is known for its spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Ha Long Bay has been recognized as a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO. The literal meaning of “Halong” is “Bay of Descending Dragons”. A local legend says that a family of dragons was sent to defend the land long ago when the Vietnamese were fighting the Chinese invaders. The dragons thought it was so beautiful that they decided to stay upon what is now Halong Bay.It houses a great diversity of ecosystems including coral reefs, freshwater swamp forests, mangrove forest, small freshwater lakes, and sandy beaches. There are monkeys. It only accessible by boat. For more photos and info go to http://travelwellflysafe.com/2014/11/23/halong-bay-the-bay-of-descending-dragons-viet-nam/

Kayaking Halong Bay, Vietnam

There is nothing like kayaking quietly across turquoise water and around the limestone cliffs of Halong Bay, Vietnam. Choose an overnight boat that includes kayaking and explore the floating market and pearl factory, or just take in the complete silence around you. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is absolutely worth the trip.

Boat Trip in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Everyone should be required to visit Ha Long Bay once in their lives. The UNESCO World Heritage site is a collection of 1,600 sandstone islands towering above emerald blue waters. Don’t be dismayed by the shabby main port, the real beauty lies off shore. The best way to see the area in on an overnight boat tour. The bay is a favorite among scuba divers, hikers and rock climbers. On your way back to Hanoi, be sure to visit Tam Coc, the Ha Long Bay on land. Take a row boat ride along the river past limestone towers and through large natural caves that will make you like you are living in The Goonies and searching for one-eyed Willies ship.

Halong Overview

With many bewitched landscapes, the diverse flora and fauna with archaeological and geological significance, being close to international gateway, Halong Bay is listed as one of the best known destinations of Vietnam for foreign tourists.

Halong overview

Located in the west of Gulf of Tonkin, Halong bay is about 170 km east of Hanoi. Halong city is close to the north coast of the gulf. The total area of Halong bay is 1,553 km2, including two popular bays: Bai Tu Long bay in the east and Lan Ha bay (home to Cat Ba island) in the south. Halong bay is well-known with not only fascinating natural caves that formed millions of years and scattered across 1,969 islands but species diversity as well.

Things to do when coming to Halong

Halong bay is a popular destination in Vietnam with the large number of tourists coming annually so visitors can taste both of Halong cuisine and West foods when traveling there. Sea foods are well-known in this site because it is coastal area. One of the best way to explore Halong bay is cruise. There are many good Halong bay cruise with different prices and itineraries for choosing. When cruising around the bay, visitors also can take bamboo boats or kayaks to explore beautiful islets and charming beaches with white sand and calm water.

Seaplane is also an ideal way to admire this captivating bay. Taking a seaplane, tourists can see how Halong overview is beautiful. In some breathtaking national parks of the bay, visitors can take some treks or climbs to discover the diversity of Halong ecosystem and conquer the steep limestone mountains in islands of the bay. Swimming in the pristine and alluring beaches is one of the most exciting experiences visitors should not miss when exploring Halong bay.

The best time to travel to Halong

Halong bay is situated in Northern Vietnam so its weather is also divided into four seasons obviously: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Tourists can visit this beautiful bay at almost any time during the year. The best time to travel Halong bay is approximately from April to October because the weather in these month is quite cool and pleasant. However, travelers also can visit Halong bay in the winter months like December, January and February. Sometimes, the weather is quite cold, cloudy and rainy but there are still many warm days to enjoy the beauty of Halong in the winter time.

Halong bay attractions

Bai Chay: Bai Chay resort is situated in the shore of Halong bay, suitable for rest and bathing. The annual average temperature is above 20° C.
Co To island: Co To island still maintains pristine scenes between the Halong tourism bustle. To admire this charming island with the stunning coral reefs, visitors can take a boat to the island.
Tuan Chau island: this island is the most attractive island in the nearly 2000 islands lying in Halong bay. It is also the only one inhabited. This island owns the largest artificial coast of Vietnam. Tra Co coastline with white sand and blue water is an ideal site to take part in some exciting water games.
Luon cave: One of the most outstanding features of Halong bay is its huge cave system, each cave has its own beauty and stories. Luon cave is a typical cave lying on Bo Hon island, 14 km from Bai Chay. Traveling this cave, visitors will have opportunity to admire stalactite crystal slices formed over millions of years with various shapes and different sizes.
Sung Sot cave: This cave is situated in the Bo Hon island as well as in the central area of Halong bay. There are a lot of stalactites with various shapes inside Sung Sot cave.
Cat Ba island: Almost islets in Halong bay are covered by low shrubs while islands in the bay are home to many rare birds and typical tropical vegetation, especially Cat Ba island. This island covers Cat Ba National Park that attracts tourists with its alluring pristine beaches as well as its diversity of biology system. Besides, Halong bay is also home to ov

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