With 1,169 islands there is no surprise that Halong Bay in Vietnam is a stunning site to see. The limestone pillars with plush green forests tower high above the emerald green waters below.
The ethereal beauty of Halong Bay makes it Northern Vietnams most highly visited tourist attraction. For this very reason you can easily be sucked into a tourist filled tour that is really not what you are looking for. The cruise company will pick you up from your hotel in Hanoi and drive you there. It takes about 4 hours with one stop.The cruises range from 1 day, 2 day and 3 day. Most people recommend the 2 day cruises as it can be very tourist heavy and kitschy. We opted for the Auco Luxury cruise which included plated menu options with organic farm to boat foods and less cheesy events. The higher end cruises come at a higher price so the boats typically cater to an older crowd without children.
On our cruise we had several amazing meals, massages, went kayaking, swimming in the bay, cooking classes, squid fishing, biking through a village and exploring caves. Here are a few of my favorite aspects of the trip.
The food was spectacular! My friend Beth even caught a squid and the chef cooked it for us after. We also learned how to roll Spring Rolls.
We swam in the refreshing cool beautiful bay, did Tai Chi on the deck, went biking through the Cat Ba Island and explored the most magnificent caves in the bay; the surprise caves on Bo Hon Island.
The most stunning and surreal views in Ha Long Bay. Waking up every morning I felt blessed and I really didn’t know there were places this beautiful.