The quintessential picture of Halong Bay will inevitably include a sailing junk, the likes of which dot the entire bay at all times during the day. And this is probably the best way to witness and immerse yourself in the wonders of Halong Bay, but there several other ways to see Halong Bay than from a cruise. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the best ways to see Halong Bay, including the a cruise.
1. On a Cruise
There’s something spectacularly surreal about being on that cruise passing through the thousands of limestone islands that fill the bay. And when you see that the Chinese style sails that are bamboo rods plaited into mats, it’s almost as if you’re transported back into time when Chinese traders ploughed vast ocean tracts to sell their good. If you’re prone to sea-sickness then note that the waters are calm for most of the year so you don’t really feel the cruise swaying that much.
2. From a Sea-Plane
A complete change in perspective to get a bird’s eye view of the magnificent bay from a sea-plane. An added bonus to the sight that is Halong Bay from the front seat, you will also be taking off and landing from sea.
3. Bike on Cat Ba Island
Most visitors assume that the only way to see Halong Bay is from the water but you can actually get on one of the larger islands and hire a motorbike or bicycle to see the island itself. Cat Ba is the most popular island on the bay and the landscape is nothing short of awesome!
If you’re already selected a cruise then chances are that a kayaking trip will already be included your itinerary but note here that most cruises only allow for no more than 45 minutes on the kayak. So here’s a tip because 45 minutes to explore hidden lagoons and underwater caves isn’t gonna cut it. You can either sign up for the 2 night 3 day cruise on which you will have ample time to kayak on the second day or you will have to make some special arrangement with your cruise guide to allow you more time on the kayak.
5. On a Floating village
You will not find this being advertised, particularly because these are not sanctioned by the tourism authorities. 😉 but hey, if you know where to look you could find yourself hosted by some of the families who live on the floating villages on Halong Bay and get a whole new take on life on the bay. Word on the street is that you’ll have to find fixers in Halong city who can connect you to families who could host you in their floating homes. Can’t speak of the experience but we know it can be done. 😉
So there you go, these are the best ways to see Halong Bay that we know of. If you’ve got other ideas then do share them in the comments section.