Travel Guide: Halong Bay

Long billed as one of the wonders of the natural world, Halong Bay is an archipelago of islands and rock formations off of the coast of northern Vietnam. There’s something downright spiritual about cruising through these turquoise blue waters and passing a seemingly endless cascade of sheer limestone faces rising from the sea. The islands in Halong Bay come in all shapes and sizes, and exploring this awe-inspiring destination means getting to experience them all, from small caves only accessed by kayak to islands big enough to bike across and spend the night on.

The best (and seemingly only) way to explore Halong Bay is by boat, and there are a daunting number of options out there once you start doing your research. Suffice to say, I’ll be providing my boat cruise of choice, along with a detailed itinerary so you can get a sense of what a trip to Halong Bay entails. Read on for how to do this trip justice in three days.

And as always, don’t forget to check out #caro_in_vietnam for a photo diary of my travels!


The best way to visit Halong Bay is to tack it onto your trip to Hanoi, and schedule a boat cruise that departs directly from Hanoi. The company that I chose to work with is Vega Travel, and there was a wonderful ease to knowing that all I needed to go was book the cruise, and all of the details would be taken care of. 

On the morning of your choosing, you are picked up at your Hanoi hotel by bus, and driven to Halong Bay with your group. There you board your house boat (you’ll be sleeping on it that night), and spend the day cruising through Halong Bay, kayaking between the islands, and exploring caves in the smaller islands. The boat itself has an upper deck for sight-seeing and getting your tan on, and they have a full kitchen on the boat that prepares a family style dinner and breakfast for your group the next morning. We even had a cooking lesson on how to roll our own spring rolls – fancy that!

On day two, we hiked tp the top oh Titop Mountain on a nearby island to see the most incredible Halong Bay views, then docked on Cat Ba Island. We rented bikes and biked as a group through Cat Ba National Park, then spent the evening on Cat Ba Island, where we got to go out for dinner and drinks with some of our boat mates. 

On our third and final day, we cruised through the floating fishing villages, which were truly miraculous to see. These villages are fully formed and self-sustaining, and exist out in the open waters of Halong Bay. We cruised through the rest of the bay before docking and catching our bus back to our Hanoi hotel.


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