After spending 3 days in Hanoi I joined forces with a fellow backpacker from South Korea and we went on a one-day trip to Halong Bay, a gorgeous, stunning bay and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with multiple limestone islands. It’s a very popular tourist destination.
Hạ Long Bay, in northeast Vietnam, is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. Junk boat tours and sea kayak expeditions take visitors past islands named for their shapes, including Stone Dog and Teapot islets. The region is popular for scuba diving, rock climbing and hiking, particularly in mountainous Cát Bà National Park.
We got on a 1-night ferry trip around this stunning and scenic area. I remember approaching those unique mountains above the sea level. It was an amazing experience. The landscape was just outstanding. We spent the whole day walking and lying on the top deck of the ferry, enjoying the sights and the warm breeze.
We got off the boat a few times to see interesting places. The first was the Ti Top island, basically a big hill with a viewing pagoda on top and a beach at the bottom. Although the view was stunning as expected, there were just too many people spoiling that gorgeous experience. Even taking a picture was stressful enough, so we moved on.
Another majestic place was an island south of Ti Top, a gorgeous bay and a landscape almost like out of a Jurassic Park movie. We got off there and entered the magnificent Hang Sung Sot cave.
The night I spent on the ferry was really nice. We weren’t on a party boat, so we had no music and no special lights. But I met some cool young travelers with whom we could chat, try fishing, play cards and just hang out into the night on the upper deck.
The next day we woke up very early at 6 or so, as the plan was to go canoeing and visiting another cave. I don’t remember where it was exactly. However, it was an awesome start into a new day. We reached a small beach by canoes where we entered the cave, and after exiting it on the other side, we ended up on a stunning, hidden little beach.
All in all I must say, seeing Halong Bay is a must for every traveler to Vietnam. It’s best to take a boat for a day or even stay overnight. You will remember the place forever.