23 Jul 2015   |   Lists

Top 5 Things To Do In Halong Bay

Legend says a descending dragon created the majestic limestone karsts that rise from the emerald waters of Halong Bay, a 1,500 square-kilometre UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gulf of Bac Bo worthy of any traveller’s bucket list. Below are the top five ways to experience inspiring Halong Bay ...

1.     Cruise Overnight

Many visitors who book a day trip from Hanoi find themselves wishing they had made time to stay overnight. Halong is a four-hour drive from Hanoi, and day-trippers miss not only Halong’s marvellous sunsets and sunrises, but also the fun of sleeping overnight aboard a boat. There are numerous luxury cruise operators plying the bay, but for the most elegant experience, sail with Paradise, which offers a variety of vessels including the four boats that make up the just-renovated Paradise Luxury line.

2.     Explore a Cave

Pelican Cave, Drum Cave, Wooden Stakes Cave, Heavenly Palace Cave – of all Halong’s many fascinating caverns, the one with the biggest ‘wow’ factor is still Surprise Cave. Early french tourists who wandered among the 12,000 square meters of this cavern dubbed it “Grotte des Surprises.” An 800-metre path guides you through three chambers with thousands of curiously shaped stalactites and stalagmites, as well as twists, turns and, yes, surprises.

3.     Paddle Away

Get up close with Halong’s invitingly cool jade waters, small islets and deserted beaches on your own kayaking expedition. Aside from the friendly locals, many of whom live in floating homes within the bay, you’re also likely to encounter some of Halong’s thriving wildlife. The bay is home to several types of monkeys, as well as flocks of migratory birds and diverse marine creatures.

4.     Sundowners on the Deck

The big question on any Halong Bay visit is where you’ll be during the golden hour. Every evening the sun slips below the karsts, staining the tropical sky in luminescent hues and creating dramatic silhouettes of the karsts and mesmerising reflections on the water. We recommend claiming a lounge chair on the deck of your cruise, cocktail in one hand and camera in the other.

5.     Sunrise Tai Chi

Dawn is especially peaceful in Halong Bay, and many cruises offers complimentary Tai Chi instruction in the early mornings. The sights, sounds and sensations of a gentle Tai Chi session at sunrise will seduce beginners and regular practitioners alike. To a soundtrack of bird calls and softly lapping waves, focus your mind on the slow, flowing movements of each form as you welcome another beautiful day in Halong Bay.