Hanoi Day Trips: Admiring Breathtaking Scenery at Halong Bay

What comes first to mind when I say Vietnam? Chances are that it’s Halong Bay. Aggressively marketed as the top tourist attraction, Halong Bay has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its outstanding geological and scenic value. Certainly, the long journey from Hanoi has not daunted tourists who continue to swarm the area to enjoy picturesque natural landscapes all around. 

Halong Bay by day: Emerald seas and limestone karsts against the azure blue sky!


Taking into consideration that the journey is 3.5 hours for each leg, I would highly recommend taking a 2D1N trip out to Halong Bay from Hanoi. Even though the price is very much costlier than the day trip, you get to spend majority of the time at the bay rather than on the bus. You will have the opportunity to watch the sunrise and sunset out here as well and trust me – it’s gorgeous!

Halong Bay by night: Twilight hue during sunset

Once again, I booked our tour with Klook which signed us up with Halong Phoenix Cruiser for this trip. If you're interested, please feel free to check out the cruise package we took here.


Bus Journey

Like most other Halong Bay tour agencies, our guide picked us up from our accommodation in the Hanoi Old Quarter, making it extremely convenient for tourists. The minibus was very comfortable, making the long drive rather bearable. Nevertheless, you need not worry about the journey, as there will be a stop on each leg to stretch your legs and regroup. Even though both stops were at ceramic factories, I managed to admire the intricate carvings and impressive sculptures sold here. 

Beautiful sculptures of the Chinese deities - Fu (prosperity), Lu (status), Shou (longevity)

The eastward journey was certainly not as dreary as what many other reviews have indicated and the views were fine with the gradual transition from urban Hanoi to rural villages and towns along the way. Local children even waved at us enthusiastically as we drove past the countryside, which I found rather heart-warming and welcoming. Nevertheless, the star was the limestone mountains which drew “oohs” and “ahs” as we neared our destination.

Luon Cave

Here you'll be able to choose between the kayaks and the bamboo boats!

The first stop of our highly anticipated cruise was the Luon Cave which was by no means an ordinary cave. You may wish to either kayak through the cave or alternatively take the sturdy bamboo boat (and let the guy do all the work for you). The boaters here must be extremely strong as some of them were able to row boats with up to 20 passengers, which was really mind-blowing! 

Mind your head when passing through the cave into the lagoon!

After passing through the cave, you will immediately be transported into an otherworldly arena of magical beauty. 

Kayakers against the 'tofu' rock

Surrounding you from every side will be rocky cliffs towering above you, making this location an ideal one for kayaking or simply relaxing in the embrace of Mother Nature. Listening to the chirping of the birds, it is hard not to fall in love with this place. 

Limestone karsts towering above and surrounding us from all directions

You may even have the opportunity to see monkeys leaping skilfully around the cliffs or from branch to branch. We were thankful that our boater had a sharp eye and managed to catch multiple sightings of monkeys nearby, which we excitedly captured shots of with our cameras. I hope you will be able to see these cheeky fellows when you visit Luon Cave too!

A cheeky monkey enjoying all the 'media' exposure whilst climbing up a branch

Titop Island

Named after Soviet astronaut Gherman Titov (the second man to orbit around the Earth and the first to spend a night in outer space) and bearing his statue at the harbour, Titop Island is certainly one of my favourite places in Halong Bay. You will have several options as to how you can spend your time here. 

Statue of Gherman Titov at the harbour of Titop Island

At the Peak: Admiring the Bird's Eye View

Views from halfway up the stairs - don't stop! It only gets better from here!

I highly recommend climbing the 427 stairs all the way to the peak of the island to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the entire span of Halong Bay. I hope you are well-rested because the ascent is definitely exhausting and will not be easy, but the scenery makes the sweat all worthwhile. 

Breathtaking views from the peak of Titop Island

Once at the top, you will be mesmerised by the amazing bird’s eye view of the natural scenery of the limestone karsts in the turquoise waters coming together with the puffy clouds in the azure blue sky to create a breath-taking view. Remember to capture this moment with your fellow travellers as it essentially captures the essence and beauty of the bay.

Lovely view of the sunset from the peak of the island

At the Beach: Chilling and Catching the Sunset

After making your way back down, treat yourself to a rejuvenating swim in the clear waters with the other visitors. However, our tour guide had advised us that it was the jellyfish season and that it was better for us to stay on shore to avoid being stung by the creatures. Alternatively, you may indulge in the ball games on the lovely beach or just lie on the beach to get that nice, healthy tan you’ve always wanted to have while sipping on a chilled drink. 

Relax on the beach with a game of football or just chill around!

When it is about 5pm in the evening, head to the beach and grab the best seats to witness the spectacular moment as the sun slowly descends into the mountains. The sunset here is truly beautiful when captured against the numerous limestone karsts in the background. 

The sun peeking out amongst the mountains before disappearing behind them!

After the sun has set, most of the tourists would have left, thinking that there is nothing left to see. Nevertheless, if time permits, you should linger for a while more to see the bay in a whole new light which is equally stunning.

Last tinges of orange and red before darkness dominates the sky!


Sung Sot Cave

Sung Sot Cave started off our second day out here at Halong Bay. We start out with some slight exercise with yet another climb up flights of stairs, which is much less intense than the hike up Titop Island. The walking distance here is relatively mild although the paved route may be slightly slippery, so do be careful while exploring the cave.

It's so cool here - both in terms of temperature and magnificence!

Sung Sot Cave has numerous stalactites and stalagmites that have created numerous interesting structures which resemble animals like rabbits and even items like cannons. The key here is to let your imagination and creative juices run wild to explore the different possibilities of what the structures may look like. 

A cannon (on the left) shot a cannonball causing a hole in the ceiling - can you see it?

Illuminated by bright lights of varying colours, the cave is given a more vibrant and beautiful appearance that gradually becomes more impressive as you venture deeper in. When you reach the final chamber which is lit by the different coloured lights and the faint sunlight through the cracks, your surroundings will not to surprise you with its magical aura. After all, Sung Sot Cave is colloquially known as the Surprising Cave or Amazing Cave!

Sung Sot Cave brightly lit in all of its brilliance!

Cooking Lesson – Nem Ran

Our tour guide conducted a cooking lesson where we were taught how to cook nem ran, which is known as the Vietnamese spring rolls. The preparation method is relatively simple – just like how we roll popiah back in Singapore. After placing the ground meat, mushrooms and diced vegetables in the soft Vietnamese rice paper, we rolled it up and secured the ends with egg white. However, instead of steaming the rolls like in popiah, these spring rolls are deep fried to give it that golden appearance and crispy texture.

Nem ran is amazing after being deep fried to give it that golden brown colour!

They were ingeniously served as part of our lunch and I must say they were scrumptious and tasted similar to our ngoh hiang, just that it has more vegetables rather than the meatier ngoh hiang. Now that I have learnt how to make nem ran, I think I’m going to make more back home!

Review – Halong Phoenix Cruiser (4 stars)

Our cruise ship was a well-kept 3-storey vessel with nice bedrooms, a lovely dining area and a sundeck from which we admired the scenic views. 

Nice sundeck where travellers can sunbathe and enjoy the views!

Even though there were loud noises caused by the engine which was right next to our room, it did not cause any disturbance as the vessel was anchored in the middle of the sea and was not cruising at night. As a result, we were able to enjoy a good night’s rest.

Just checking out our clean, comfortable bedroom - to our pleasant surprise!

What really impressed me were the meals we had on board the ship. Every meal, we enjoyed a wide variety of dishes ranging from boiled vegetables to steamed chicken, from grilled fish to poached clams, from fried crab to boiled prawns. Even though we were all the way out at sea, fresh ingredients were used to prepare the dishes which were presented in an aesthetically appealing manner. We unanimously agreed that the chef really put a lot of effort into plating and creating quality dishes which never failed to satiate our appetites. 

Amazing presentation for steamed prawns, don't you think?

Refreshments like fresh fruit and coffee were available during teatime, while alcoholic beverages and soft drinks were available at the bar. Seeing as to how many reviews of other Halong Bay tours were criticising the quality of food they were served, I am pleased to share with you our positive experience here with Halong Phoenix Cruiser.

My personal favourite - fried squid! It was so tender and flavourful!

The size of the tour group was rather small as the ship could only accommodate 16 tourists, making it easy to move around. Even though the price was relatively steep, I found that it was similar to the prices of the other 2D1N Halong Bay cruise operators. Taking into consideration all the other factors, I highly recommend the Halong Phoenix Cruiser as it is really value for money.

Expect to Pay: About S$100 per person

Now that we have explored the Bay of the Descending Dragon, let's head back to the last itinerary on our mini-series on Hanoi - venturing to the southern region of the Hanoi city centre where we will be able to admire the last remnants of its French colonial past which has been preserved well in Vietnam's capital!

Are you inspired to visit Hanoi after reading this post? If so, please feel free to check out the affordable flight options which have been made available by Skyscanner in the link below. Download the Skyscanner app on your mobile device to have a one-stop station to compare airfares from the various airlines available! It also offers car rental, travel agent and accommodation in various travel destinations including Hanoi.


Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that I will earn a commission if you click through and make a booking at no extra cost for you. Thank you for your support!

Comments

  1. Looks amazing! I would love to travel to Vietnam!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rachel, Halong Bay really looks breathtaking and stunning! Hope you'll find the time to be able to admire this natural landscape for yourself! :)

      Delete
  2. Beautiful pics. Looks like a nice trip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was certainly amazing, since I love scenic places and natural landscapes :)

      Have you visited Halong Bay before? If not, do consider visiting this New Wonder of Nature! :)

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Halong Bay was so beautiful that I couldn't stop snapping away to capture these breathtaking views :)

      Delete
  4. The sites here are absolutely stunning! This is a great guide outlining and showing every piece of this adventure! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marquita! Halong Bay is really deserving of the title it has earned for itself - one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. I really enjoyed myself admiring the picturesque scenery and trying out new experiences there. Hope you'll be able to visit soon! :)

      Delete
  5. Love this well written blog post. Also, loved the pics. I felt as if I was with you on your journey. Looking forward to reading more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alexander! I certainly hope that by sharing my experience exploring Halong Bay, you guys will have a better understanding of what to expect and what to keep a lookout for there.

      Hope that you found it useful and that you are inspired to visit real soon to admire the scenery for yourself! :)

      Delete
  6. I loved your sunset picture of Halong bay. Luon cave sound attractive to me. I would love to attempt both kayaking and a bamboo boat. The peak of the Titop Island is a great vantage point for photographers. I haven’t seen anything like that yet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Abhinav! Halong Bay offered picturesque natural scenery throughout the entire area.

      Nevertheless, my favourite was up at the peak of Titop Island - my camera never stopped snapping away the entire time I was there! Hope you'll be able to visit real soon - I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did :)

      Delete
  7. Seriously, how can you not fall in love with Ha Long Bay? Your pictures are stunning and I'm driven to madness desire wanting to visit. The views from atop Titop Island are simply stunning and something that I want to see in person!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rachelle! Halong Bay is truly amazing and I enjoyed myself tremendously during the time I spent there!

      Indeed, the peak of Titop Island was one of the best places to admire the picturesque natural landscapes of the bay, especially during the sunset! :)

      Delete
  8. I've only heard fantastic things about Ha Long Bay but I haven't been able to get there myself yet. It reminds me of that movie Wayne's World whenever I hear it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey there! Hope this post helped inspire you to visit Halong Bay real soon, I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did. The scenery there is spectacular all around! :)

      Delete
  9. You seem to have had a great time in Halong bay. You photos are really good. I especially enjoyed the bird's eye view pics of the bay, the sunset pics and those of the cave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Denny! The scenery we saw down at Halong Bay was absolutely breathtaking and certainly could rival those of Milford Sound. Adding on Titop Island as an awesome vantage point, it truly is a photographer's paradise! :)

      Delete
  10. Yes! Get me there asap! I love the landscape on this area (as of what i seen on photos) and always wanted to get there. Planning to trip soon to get there so hopefully it be sooner than later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Danik, great to hear that you're making the trip down to Halong Bay real soon! The natural scenery of the limestone karsts and the waters is absolutely breathtaking and I'm sure it'll mesmerise you when you are there in person. Safe travels! :)

      Delete
  11. Thanks for sharing such a detailed information about visiting Halong bay in Vietnam. There is no need to refer any futhur websites. The pictures are amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jithin! I certainly hope that by sharing my itinerary and tips as well as the shots I captured there, like-minded travellers will have a better understanding of what to expect down at the bay.

      Hope you'll be able to visit real soon and admire the scenery there in person for yourself! :)

      Delete
  12. Your cruise looks fantastic! Those 400+ stairs were clearly worth it for the view; I'm impressed that your other photos have so few people in them, considering how crowded the bay looks from above.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jess! It is much easier to get these photographs when you're shooting from a vantage point like the top of Titop Island and from the cruise ship. Patience is also key, especially at these crowded attractions :)

      Hope you'll have the opportunity to visit Halong Bay real soon and get some great shots of the scenery for yourself as well! :)

      Delete
  13. Great post! I've been hoping to go to Vietnam for so long now, and Halong Bay has definitely been one of the main draws for me. Loved the pictures, loved the tips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Erica, great to hear that my post has helped you have a better understanding of what to expect down here at Halong Bay!

      It is absolutely deserving of its title of one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature - I'm sure you'll enjoy it when you're here :)

      Delete
    2. We went on a Halong Bay tour many years ago, but it wasn't as posh as yours! Halong Bay still looks as beautiful though. We used to go and stay on Cat Ba Island when we live in Haiphong. Is that the beach you were on?

      Delete
    3. Hi Kate! Nope, I was on the beach at Titop Island, not Cat Ba. That must have been a lovely experience living in Vietnam and being able to explore all the sights and sounds during your leisure time :)

      Delete
  14. Ha Long Bay looks incredible of course, but so does that cruise boat! I would hardly expect such a luxurious boat cruise in South East Asia... I love the sun beds on the deck too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey there! The best part is that it's really value-for-money as the price range for a typical 2D1N Halong Bay Cruise is around S$100 per person, which is the same as this cruise. So I'd say that the Halong Phoenix Cruiser is really worth the money, do sail with them if you're visiting Halong Bay!

      Delete
  15. I really want to return to Vietnam and see these amazing places! The beaches and the natural landscape is really stunning. Beautiful photos too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Halong Bay is really beautiful with the huge limestone karsts against the azure blue sky and turquoise waters. Hope you'll be able to visit the bay soon and enjoy the fantastic scenery there in person! :)

      Delete
  16. Very beautiful place !The beach, the caves and even the food looks awesome. Love the colours during the day and night both. They are so different it's difficult to believe that it's the same location :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! I loved the contrast between day and night and their respective hues.

      That's also partially the reason why I recommend taking a 2D1N trip at Halong Bay minimally - where you can catch that sunrise or sunset and see the bay in different lighting.

      Delete
  17. I went there last year, it's such a beautiful scenery

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Anita, the scenery at Halong Bay is really amazing. Do visit and admire the picturesque landscape in person - it's a whole new experience! :)

      Delete
  18. I like this post and your blog! congrats! I really should visit Vietnam at some point and I will take guidance from your post;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Great to hear that you've enjoyed the post and found my blog useful in planning your own trip to Vietnam! Please feel free to check out my other itineraries for Hanoi and Ninh Binh which may offer ideas on attractions to visit in the country! :)

      Delete
  19. Wow! The blog and pics brought back old memories for me! I had also visited Vietnam some time back and Halong bay was the highlight of my trip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Umang, Halong Bay has fantastic natural scenery which is sure to dazzle every tourist. Great to hear that you enjoyed your time there - I'd love to head to the bay again in the near future to admire the magnificent landscape :)

      Delete
  20. Omg those photos are breathtaking!! Wowowow!!! I need to travel more xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Iva! The bay itself is really beautiful, it would be great if you could visit Halong Bay in person to check it out for yourself. I'm sure it will not disappoint :)

      Delete
  21. O seu post é incrível, as suas fotos são tão reais que desperta o desejo de viajar mundo a fora. Parabéns!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I had no idea there were so many great day trip options from Hanoi! I think Luon Cave would be my top pick!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Brianna! They are all included in the 2D1N cruise to Halong Bay, so no worries about picking one over the other. Just do them all and enjoy a night's stay floating in the bay! :)

      Delete
  23. For me my first thought of Vietnam is the food and then Hanoi. But Halong Bay comes to mind eventually! I think it's because my mind doesn't go to beaches or sea environments naturally! But I would still love to see Halong Bay, no question! Your photos are incredible, I particularly love the one of the small boat coming into the darkness of the cave, that you are inside! And the view from the peak! We just did a cookery lesson in Chiang Mai, Thailand and I'd definitely want to do one when we visit Vietnam, love Vietnamese food so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kavita! I love those few shots as well - Halong Bay is really beautiful and its natural scenery will not fail to captivate every tourist's heart.

      Then you'll enjoy this cruise as well, since it has incorporated a cooking lesson to teach travellers how to prepare nem ran which is a local delicacy. What better way to have a cooking class than at sea! Not only do you bring back lots of photos and memories of your trip, you also get to take away a skill which can whizz you to Vietnam whenever you want in the comfort of your home :)

      Delete
  24. I loved Halong Bay even though we only did a day trip. Unfortunately our 2 night cruise got cancelled as there was a Monsoon coming through. But what we saw was beautiful. I loved Surprise Cave.... that was stunning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no, sorry to hear that! Perhaps you may wish to consider travelling to Vietnam during the drier season at from November to February, as monsoon seasons can be really dreadful.

      Nevertheless, glad to hear that you managed to check out some of the attractions here at the bay. Yes, Sung Sot Cave was cool with all the interesting structures and how the locals imagined what they looked like (animals, cannons and all)! :)

      Delete
  25. Wow the way up the stairs was so much worth it! Amazing view up there. I definitely have to go there as soon as possible :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michael! Don't we just love vantage points - they offer such fantastic opportunities to check out the scenery which is already beautiful as it is. Hope you'll be able to visit Halong Bay soon and get those great shots atop Titop Island! :)

      Delete
  26. I know its touristy but I've always wanted to go to Halong Bay! Those 427 stairs definitely look like they are worth the climb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, the attraction must be awesome to become that touristy and be recognised as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature! I'm sure the bay will not disappoint and you'll enjoy the scenery here in person - hope you'll be able to visit real soon! :)

      Delete
  27. Wow! Halong Bay looks breathtakingly beautiful! Those limestone karsts on the turquoise sea are stunning. I would love to see the magical play of colours at Sung Sot cave. Looks so fascinating! Climbing 427 steps is quite strenuous however worth the views you get from the peak. Oh that sunset is to die for! Food looks sumptuous too. Such an amazing experience!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Shaily, that pretty much sums up my entire experience at Halong Bay! :) The scenery there is really beautiful, and having plenty of gorgeous vantage points just made it even better to capture that shot I've always wanted of the sunset just peeking out of the mountains :)

      Delete
  28. Muhammad Ameen Sheikh22 February 2018 at 13:48

    I believe you wrote everything there is to about Halong Bay. I really liked the Sung Sot Cave, the picture which you take are awesome. Another favourite part was where you had to go through the cave in boat to reach the other side, that truly is a small adventure which I wish I would have a change to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! That bamboo boat ride was really cool, because we had absolutely no idea what we are up for. It somehow resembled black water rafting, but it's just a cave, right?

      Or is it? We were all in awe when we headed into the lagoon where we were surrounded by mountains from all directions. No wonder our guide kept it a surprise for all of us!

      Delete
  29. What? Only S$100 for the whole experience? That's pretty good! Sung Sot looks pretty amazing, it would have been even cooler if you could camp there for the night or something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Veyroniqa! It was really value for money, as we pretty much stayed in luxury and had lots of great experiences within that 2D1N span - all for so cheap!

      I'm quite sure you can't camp over at Sung Sot Cave, but imagine lying down and seeing all those lights at night certainly makes you feel like you're camping amongst lots of luminiscent fireflies! :)

      Delete
  30. I am going to Halong Bay next month, not sure I have time for cooking class but it look so fun. The view from peak of Titop Island is simply breathtaking, and your photography is good. May be I should going up the hill!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! You may wish to check with your tour agent on the itinerary and activities which will be conducted during the cruise. Most 2D1N trips probably should have it in the programme.

      Yes, please head up the hill at Titop Island. You won't regret taking in those breathtaking views at the peak, get your camera ready for some intensive phototaking! :)

      Delete
  31. This is one of my dream destinations, I am planning to explore Vietnam this year. Loved reading the post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anshul, great to hear that you're heading to Vietnam! I'm sure you'll enjoy your time here at Halong Bay which offers breathtaking scenery all around and lots of exciting activities like kayaking and squid fishing! :) Safe travels!

      Delete
  32. just amazingly beautiful. Those islands look like floating on the sea. Such a lovely place. The cave looks so fabulous. Hanoi is surely a must visit for me now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to hear that! Halong Bay has great views and offers stark contrast with the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, a charming capital city. I'm sure you'll enjoy them both for a wholesome Vietnamese experience!

      Delete
  33. The environment is just so serene and beautiful!
    I feel like sleeping there already!...hahaha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joy! There is indeed a very rejuvenating and relaxing vibe emanating from Halong Bay which will make you feel really comfortable and at ease.

      Nevertheless, I'm sure the views will take your breath away and you'll be treasuring the opportunity to capture these amazing shots with your camera! :)

      Delete
  34. Tip-top island looks amazing, I keep seeing pictures and I really makes me want to visit! Great post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amy, great to hear that my post was able to inspire you to visit Halong Bay!

      Indeed, Titop Island offers a perfect vantage point to admire the limestone karsts and turquoise waters surrounding the island from all directions. Don't forget the sunset which is absolutely phenomenal! :)

      Delete
  35. Hanoi is really breathtakingly beautiful and words could not express how spectacular the views are. I love the innate beauty of Halong Bay by day and night, it really made me speechless. I hope to traipse my feet here soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's fabulous! I'm sure that Halong Bay will not disappoint you with the gorgeous natural landscapes and wide variety of water activities which you will be able to embark on - like kayaking and squid fishing! Don't forget your cameras :)

      Delete
  36. Reading this is really making me think of Vietnam! Ha Long Bay is gorgeous and I'd like to come back and see these sights one day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here! Halong Bay offers such beautiful natural scenery which doesn't fail to allure travellers from all over the world. I'd definitely love to return to Vietnam and get to admire the views again :)

      Delete
  37. Great post! This brought back some great memories of my three day/two night tour of Halong bay! We had a similar itinerary! Beautiful pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kelly! I'm guessing that the 3D2N itinerary will include Cat Ba Island which is located near Halong Bay as well. I'm sure you enjoyed yourselves tremendously, since there's just so much to do and so much to see here at the bay! :)

      Delete
  38. Wow, just from your photos I can tell its absolutely breathtaking there. Sounds like you had an amazing time. I am now adding this to my bucket list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to, without a doubt!

      Its natural scenery is fantastic and admiring it either from a sundeck or a vantage point just accentuates its beauty. Hope you'll be able to visit it soon and check out how beautiful it is in person! :)

      Delete
  39. Sch beautiful pictures you have here , This place is looking so awesome, Loved reading this :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Great to hear that, Halong Bay is absolutely amazing with great views. Hope you'll be able to visit it soon as well!

      Delete
  40. what a comprehensive post! thanks! love the photos - especially the ones you took after you had climbed up 400 odd steps! and sunset. The boat looked lovely and the food delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Halong Bay was a great experience. The natural scenery at the bay was spectacular and well deserving of its title as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

      Additionally, we were able to enjoy our stay in a comfortable cruise ship with great facilities for an affordable rate (all included). So that's icing on the cake! :)

      Delete
  41. Stunning. It was actually images of Ha Long Bay that made me want to travel in the first place. I visited a couple of years back but ended up disappointed as having travelled the 3 or so hours from Hanoi, none of the boats were allowed out in the water due to a typhoon. Just means I need to go back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no, Matt! That must have been dreadful, but it sounds like the officials made a judgement call with the travellers' interests and safety at heart.

      Perhaps, you may wish to visit Vietnam during the dry season which may potentially reduce the risk of such occurrences. Hope you'll be able to admire the scenery in person real soon! Good luck, buddy! :)

      Delete
  42. Looks so pretty and picturesque... and I love the idea that you took a cooking lesson. Ur post is making me want to take a trip like right now. Can’t wait to chk this of the list :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Karishma! What better way to learn cooking than floating in the middle of Halong Bay, admiring the amazing landscapes around the cruise ship and wrapping those spring rolls?

      The experience was amazing and is actually included in many of such cruise packages, so you may wish to check them out as well! I'm sure you'll enjoy Halong Bay! :)

      Delete
  43. Halong Bay is indeed an iconic sight and the one that is usually synonymous with Vietnam. I do understand that the place may get crowded but then one must visit this place. Your suggestion of making it a 2D 1N trip is really sound . Would love to see the sunrise and sunset. The cruise looks like a great experience, would love to laze on the sundeck and feast the eyes on the amazing views.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, Sandy! There must be some charm for a place to be able to attract such massive hordes of tourists, right? I guess it all depends on the tour guide, because ours recommended for us to wake up slightly earlier to reach Sung Sot Cave before schedule to avoid the crowds. It really helped get better shots for sure! :)

      Delete
  44. Halong Bay truly is breathtaking. Unfortunately, tourists and locals alike are polluting it and ruining its natural beauty! It sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed your trip there. I agree it's definitely worth it to stay overnight on a boat (I did 2 nights and do NOT recommend that).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Tara! I guess your itinerary included a stopover at Cat Ba Island, but I figured that having a 2D1N cruise would be perfect (not too long, not too short).

      Pollution is definitely an issue that must be highlighted. I guess I did see the vessels just dumping wastewater into the bay and the inconsiderate lot of tourists just littering. I guess the catchphrase is responsible tourism!

      Delete
  45. I definitely have heard about Halong Bay and I am dreaming to go! It looks so beautiful over there! Especially that view from Bird's Eye View! I would climb those stairs no matter what! And what a beautiful sunset you captured! I cant wait to visit Vietnam!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Adrianna! That was the same thing I was thinking as I dashed up the stairs initially and slowly began to trudge my way up. The climb was definitely worthwhile after seeing those scenic views and capturing these memories in photos.

      Great to hear that you're excited to visit this lovely country. I hope you'll be able to admire these lovely sights in person really soon! :)

      Delete
  46. Wow what a beautiful mix of nature and human innovation. I know I would enjoy a visit here. Plus those blue waters look so calming. What a truly stunning place and your pics are gorgeous

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tahnee! I'm guessing that you're talking about the Sung Sot Cave. Human creativity in identifying the structures does add some depth into the already intriguing natural phenomena of stalactites and stalagmites!

      The views here at the bay are gorgeous, do check them out for yourself. I'm sure you'll enjoy it! :)

      Delete
  47. your Ha Long Bay experience looks a lot better than mine was! I had a great time on mine but wow, you did so much more stuff and had some amazing views!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Eli, glad to hear that you enjoyed yourself while visiting Halong Bay! I'm guessing that you did the day trip when you said that you didn't manage to see as much as you'd like to. Due to time constraints, I would not recommend the day trip where there certainly is not enough time to see much (factoring in the 3.5 hour bus ride per leg from Hanoi).

      Hope you'll be able to check out the bay with more time to spare this time! I'm sure you'll be able to experience more with a 2D1N cruise which will go at a more relaxed pace as well! :)

      Delete
  48. Anything that involves wild monkeys, lagoons and caves, kayak rides and lovely traditional dinners... I'm SO in! Gorgeous pictures by the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Sounds like Halong Bay is the ideal travel destination for you, since it incorporates all the elements that you'd like to have on a vacation.

      Don't forget the amazing natural landscapes as well, for which Halong Bay was accorded UNESCO World Heritage status! Hope you'll be able to visit soon and you're in for an amazing experience!

      Delete
  49. I had a wonderful day trip to Halong Bay when I backpacked through Vietnam. Such a beautiful place with amazing scenery! Next time I will be sure to book onto the Phoenix Cruiser next time it looks awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Perri, great to hear that you enjoyed your time at Halong Bay! I'm sure you were dazzled by the breathtaking natural landscapes all around - just like me!

      I had a fantastic experience on the Halong Phoenix Cruiser in terms of service, food, accommodation and value. Taking the 2D1N cruise will definitely pan out perfectly. Do check them out! :)

      Delete
  50. I visited these spots about 6 years ago and I so wish I had a camera on me to capture those spots like you have! Looks amazing, and makes me want to go back there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Zainob! Sounds like you enjoyed the natural landscapes of Halong Bay which never fails to allure tourists with its amazing beauty.

      Hope you'll be able to return to the bay soon and capture the scenic views on your camera this time! I'm sure it'll be very satisfying to get splendid shots on camera and share them with like-minded travel enthusiasts and nature lovers! :)

      Delete
  51. Your pictures and detailed writing makes me dream about Halong Bay, hope to visit the place soon. I love the captures from half way up the stairs where boats are leaving the water trail behind and sculptures from ceramic factory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Priyanka! I find it quite sad when some tourists just rush to get from one place to another that they miss out on some lovely shots they may have gotten on their way there.

      Someone once told me that the secret to getting great shots is to slow down and occasionally look back. That's what I did - and I managed to capture the scene when some boats were entering the dock at Titop Island. Glad you liked it! :)

      Delete
  52. We were in Hanoi in 2016 for a visa run and really wanted to get out to Halong Bay. But embassy appointments kept us grounded in the capital, and so I'm jealous while reading this. I didn't realise how much Halong Bay had to offer. Sounds great that you can do your own kayaking, explore caves, stay in a boat cabin low cost. Now I want to visit even more...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no, as much as Hanoi is a charming city, I can feel you when you weren't able to head down to Halong Bay as you had expected...

      Taking that in a positive light, perhaps this will give you an impetus to visit Vietnam again to be able to admire the lovely sights of Halong Bay! Hope you'll be able to take in the views in person real soon, kay! :)

      Delete
  53. Although this is not on my travel bucket list, those photos of yours really put Halong Bay on my map. It looks like an amazing place! I would totally climb those 400 something stairs, just to have that view. And that sunset... unbelievable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Iulia, great to hear that! I shared similar thoughts previously, wondering how beautiful Halong Bay could be since I've already visited the legendary Milford Sound in New Zealand.

      This trip absolutely converted me though, and I'm glad that I visited Halong Bay to be able to take in the magnificent natural scenic landscapes that it has to offer. Hope you'll be able to visit real soon! :)

      Delete
  54. I love the colors in your pictures It makes the place look so vibrant and beautiful. The caves would br my favorite besides of course all the beaches that you have shared I All in all, i think I would love this place

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure you'll enjoy Halong Bay tremendously, as it just has so much to offer. From spectacular natural landscapes all around to myriad water activities, from magnificent vantage points to luxurious cruises! Plenty to cater to different tastes :)

      Yes, Sung Sot Cave was amazing as well. I loved how the guides gave intriguing details like how certain structures resembled some things, which definitely added some colour to the cave :)

      Delete
  55. I went to those places and loved it! Ha long is sch a magical spot

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely to hear that you enjoyed your time at Halong Bay, Anita! The limestone karsts, turquoise waters and caves indeed work magical wonders in this Bay of the Descending Dragon! :)

      Delete
  56. Thank you for giving us a virtual tour of this place...it's beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to hear that! Hope that you guys will be able to head down to Halong Bay to admire the scenic views in person, because that just takes it to a whole new level - to be surrounded by the scenery the entire time! :)

      Delete
  57. I can imagine the surprised after kayaking through the cave and presented with the beauty of the cliffs. It's incredible. Any idea on why they named the island after the Russian astronaut with his statue there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you asked that, Umiko! Titov was invited by Ho Chi Minh to visit the island in 1962. Since then, the island has been named after the astronaut!

      Vietnam has actually awarded Titov with numerous foreign awards like the Hero of Labour, Friendship Order and Order of Ho Chi Minh. So it may not come as a surprise why Vietnam invited him to the island and named it after him! :)

      Delete
  58. I definitely want to travel to Vietnam someday! Beautiful pictures, and I love the views out there. I have read so much about Vietnam and I want to experience the turquoise waters there, and the local culture. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Paula, you're spot on - Vietnam makes concerted efforts in preserving the rich culture and heritage until this day and age to give us the opportunity to learn more about the traditions and practices held dear by the locals.

      Needless to say, the picturesque natural landscapes at Halong Bay will offer you a much needed escape into the embrace of Mother Nature with its inviting scenery which never fails to allure tourists. I'm sure you'll enjoy Vietnam! :)

      Delete
  59. Wow, what a beautiful place! i can definitely see why it's a UNESCO site. I can wait to plan my own trip to this area and take in those bird’s eye views .. .though it may have to compete with a cruiser :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Bruce, Halong Bay is absolutely deserving of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not just that, it has been awarded the title of one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature!

      Even if you would like to go free-and-easy at Halong Bay, you will be required to book a cruise or ship to bring you to the various attractions available on the bay, as it's not possible to go on your own island hopping! :)

      Delete
  60. I love Halong Bay and taking a cruise on it is unforgettable! They are well worth the money considering the memories you leave with! When we went in February a few years ago it was too cold to go to the beach or kayak. I also agree that the food quality on these cruises is surprisingly good. That was also one of my favorite parts! This post makes me think of our time there! Thanks for sharing your awesome photos and experience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Taiss! Great to hear that you had a fabulous experience during your trip to Halong Bay. I hope that my post was able to bring back some of the great memories you had there as well.

      Some online reviews actually lament about cold meals and uncomfortable accommodation on their cruises, but it's a relief hearing that yours was a pleasant experience like mine. A comfortable cruise voyage just accentuates the natural beauty of this amazing place!

      Delete
  61. I've recently been to Palawan and it looks similar to Vietnam. I really want to visit Vietnam one day and you gave me great inspiration where to go. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey there, blogs are certainly the way to exchange ideas and share experiences together! Now that you've mentioned Palawan, I'm intrigued to visit that amazing place kissed by the sun, washed by the waves too.

      Hope that you'll be able to visit Halong Bay in Vietnam realy soon. I'm sure you will enjoy the picturesque natural landscape and scenery all over at the bay! :)

      Delete
  62. How absolutely breathtaking! I hope one day I can visit this beautiful place!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, Sherry! Halong Bay has amazing natural landscapes that will not fail to allure travellers like us. I'm sure you'll fall in love with it when you're there to admire the scenery in person! :)

      Delete
  63. I love your pics! Halong Bay is so amazing! I always wanna go to this place and I cant wait for that! Thank you for sharing this information ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Elvira, Halong Bay offers beautiful natural landscapes for a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. It's definitely worthy of the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

      Hope that you'll be able to visit Halong Bay and Vietnam really soon! I'm sure you will enjoy yourself very much here.

      Delete
  64. Yes it is truly breathtaking. Hanoi is on my bucket list. Hopefully I get the chance to visit it soon. I would really really love to see these amazing sights up close and personal.

    Liz Gen | fatmoments.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Joy, it's indeed a totally different experience looking at these photographs and admiring the amazing views 360° from fantastic vantage points. Catching the sunset against the backdrop of the mountainous landscape is absolutely spectacular as well!

      Delete
  65. Loved day trips from Hanoi as they are all are nature trips. Tofu rock is really a photogenic one. I would take loads of photographs on Tip top island, as it looks splendidly amazing place. Loved your photography specially the sunset photo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yukti, this is actually a 2D1N trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay, so they are not day trip options where you have to pick one over the other. You'll have the opportunity to take up the package and visit all of them together, so that means no dilemmas and no missing out on amazing sights!

      Titop Island indeed offers a fantastic vantage point to admire Halong Bay's landscapes and get some great shots of the limestone karsts and waters. The sunset just accentuates the beauty even more! :)

      Delete
  66. The picture of Sung Sot Cave is really beautiful! This is really interesting to read as Halong Bay will be the last destination on my current travels. Is it best to book a 2D 1N tour in advance, or can you get good deals on arrival in Hanoi?

    ReplyDelete
  67. Ahhh.. This makes me want to book a trip to Halong Bay! The cruise looks and sounds spectacular! I thing the price is worth it! Good to know they keep it anchored the whole night as there may be guests who will it uncomfortable otherwise.

    Great overall information about Halong Bay, btw.. So many things to do and great insights!

    ReplyDelete
  68. When I was there I made a detour to go here to this bay. But I had bad luck ... it was very bad weather and I could not get transportation there. Next time!!!

    ReplyDelete
  69. Halong bay has been on my wish list for a while and you've only made me want to go even more now!! Those views from the top of the rocks are absolutely stunning!! And the sunset looks magical!! We are going to have to get there in the next few years I think!

    ReplyDelete
  70. There is so much to see and do in Halong Bay that I hadn't realised before this post! Sure, I've seen photos so many times but haven't ever looked too much into what to do there. The cruiser looks amazing! I think it'd be the perfect way to see the area, and I'd love to take a Vietnamese cooking class - spring rolls are my favourite!

    ReplyDelete
  71. This looks amazing! Definitely inspired to book a trip to Vietnam and try some of that food for sure! Gorgeous photographs!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Yes, Halong bay is in my bucket list!!! Vietnam is one of the few countries in SEA that I haven't seen yet! I'll definitely travel there soon.

    ReplyDelete
  73. I wish I could just fly over to Vietnam. Your post with pictures are so appealing. Loved the stunning Sung Sot cave. It is truly magnificent. This place is surely in my bucket list. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Have been to Vietnam, and even Halong Bay, but we only took a day trip on the junk boats. Looking at your photos, and the interiors of the boat, I so want to head out again, and this time stay for atleast 2 days in the boat, and witness the amazing sunrise and sunsets too.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Wow, there is a lot of places we haven't been! The Sung Sot cave looks amazing! Great information, and pictures. Thank you so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  76. This is a really useful post showing how to make the most of visiting this beautiful part of the world. Great tips! Have pinned.

    ReplyDelete
  77. This is such a great guide, thanks for all the information! Halong bay looks stunning and I really like the picture with the monkey :D

    ReplyDelete
  78. Wow! The scenes really are breathtaking! The view from Tiptop Island looks positively stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  79. That looks amazing. Hope to get there one day too.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to Laos - the Mysterious Land of a Million Elephants!

Vang Vieng Experiences: Hiking to a Secret Viewpoint

Getting Around Vientiane - Wheels or Heels?