Why Halong Bay Should be on Everyone’s Bucket List

Why Halong Bay Should be on Everyone’s Bucket List

Millions of years in the making, travelers from all around the world flock to ogle at the impressive scenery that makes up Vietnam’s Halong Bay. Twice recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s most coveted natural assets- but it’s not just the Vietnamese that are showing their glowing appreciation for Halong Bay.

Any adventurous traveler worth their weight in passport stamps will have, at some point, dreamed about exploring the otherworldly landscape of Halong; the giant stacks of towering limestone rising from the crystalline waters, the misty sunrises, the palm fringed beaches, and the mysterious jungles. It wasn’t long ago that only the most intrepid travelers managed to access Halong Bay, but these days- everything has changed.

The local communities coupled with the tourism authorities have opened up access to new areas in Halong Bay that have previously never been seen. Not only that, but thanks to some substantial infrastructure developments over the past few years, getting to Halong Bay has never been easier.

Tourism numbers are skyrocketing; but what is it that makes Halong Bay so irresistible for all these travelers?

Breathtaking Scenery

breathtaking scenery of Ha Long

If nothing else, Halong Bay is extraordinarily beautiful. Just shy of 2,000 islands are scattered throughout the region; each island so diverse from the next that one may be home to a massive community of indigenous fishing families, and the next homes nothing more than 100 endangered primates.

The islands are but one of Halong’s breathtaking features; let’s not forget the incredibly rich marine life, the coral reefs, caves, jungles, and beaches.

Amazing Cruising Experience

cruising is the best way to witness the beauty

There are now hundreds of cruise companies rubbing shoulders in Halong Bay, and that number seems only to grow as the demand from the tourism industry continues to push on.

Visitors can choose to cruise anywhere from a fleeting 4 hours, all the way up to 3 full days. Overnight cruises are by far the favoured option, with most visitors claiming that a day tour never seems to be enough to experience the area fully.

Backpackers on a shoestring can find a number of budget-friendly options, whilst travelers looking for a little more luxury will never be short of 5-star Halong cruising options. Regardless of the ship you’re on, the scenery will be just as spectacular.

Impressive Caves

magnificent caves in Halong Bay

To this day, there are 59 discovered caves, although experts believe this represents only a small portion of what’s actually out there.

The likes of Sung Sot Cave, one of the most stunning Halong Bay caves, boast very large caverns and are visited by thousands of tourists every day, but some caves are so small and out of the way that they can only be accessed by kayak one person at a time.

Each cave comes with a tale, wrapped up in Halong’s own legend and history- something that the locals are always keen to share with interested visitors.

Beautiful Beaches

impressive caves in Halong Bay

This part of the world is well-known for its balmy, beach friendly weather, and Halong Bay is an ideal place to make the most of it. Considering there are 1,969 islands, there’s a lot of coast- and therefore tonnes of beaches worth visiting.

The beaches near the main tourist wharf are well-trodden and already favourites on countless cruise itineraries. However, for the type of traveler who prefers something a bit “off-the-beaten-track”, the likes of Ban Chan Beach will hit the spot.

Tonnes of Activities

kayaking - an interesting activity in Halong

In an effort to remain competitive and to meet the growing demand from tourists seeking a unique, authentic experience, many of the Halong Bay cruise operators now offer an array of activities- onboard and off.

When the weather is hot, travelers tend to favour water-based activities; swimming, kayaking, and snorkelling or scuba diving. On the boat, however, there’s plenty to do; from sunrise tai chi sessions, to authentic cooking masterclasses.

Charming Floating Villages

 local people still live in floating village in Halong

The floating villages are the epitome of Halong Bay’s culture. There are 4 remaining floating villages in Halong, the most visited of which is Vung Vieng.

Previously, the villages were populated by the indigenous folk, primarily fishing families who lived, worked, ate, slept, and were schooled in the floating homes. Nowadays, these people have been moved inland by the local government; yet the homes remain as they were, allowing tourists to have a glimpse into the deep-rooted culture of the Halong people.

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