Discover Halong Bay, Vietnam

The other day someone asked me why I chose Halong Bay, Vietnam as my vacation destination? This person, Jack, is a travel enthusiast and he thought I had missed the point by traveling to Halong Bay. Looking back I feel the boot was on the other foot; it’s him and many others who don’t really know what this fascinating bay has to offer who miss the point.

So why did I chose this destination? For one, this is a designated World Heritage site and the reasons for that are many and compelling. From towering limestone pillars, the wave-eroded grottoes to the ethereal beauty it’s no wonder that this location is the country’s number one tourist destination. But these are not the only reasons that would make anyone want to visit this part of Vietnam. Think of the endless list of attractions and things to do in Halong Bay and you quickly agree with me that this is one place worth a visit. The attractions cover mind-blowing natural wonders and manmade features and things to do. Sample the following:

The grottoes
It’s only in Halong Bay that you’ll experience the world’s largest cave among other equally majestic cave systems. Yes, the Hang Son Doong is located here. The beauty inside these gigantic chambers is surreal. You can imagine the feeling of I got inside the more than three-mile long and 200 meters main tavern that is big enough to accommodate a complete New York City block. The eco-system inside this grotto is unique and even has its own weather system.

An excursion to Cat Ba Archipelago
Within the 367 islands in this archipelago, you get Cat Ba island home impressive natural beauty. If you love trekking like I do then you test your shoes and muscles at Cat BA National Park, it’s a perfect place for climbing and trekking. Kayaking and Scuba Diving For water enthusiasts, this bay has plenty to offer. The calm tides and blue waters are ideal for padding from one limestone outcrop to the next and even through caves. The good thing is that most tour packages have kayaking as part of the package. For underwater expeditions why not try scuba diving and snorkeling in the waters of Holang Bay? You’ll love it.

The floating villages
It was quite an experience visiting the floating villages of this bay. I’d read about these four villages Ba Hang, Cong Dam, Vung Vieng and Cua Van but I really wanted to go and experience life there first hand. It’s amazing how these friendly people cook, wash, learn and even work on a boat. Visiting these villages was a humbling and fascinating experience.

A trip to the beach
This gives one a great sun-bathing experience. Lying there on the sand one gets a beautiful view of the bay. The notable beaches you can visit include Tiptop, Chau, Soi Sim , and Ba Trai. But note that you can’t visit the beaches alone so you need to get a tour that includes beach time with other visitors. The great thing is that such tours often include the other activities mentioned earlier.

Exploring the city
Halong City has its fair share of fun and things to do. Bhai Chay market sells everything from cheap clothing to fresh produce. Several restaurants that serve authentic dishes dot the city.

The list of things to do and places to visit in Halong Bay is endless; we’ve not mentioned the junk boat cruises, squid fishing at night shopping in Halong and many more. The point here is that my visit to this pretty destination was worth every coin and moment. Try it out and you’ll see why Jack missed the point.

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