Is Halong Bay worth the hype?

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Last year, I headed to one of Vietnam’s most famous destinations: Halong Bay. Photographs of serene waters, disturbed only by striking moss-covered limestone casts and a smattering of boats are famous, but they don’t always tell the full story.

Cruising on Halong Bay

Depending on the time of year, thick fog can descend, obscuring the horizon. It’s still hauntingly beautiful and because I was travelling in September, it was the weather I was expecting. But to my surprise, the skies were blue and the waters still.

When to Travel is a useful tool to plan holidays with the weather in mind, but as you can see, sometimes Mother Nature does her own thing!

Having never taken a cruise before, I was unsure what to expect, imagining myself whiling away the day watching the world pass by from my cabin. But it was full on! As the boat left the harbour we had lunch and took a short break before taking to the water in a kayak or a flat-bottomed boat.

After another short journey we stopped off at an island where we could kick back and relax at the beach or climb to the top to enjoy the views.

Back on the boat, having worked up an appetite, we took part in a spring roll making class before a delicious dinner. All activities were optional, but most people took part, and staff on the boat were all friendly, spoke good English and were very entertaining.

I could easily have spent another night on board, spending the next day relaxing and enjoying the scenery. But alas, after breakfast and visiting some caves the following day, we travelled back to the harbour. I wondered whether such a popular place could live up to the hype, but despite the few other boats, it felt very tranquil and I loved it.


Discover Vietnam’s most famous destinations (including Halong Bay) on our Classic Vietnam Fully Tailored Journey.

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