1. Seaplane tours
Seaplane is a truly spectacular way to bear witness to the beauty of Halong bay. Tours leave from Hanoi every day and in addition, there are 25 minute sightseeing trips from Halong that start from as little as $99. If you really want to impress your partner this is a must. Hai Au Aviation is currently the only company offering this stunning opportunity.
2. Enjoy Halong Bay on cruises
There are many cruise boats operating in Halong Bay. They all offer a superb level of luxury and comfort. Many of the cruise boats are built in the style of old Chinese trading junks, whilst others are more like the old fashioned riverboats. This is really the only way to enjoy all that Halong Bay has to offer.
3. Explore caves in Halong Bay
There are many caves on the islands that are dotted throughout Halong Bay. The most famous of these are the Sung Sot or Surprise Cave; Thien Cung Cave (Paradise Cave); and Trinh Nu Cave (Virgin Cave). The Surprise Cave is probably the one that more tourist boats visit. Don’t be put off by large numbers of visitors, these really are superb opportunities to visit incredible caves.
4. Watersports: Kayaking, Canoeing, Diving, Fishing
The tourist boats cannot navigate some of the really tiny channels that cut between some of the 1960 islands of the bay. Kayaking or canoeing presents an incredible experience. In some instances you can paddle through tunnels in the rock to experience secret hidden lagoons within the islands. Swimming and diving from rocks are also popular, and for the less active-minded, fishing is always a great way to relax.
5. Visiting Floating villages
The astonishing floating villages of Halong Bay have existed for as long as history itself. The most famous of these is probably Cua Van. It is a remarkable way of life that has remained unchanged for generations. Children can handle their own boats from the age or 4 or 5 and many can swim before they can walk. The villages have houses, shops, police stations and even the odd basketball court.
6. Squid Fishing
As night falls on Halong Bay, flashlights can be seen all over the place. This is caused by the activities of night-time squid fishermen. Most of the tour boats will offer you the chance to try for yourself. The ‘bait’ is shrimp and light. The squid í attracted to the light and hopefully take the bait. Some times of the year are better than others, but it is always fun up on deck in the still of the night, enjoying a beer and trying to catch these local delicacies.
8. Amazing Parasailing
For the more daring among you, parasailing in Halong Bay offers the chance to get a pretty unique view of the truly wonderful scenic beauty of the bay. The karst rock features for which the bay is famous, tower above the cruise boats, so getting up a little higher presents a unique perspective. This activity is rarely offered by tour companies, so you will have to seek it out for yourself.
9. Photography, catching beautiful moments
Never visit Halong Bay without your camera. This is one of the most beautiful places on earth and you will be rewarded with vista after vista that will take your breath away. As your tour boat rounds each island you are greeted by a completely fresh view. From high up on some of the islands to deep in the bowels of others, you will have some of the best photo opportunities of your life.
10. Eating Fresh Seafood
Lovers of great seafood hit the jackpot when visiting Halong Bay. The food on board the cruise boats is exceptional, and seafood makes the base for many of their superb menus. However, simply stopping off on an island and enjoying barbecued seafood on a quiet beach is also a very pleasant experience. Seafood is always best served fresh and it comes no fresher than fishing it our of the water and tossing it straight on the fire.
So there you have it, 10 fascinating things to do in Halong bay, but don’t take our word for it. Come and see for yourself. The cruise trips will collect you from your Hanoi hotel, bring you to see all this for yourself and return you safely at the end of what will be the trip of a lifetime.