Halong Bay: The Most Beautiful Place in the World?

Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful places in the world, there’s no doubt about it. I booked a 1 night/2 day tour there when I was in Vietnam for two weeks in August. To be honest, I didn’t know that much about the place beforehand but somehow had heard it was awesome and so decided to check it out. I’m glad I did. It was 5 hours from Hanoi, but worth every minute of the journey. Just a short boat ride out and we were greeted by these huge limestone karsts just scattered in the bay. Apparently there are thousands of them, but we must’ve only seen a small per cent during our time there.

Beautiful Halong Bay Beautiful Halong Bay

We took smaller boats to get closer to the isles, but were actually housed on a big Junk Boat called the Golden Lotus.

Beautiful Halong Bay

The smaller boat took us out to this ^  the ‘Surprising Cave’. As soon as I step foot in the place I was amazed – I didn’t realise then how huge the cave was. It was exciting for me to come across on a guided tour, imagine being the person to discover this place all those years ago?!

Beautiful Halong Bay

It was so hot and humid in there – note the lack of piccies of me here – I was a sweaty mess. The ground was slippy too, a few times I slipped off the path. If you’re going investigating places like this on holiday you need to make sure your travel insurance covers any sort of adventure activity, even if you have to pay a premium on it. Just check with your provider if you’re in any doubt, but do make sure. As long as you stick to the signposted walkways, and can walk steadily you’ll be fine but there’ll always be that one person who decides they want to go and explore further. Don’t be that person.

Beautiful Halong Bay

The way they’d lit the Cave of Wonders up just made it all the more incredible. Stalagmites and stalactites were everywhere but the cave was so huge it never felt claustrophobic.

Beautiful Halong Bay

Beautiful Halong Bay Beautiful Halong Bay

They took us kayaking on the second day morning – if you’ve ever kayaked before could you let me know how you steer the ruddy thing in the direction you want it to go? I was hopeless.

Beautiful Halong Bay

We stopped to swim at the beach and there was a pathway to climb the limestone and look out over the bay, this was the incredible view.

Beautiful Halong Bay Beautiful Halong Bay Beautiful Halong Bay Beautiful Halong Bay Beautiful Halong Bay


READ MORE: Check out this great post from WanderlustStoryTellers, comparing the best Halong Bay cruises for you to choose from.

Beautiful Halong Bay


More on Vietnam

Vietnam Advice: What You NEED to Know Before You Go

What Vietnam Was Like, For Me

What Vietnam Was Like, For Me
An Awesome Two-Week Itinerary for Vietnam


  1. by Greg Vanderford on November 18, 2013  6:46 pm Reply

    Vietnam is a wonderful country. I lived there for 5 years and married a Vietnamese woman (and am going back soon).

    I built a Vietnamese language course which I've used to help dozens of expats learn Vietnamese quickly. Check it out:


  2. Pingback : Backpacks and Bunkbeds » Halong Bay: What to expect from a 3 day/2 night tour

  3. by shuyu on February 3, 2015  7:33 am Reply

    hi~if i plan to go vietnam for 5 days~any places i must go?i have no idea at all~

    • by Vicky on February 3, 2015  11:10 am Reply

      Hello Shuyu, it depends if you want beach, city, boats, motorbikes, or anything! If you give me a few more specifics about what you're into and what you're after I can give you some advice :)

  4. by melissa Fox on March 27, 2015  9:22 pm Reply

    Hi Vicky! love your blog!

    I would like to ask, if you have any advice for photographers like me and my partner, we are planning to visit next yr, and we would love to do Beach,City walks, boats, he loves to do motorbiking so is that OK when we just travel by motorbike from one place to another ? like from hanoi to halong bay? or its better to commute? what is the shortest days we can all do this? without cramming and still have days to relax and enjoy the place?

    Melissa Fox

    • by Vicky on March 28, 2015  8:53 am Reply

      Hi Melissa, I think a motorbike would be great! Would love to do that. The roads are pretty crazy in the cities of Vietnam though so hope he's a confident one! It took us about 5-6 hours to get there from Hanoi. I'd say you need to stay over – it will be too much to commute there. And I'd recommend you spend at least 2 nights on the boat in Halong Bay otherwise you will be too rushed. Let me know if you have any more questions.


  5. by Phoebe Pace on April 26, 2015  4:36 am Reply

    Hi Vicki,

    Have loved reading your blog, planning my trip to Vietnam and love the inspiration!

    Just wondering what tour company did you use for your Halong Bay tour?


  6. by neha on June 2, 2015  1:48 pm Reply

    Hi Vicky,

    thanks a ton for such a useful guide. I am planning a trip for ha long bay and hanoi from singapore but I have only four days in August 2015.
    so roughly I am planning as direct flight from singapore to hanoi. stay for one day and night and then leave for ha long bay. Can I take a package or do any booking from hanoi itself? which is the best way to travel from hanoi to ha long ( as our trip will be a short trip so time savingis important too.
    thank you very much !!

    • by Vicky on June 3, 2015  3:56 pm Reply

      I'd advise you talk to your hotel to get a direct transfer to Halong Bay – that would be the most efficient and quickest way. Otherwise you'll waste time in getting to the pick up points.

  7. by Indee Eliza on June 5, 2015  8:11 pm Reply

    I'm so glad I've found this on the Internet! Me and my fiancé are travelling to Vietnam in October for two weeks. I've planned HCMC for two days then to Nha Trang for 3 nights, then were to catch a flight to Da nang and stay for 1/2 nights then of to Hoi an in a taxi for 3 days staying near the beautful beaches. Then we were planning on getting the taxi back to Da nang where we would catch a flight to Hanoi and of to ha long bay for a 2 days cruise, when we return one night in Hanoi then fly back to HCMC for two days before we fly home. Do you think this is managable as we didn't want to push ourselfs and wanted to see and relax as much as possible. With regards to flights I'm guessing I'll have to book all these Asap but how long Is it recommended to go to the airport before your flight is due to depart? Also still not 100% sure on Visas as of yet and not sure how to go about them. Thanks so much for all the help from your blog! X

  8. by Arianwen on August 5, 2015  11:26 am Reply

    I'm off to Halong Bay in November. Having a look at different companies and no idea who to go with, but looks like you had an amazing time! Think I might do a longer trip though.

    • by Vicky on August 6, 2015  9:48 am Reply

      Yeah, I'd stay longer if I was you. The one night just wasn't long enough for how far we had to travel to get there. Hope you have fun!

  9. by Ria on October 9, 2015  9:50 pm Reply

    Hi Vicky, after reading so many sites etc yours is the one that has got me excited about my trip to Vietnam in December! I'll be there for 11 days with my boyfriend, the advice seems to be to stick to either the North or South for the duration as there is too much to cover. But we are greedy and want to do it all! Do you have any recommended itineraries? Place we want to go: Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Hoi An, Na Trang, Halong Bay, Cu Chi Tunnels, and i really want to see Sapa and Mekong Delta (but i think im pushing my luck here). Any advice you can give us would be amazing! Thanks so much

    • by Vicky on October 12, 2015  9:38 am Reply

      Hi Ria, yes, I have an *excellent* two-week itinerary (if I do say so myself) https://vickyflipfloptravels.com/two-week-itinerary-vietnam/.

      I went to all of the places you mention there, apart from Sapa. I think it's a great place to discover in the amount of time you have. It's up to your travelling style as to whether you'd like longer in each place, or just to move around quickly. I loved Vietnam – you're going to have a great time!

    • by Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad on October 29, 2015  12:32 pm Reply

      Ria, the Mekong Delta is really easy to visit from Ho Chi Minh, you can do a 2 day tour. We had to unfortunately miss Sapa too. Nha Trang is honestly missable if you're pushed for time, but if you want a stop between Hoi An and Saigon, take a look into Da Lat. :) You'll have the greatest time no matter what you do, I adored Vietnam!

  10. by Maritimer on November 29, 2017  2:55 am Reply

    Will be headin to Halong Bay in Feb, , is it best to take a tour package from Hanoi or is it simple and direct to travel to Halong Bay You mentioned a direct transfer from Hanoi but I am not clear as to what that means...a bus? a hired car?

    • by VickyFlipFlop on December 22, 2017  11:01 am Reply

      Hi John, sorry I’m so late to reply. When I went we booked a complete package from Hanoi. I’m sure you can do it both ways but we found this easiest as it is quite a long way. It was a good few hours in the car.

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