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.

READ MORE: How to Get from Hanoi to Halong Bay

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

More on travel in Vietnam

Click here to read all my advice on travelling to Vietnam. I’ve got over 30 posts, so you’ll be well prepared! 

9 Beautiful and Best Beaches in Vietnam

Top Tips for Travelling Vietnam Solo

Your Vietnam Packing List 

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


  1. 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?

    1. 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.

  2. 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

    1. 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!

    2. 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!

  3. 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.

    1. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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 !!

    1. 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.

  6. 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?


  7. 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

    1. 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.


    1. 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 🙂

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *