Halong Bay

I had to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay when I was in Northern Vietnam.  Unfortunately, the only way to cruise around all the islands and grottoes is through a tourist company tour.  So, I decided to take part in an aspect of tourism that I don’t like in order to see the breathtaking views of Halong Bay.  It was worth it.

The bay has 1969 islands made of limestone with lush, green trees and foliage on top.  Cruising through the waters of the bay, you are surrounded by these islands.  The sights are stunning no matter where you look and even though there are multiple boats on the water, the area is serene and refreshing.  The entire cruise lasted about four hours, and I spent the whole time being overwhelmed by the ethereal stunning, incomprehensible beauty.  No wonder Halong Bay is often considered a natural wonder of the world.


As part of the cruise tour, we got to travel by sea boat through the water caves.  I couldn’t help but think that the large rock formations of the caves might come crashing down on us.  Nonetheless, it was amazing being so close to the water and the limestone.  We traveled through the caves to find nearly enclosed pockets of water that brought the serenity of the area to another level.

We also got to explore one of the many caves in Halong Bay.  Allegedly, a family had stumbled upon the cave when they were trying to find shelter from a storm.  I couldn’t imagine unexpectedly discovering such a massive, impressive cave.  Our tour guide would point to various rock formations in the cave and inform us that it looks like some famous person or object.  For instance, there was a rock formation that looked like a dragon and one that looked like a Buddha.  None of us saw these similarities, but agreed with the guide anyways.

2 thoughts on “Halong Bay

  1. I felt the same way when I was in Hanoi. It took me a while to accept that I could only see this wonder via a tour group. I went with a small group and stayed overnight on the bay and it was extraordinary –so ethereally beautiful it transcended all the tourism. And made me feel OK with being a rather rich tourist and not a backpacker.


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