When visiting Hanoi, you won’t want to miss Halong Bay, where a lot more than the famous limestone island formations await you.
After pick-up at your hotel at 7:45am, the bus ride through the Red River delta is a great opportunity to see what daily life is like for Vietnamese farmers. Rice fields and water buffalo flank both sides of the road. The most interesting glimpses into rural life come during February and June, when whole families are busy transplanting the young rice plants to the growing fields.
Arrive in Halong City tourist wharf around 12:00pm. Here you’ll board a traditional wooden junk and head into the bay. A fresh seafood lunch (vegetarian available if requested) is served on the way out.
The limestone bedrock and sheer cliffs of the countless islets have inspired local people to come up with equally fanciful names: Stone Dogs island, Duck island, Finger island, Incense Burner island, and Fighting Cocks Island, the symbol of Halong Bay.
You will then head on to Thien Cung (Heavenly Palace Grotto) and Dau Go (Hidden Wooden Stake Cave), two magnificent and otherworldly caves. Explore their huge chambers adorned with stalactites and stalagmites of all kinds. Finally, enjoy 30-minutes of Kayaking or Bamboo boat around the islands and water tunnels and bask in the charm of this natural paradise.