If you thought the hideout in the James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun” was spectacular, imagine a place where there are 3,000 such limestone islands clustered together in the East Sea of Halong Bay. Paddle through caves into secret lagoons, drift down channels surrounded by cliffs and forest and sail out into the open sea. Relax on the deck of our luxurious double-sailed junk and look forward to seafood bought straight from passing fishing craft. Swim alone amongst the limestone islets under the stars and take a breather at a floating village hidden amongst the islands. Our fiber glass sea kayaks make for satisfying travel, whether you are an Olympic champion or first time enthusiast.
The best way to get to Halong Bay is to rent a car from Hanoi from a tour opganizer as ActiveTravelVietnam (ATV). It costs approximately US$100-US$120 return. There is also a tourist open bus service offered by travel agencies around the Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi. Cost is around US$8 net/person/way.
Public buses leave from Long Bien Station to the Bai Chay Station (other side of Red River, 5km from Hoan Kiem Lake) every 30 minutes from 6AM to 6PM and cost 50,000 dong/person each way. This is not recommended for foreign travelers, as these buses are often crowded, slow and unsafe.
THE POPULAR TRAIL (starting from Hanoi)
Day 1: You leave Hanoi for Halong Bay at 8.30am with a short break for refreshment at a handicraft centre. Upon arrival in Halong City you will board a Chinese-style wooden boat (locals call it “Junk”) for a fine seafood lunch and a short cruise to one cave. After a short exploration of the cave you start the kayak exploration of the bay, paddling through an amazing area of limestone islets, passing a floating village to reach Luon Cave, which is a tunnel thrusting through a mountain. Paddling through the tunnel to explore a beautiful secluded lagoon. End of the first with dinner and overnight in AC, private junk’s cabin.
Day 2: This kayaking day starts from Van Chai Floating village and then continue paddling to Dark Cave. The cave is a 200m long, dark tunnel thrusting through a limestone mountain. The tunnel is the only entry to a secluded and beautiful lagoon. You can also explore some other caves nearby. After lunch you paddle to Ba Trai Dao Lagoon, along a stunning and fairly rough sea channel, to explore its beautiful beaches. Then continue paddling to Lan Ha Bay, which is smaller than Halong Bay but much more interesting with lots of secluded beaches.
Day 3: Breakfast is served on the junk and you will enjoy the sundeck while the Junk navigates amazing rock formations of Bai Tu Long Bay to get back to Halong City. Lunch on the junk before heading back to Hanoi by bus.
WHEN TO KAYAK
You can do kayaking on the bay all year around but great time is between October and June. A typical kayaking day starts at about 8.00 am after breakfast. Lunch will be served on support boat. At the end of a kayaking day, we would return to the junk by 5 pm or 5.30 pm.
On this trip ATV use hard-cell, tandem kayak. Paddle, life-jacket and dry bag are available. We recommend you to bring some extra gears such as Sun block, hat, anti-insect repellent, sunglasses, rain coat. The kayak tour with well-trained and experienced tour guide is always recommended for a best exploration.