Vietnam has become a popular destination for people wanting to explore a country with a long spiritual history, as well as travelers just wanting to experience the beautiful countryside and enjoy the wide range of unusual foods.
There are many areas of Vietnam which people can travel around but I will be focusing on the HaLong Bay and its surrounding areas.
Most of these activities can be enjoy by backpackers on a budget but there are options for travelers with more of a budget.
I’m getting old now and my age has brought me some wisdom; I realize I need to have as much fun as I can and not worry about the things in life, so I believe all the places and things to do I’ve listed here are fun!
So here are;
- Places you can visit in and around HaLong Bay.
- Some of the things you can do in this area.
Dau Go Cave
Photo credit: Plusgood
This cave is located in the Driftwood Island, in the bay just east of the Tuan Chau Island.
Inside the cave, you’ll be able to see wonderful glowing walls and ceiling, with many stalactites scattered throughout the cave.
There is plenty of natural light that when reflected off the different surfaces, makes all kinds of amazing colors.
It almost felt like I was in another world. Another name for this place is the ‘Cave of Wonders’.
Cat Ba National Park
Photo credit: Controvento
Cat Ba is a large island in the bay with a small population of farmers and fishermen.
The national park is located on the north east part of the island and is a lovely day out if you like nature and wildlife.
There is a wide range of natural experiences to be enjoyed including waterfalls and caves.
It also has many different wildlife including deer, wild boar and many different birdlife.
You can explore the national park yourself or use a guide. Either way is fine but as the prices for guides are usually very reasonable, I would recommend using a guide as they usually know some of the hard to find places within the park.
Black Pearl Junk
Photo credit: Caitriana
This is a cruise experience which has become very popular among travelers. It has nine cabins which are very luxurious with great food served onboard.
It cruises around the bay to various spots with lovely views, many of them not accessible to most other tourists.
There are various cruise options including one or two nights aboard the boat.
This might not be for the backpacker on a very small travel budget but their prices are still quite reasonable. For example their two day cruise is $75 (USD) per person.
You can find out more information at this site.
Kayaking around the Bay
Photo credit: Txfiddlechick
One of the popular things to do is to kayak around the bay. It’s a great way to explore this wonderful place.
For beginners, I recommend using a company where a guide kayaks with you. They should know the good places to kayak in and should help keep you safe.
Make sure you wear a life jacket though, even if you are a good swimmer.
Photo credit: BenCullenKerney
Another popular way to explore this area is on land, by using the eco-friendly bicycle.
You can either hire bikes from one of the many hire firms or you can go with a touring firm on a cycling tour, which usually covers multiple locations and multiple days travel.
One of the companies which offers tours around HaLong Bay and beyond is located here which shows you all the places they ride in Vietnam.
The Cat Ba Island is also great for cycling which is shown in the photo above.
Whichever option you choose, it’s a great way to experience the views as you’re not stuck in a tourist coach or car.
This guide was written by Jack Harris who loves to travel and recommends Pedaltours for people wanting to try a bicycling tour around HaLong Bay and the rest of Vietnam.