Halong Bay - it's like nowhere else on earth
You know those visions of coastal Asia that hover in your subconscious, where traditional junks sail past craggy, forest-covered shoreline as an apricot sunset blazes into the misty horizon? You may think they exist because you watched too many Bond films, but Halong Bay looks just like that.
One of the world’s ‘natural wonders’, and an absolute must-see for any visitor to the north of Vietnam, the Bay (also spelt Ha Long) is defined by more than 1,000 awe-inspiring limestone karsts and islands of various sizes.
Of course it’s slowly modernizing, but Halong Bay’s UNESCO status makes sure it stays well protected. The area plays host to a huge diversity of ecosystems, including offshore coral reefs, freshwater swamp forests, mangrove forests, small freshwater lakes, and sandy beaches.
Folklore says that dragons descended from the heavens to help locals by spitting jewels and jade into the sea, forming a natural fortress against invaders - the islands that you see today. Several of these boast beautiful grottos and huge caves that you can explore during your tour of the bay.
Throughout much of the year (weather & season permitting!) overnight junk journeys give you the chance to sunbathe, swim and snorkel. You can be sure to stop at caves, deserted bays, remote islets and hidden lagoons. If you fancy taking things even easier, just stretch out on the sundeck, sip a cocktail and soak up the magic.
Environmental Efforts in Halong Bay
Efforts are being made to minimise the environmental impact on the bay. While the number of junks has increased in recent years, and the pollution levels in some areas are causing concern (particularly around the main ports), Halong Bay’s iconic status and irresistible beauty is still an essential stop on any journey through Vietnam.
Experience seafaring of yesteryear, on these authentic overnight (or two) traditional junk cruises, sailing the waters of mesmerising Halong Bay.