Vietnam’s Halong Bay is one of many highlights of a journey through the country’s magical landscape. The name means ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’, and legend has is that a dragon came down from the sky, spraying a thousand pearls into the water. From those pearls grew the staggering limestone peaks and crags of the bay, creating a natural fortress to protect Vietnam.
Most visitors join Halong Bay tours to enjoy the magnificent view and explore the islands by boat; navigating the maze of tight tunnels and limestone pillars is a quintessential Vietnam experience. Chinese-style junk boats glide across the bay, their dragon-fin sails drifting through the mangrove forests and coral reefs between the islands. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s an extraordinary place, and being here is like being lost in a legendary world of huge stone statues.
Definitely not a relaxing holiday, but if you’re looking to immerse yourself in a unique and fascinating culture, this may be the trip for you! It’s busy, you pack a lot in via a range of modes of transport. You cover a huge amount of miles (I loved the sleeper train!) but the rewards are great.
Ashley Thuong guided this trip with a huge amount of expertise and dedication. She made it exciting, enjoyable and great in every way. I loved every moment and would thoroughtly recommend this itinerary.
I am a little late in posting a review. We returned from this trip in early March, right when everything started to close down due to Covid-19. I can tell you that the memories of this trip have kept me going while sheltering in place. If you are thinking this might be the trip for you, please know that it is very fast paced with moving from place to place almost every night was quite challenging. The cycling itself was challenging based on one’s fitness level. My husband completed every kilometer, while I did about three-quarters of the cycling. A lot of it depends on the heat, but for a female in my early 50s, I found it very doable. We had the most fabulous guide and crew. I cannot say enough of about our guide Son – he was absolutely amazing – taking care of all the details while we enjoyed ourselves. There are plenty of water/snack stops with fresh fruit and amazing snacks (ginger/nuts/cookies). They take very good care of you.