With a mind-boggling 1,600 islands sprinkled around the shore, there are endless opportunities for exploring Halong Bay, and with 3 days to take in the highlights the best option is a boat cruise. A 3-day junk boat cruise is the ultimate adventure and there is a huge variety to choose from – here are some suggestions to help inspire you.
Day 1: Visit Cat Ba Island
Set sail across the shimmering waters of Halong to Cat Ba Island, the bay’s largest and most visited island. The main highlight is the sprawling Cat Ba National Park, where you can trek through the jungle and spot rare animals like the Cat Ba langur, civet cats and giant oriental squirrels. Alternatively, opt for a bike ride around the coastal fishing villages, then cool off with a swim at one of the island’s many beaches. Back on board your boat, learn how to recreate your favorite Vietnamese dishes with a cooking class, then tuck into your creations as the sun sets over the bay.
Day 2: Take in the highlights of Lan Ha Bay
After sleeping onboard the boat, start the day with a morning Tai Chi class on the top deck, then head off-the-beaten-track and set out for a cruise around the stunning karst landscape of Lan Ha Bay. Highlights include the Light and Dark Cave, Three Peach Beach and a floating Pearl Farm, but be sure to take a peek at the Cai Beo floating village and take in the views from Monkey Island too.
Day 3: Go kayaking around the caves
A kayaking excursion is the ideal way to discover the majestic caves and hidden beaches unreachable by boat. Top destinations include the aptly named Sung Sot Cave (Amazing Cave), Ti Top Island, Dragon Islet, Thien Cung Cave (Heavenly Palace Cave) and Dau Go Cave (Cave of Wonders). Alternatively, try your hand at rock climbing, paddle-boarding or squid fishing.