Kayaking in Halong Bay - Authentic Explore Natural Heritage

With all the tranquillity on offer when cruising around Halong Bay in the shadows of the vast, limestone mountains, the thought of shunning all of the activities and remaining on your junk boat just might cross your mind. Let's explore more about cruising and kayaking in Halong Bay!

Some tourists do indeed come exclusively for the cruise and prefer to unwind onboard rather than engage in any activities. This is fine, of course, the time is your own, but activities like cave exploration, expeditions to farms and villages, swimming and, especially kayaking in Halong Bay are strategically organised throughout your itinerary to maximise your enjoyment of the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site.

Panorama of Ha Long Bay

1. How do I kayak in Halong Bay?

Most tour companies have cruise ships fitted with racks of kayaks and oars. It is very rare to find a tour without a kayaking excursion, even on the shorter Halong Bay day trips where you get about 4 hours on the bay. The crew will explain the simple techniques for kayaking and show you exactly the area in which you should be doing it. Kayaking in Halong Bay comes with a few mild cautions, so make sure you listen to your tour guide:

• Holding the oar the right way might seem like a no-brainer, but many people grasp it with hands too close together or too far apart. Your hands should be just over shoulder-width apart and the concave part of the oar should be facing backwards.

• Don’t be afraid to use some force – the best kayaking trips are the ones you come back from with aching arms!

• The initial confusion of steering left by using the right side of the oar and vice versa can be a little frustrating at first, but you will get the hang of it after a few minutes.

• Avoid cave entrances as the water here usually has a strong current that is capable of drawing you in if you get too close.

• Keep a good distance between other kayaks to avoid unnecessary collisions.

• Wear the life vest provided at all times.

2. Where are the best places for kayaking in Halong Bay?

The openness of the region means that there is virtually no end to the great number of spots for kayaking in Halong Bay. You’ll have to abide by the strict tourism routes that the Halong Bay authorities enforce to protect the bay, but there are still a great number of places where tours stop to kayak. Here are just a few:

2.1. Vung Vieng Fishing Village

While some tourists opt for a relaxing bamboo boat ride around the tiny, colourful floating village of Vung Vieng, kayaking while requiring more effort, offers you much more freedom. The surrounding mountains and a nearby rainbow arch that opens up into a beautiful wide expanse are some of the things to see around here.

Vung Vieng Fishing Village

2.2. Luon Cave

Another outstanding area to go kayaking in Halong Bay is Luon Cave. Luon Cave features a short tunnel that opens up into a stunning enclosed grotto with emerald waters, reflecting the colour of the tree-topped mountain walls. The open-air nature of the Luon Cave offers a very quiet, soothing atmosphere, one that should not be missed.

Luon Cave

2.3. Cap La Island

According to some Halong Bay reviews, a great alternative to kayaking in the sometimes rather tourist-heavy Vung Vieng is Cap La Island. This area is in one of Halong Bay’s sister bays, Bai Tu Long Bay, which contains the small fishing village of Cap La along with the same amazing island scenery as Halong Bay.

Cap La Island

2.4. Dark & Bright Cave

If it’s a more adventurous kayaking trip that you want then perhaps opt for a tour that ventures to the Bright and Dark Cave in Halong’s other sister bay, Lan Ha Bay. A kayaking expedition here involves rowing through a long, pitch-black cave that requires a head torch, before rowing through a shorter, brighter cave into an enclosed grotto that resembles the one at Luon Cave. Again, this is the less touristy alternative to kayaking in Halong Bay. Check out Lan Ha Bay 2 Day 1 Night Cruise to add Dark & Bright Cave to your bucket list!

Dark & Bright Cave

3. What should I bring for kayaking in Halong Bay?

It might seem obvious but water sports like kayaking can result in you getting mildly wet, yet a lot of people neglect to think of this when they pack their phone, wallet and camera on the floor of the kayak next to their feet. Water quite easily runs down the oar when it’s lifted out of the water and a small pool will usually settle around your feet. This is really not a problem as long as you leave your valuables on the cruise.

Suncream and Sunglasses are highly recommended in most seasons, especially around midday when the heat is on and there are very few shadows in which to seek refuge.

A strong rowing buddy is probably the best accompaniment when kayaking in Halong Bay as they can really help you nip around the various islands and grottoes. Children under 5 are not recommended to paddle but are welcome to sit in the boat and soak in the views. 

4. Which tour should I choose for kayaking in Halong Bay?

The vast majority of tours offer kayaking as an excursion so really you can opt for any. The areas where these tours operate their kayaking differ though, so if you want to go to a specific cave or fishing village mentioned above then search for that place before booking.

Incredible Asia Journeys goes to the beautiful Ba Hang Fishing Village on our Halong Bay day trip, while many other companies that offer overnight tours go to a variety of other places. If you’re really into kayaking you can book a specialised tour where kayaking in Halong Bay is prioritised, offering visits to several different areas over the course of three days, such as the one offered by travel Vietnam.

V'spirit Cruise

To know more about what is special about Halong Bay, drop us a request to book now your Halong Bay boat trip to discover it by hand!

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