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Travel blogs, photos and features from Halong Bay, Vietnam
One of Vietnam’s most famous destinations, Halong Bay is not to be missed. Stunning and otherworldly landscapes, calm seas and plenty of islands to explore, this is definitely worth a detour from the capital to experience for yourself. Start here with my basic Halong Bay travel tips, or jump down below to read my latest Halong Bay travel blogs.
In Halong Bay, monsoons often hit during the summer months, but it can be wet almost any time of year, so it’s important to come prepared for rain. An important cultural holiday, Tet, is celebrated annually in late January or early February (coinciding with Chinese New Year) and can be a busy time to travel anywhere in Vietnam, as many locals will also be travelling to visit their families, so keep this in mind when planning your trip.
Take a junk boat cruise – This is of course the main thing everyone comes to Halong Bay for. Relaxing onboard a sailing ship, floating between the limestone peaks and blue-green waters of the bay is the most iconic thing to do here. You can do it for an afternoon and watch the sunset, or you can also go overnight and explore some of the islands dotted through the bay.
Learn tai chi – Many of the junk boats offer tai chi lessons on the deck of the ship. This is a great way to get some exercise, clear your mind and also taking in the beautiful scenery around you.
Cycle through Cat Ba Island – The largest of the 267 islands in Halong Bay, Cat Ba may seem like an ugly place spoiled by tourism when you first arrive, if you rent a bike and head away from the main town, you’ll soon discover that it’s mostly untouched elsewhere, and traditional island life goes on. Here, you’ll discover tiny fishing villages, hidden beaches and an extremely diverse ecosystem.
Halong Bay is one of those places that you really want to take a tour to, as it’s already set up for it and they are super affordable. Trying to organise a trip out into the bay privately is going to be much more expensive and actually quite difficult, because there’s so little demand. Instead, take a look at this selection of recommended Halong Bay tours.
Halong Bay does not have a gay scene really at all, though like the rest of Vietnam, non-heterosexuality is generally tolerated and accepted, meaning that as a gay traveller, you likely won’t notice any different to a straight person visiting Vietnam in how you are received. If you’re in search of specifically gay nightlife, your best bet is to head to nearby Hanoi instead, which has much more to offer.
More gay travel resources here.
I’ve found that using Booking.com, Agoda.com or Hotels Combined can be really useful for finding last-minute deals.
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