The best cruises for less touristy Halong Bay travel experiences

Characterised by thousands of limestone karsts and islands, it’s easy to see why Halong Bay’s turquoise waters and otherworldly landscape makes it onto the bucket lists of so many travellers. Halong Bay itself covers an area of more than 1,500 km2, within which around 2,000 islets can be found. While nature lovers find it amazing that more than 70 plant and animal species are found in Halong Bay and nowhere else in the world, movie buffs recognise the location from many films, including Kong: Skull Island.

Halong Bay cruise, The best cruises for less touristy Halong Bay travel experiences

The spots that most Halong Bay travellers go to include Halong City – complete with its high-rise hotels, bars and casinos – and Cat Ba Island, the largest island in Halong Bay. Halong Bay cruises are par for the course too, with hundreds of companies offering boats and cruise experiences of all shapes and sizes. However, when you’re in a part of the world which can be so closely described as paradise, what you really want is to get off-the-beaten track to find a corner of Halong Bay for yourself.

There are Halong Bay cruises that offer added extras to make your experience less touristy. For example, some have bamboo rowing boat trips with local rowers, or private dinners on remote beaches or inside interesting wine cellars. To get even further off-the-beaten-track however, spend some time in Lan Ha Bay, which neighbours Halong Bay.

Since Lan Ha Bay is a bit further from Halong City, fewer tourists venture there, giving visitors more incredible nature all to themselves. Characterised by plenty of empty white sandy beaches and around 300 islands, Lan Ha Bay is quieter and amazing to discover. It’s a place to spend kayaking in and out of impressive cave systems near Hang Luon Cave, as well as being perfect for swimming and snorkelling off wild beaches.

Lan Ha Bay is also home to a locally run shellfish farm – which we can take you to visit on a Mr Linh’s Adventures trip – and the traditional floating village, Cai Beo. Take in the colours and customs of the village while cruising around on our boat.

Although Cat Ba Island is a popular spot for tourists, it’s also possible to get off-the-beaten-track on this island too. We can take you on a trek through the Cat Ba National Park before reaching the traditional Viet Hai Village, where you can stay in a homestay, try a fish massage or cycle to Viet Hai Harbour.

Halong Bay cruises are an essential part of a Vietnam itinerary for many travellers. With our tips to find off-the-beaten track experiences in the local area too, you can find your own slice of Halong Bay heaven, mixing together one of the world’s most loved locations with experiences led by locals.

Find out more about Halong Bay cruises and Lan Ha Bay with Mr Linh’s Adventures.
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