What To Do in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

 

Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay is sure to be a highlight of any cruise, it certainly was for me on my recent Silversea cruise. Ha Long Bay is world famous and for good reason – it is absolutely stunning and widely recognised as one of The New Wonders of the World.
HA LONG BAY VIETNAM CRUISE
The sail into Ha Long Bay is worth getting up early for. Seeing some of the 1969 limestone islands rising up out of the 1,500 square kilometre area that they cover as you approach where cruise ships anchor during their visit is unforgettable.

The day we visited it was grey and misty (a bit like my beloved Scotland) which gave it an eerie, mystical feel. I loved it.

We had booked a Junk Boat Trip for the morning in Ha Long Bay through Silversea and found that this was a really good way to do it. We were tendered from the ship to the shore and then jumped straight on a junk boat. Easy, quick and it saved a lot of precious time in the port.
HA LONG BAY VIETNAM CRUISE
Our Junk Boat took us on a tour around some of the limestone islands, with a guide telling us more about the area and the way of life there as we sailed around.

Some of the islands are said to be in shapes of different objects, animals etc and our tour guide delighted in pointing them out to us. We saw a cat, a dog, King Kong (a couple of times!), a fish, chickens and err a thumb…

HA LONG BAY VIETNAM CRUISE

A thumb, yeah…

After a couple of hours sailing round the islands it was time to head back to dry land. We had decided we’d like to visit the other part of Ha Long City, across the bridge as this is where the local people live. We got a taxi over (taxis are very cheap but always agree a price first) and the driver let us out at the local market.

We found ourselves in the midst of the biggest fish market I’ve ever seen. Many of the fish were still alive and it was so incredibly fresh. Apparently the seafood here is delicious as the limestone islands make the water extra salty. HA LONG BAY VIETNAM CRUISE

As well as fish they also sold fresh fruit and vegetables, clothes, shoes and basically anything you could ever want or need. And if you want to buy anything the prices are very low compared to what you’d pay at home. Bargaining is normal in Vietnam too so be prepared to haggle the price down a bit.

After exploring the local market we went in search of the pagoda we’d heard about. It was only a short stroll from the market and the buzz of the busy streets but inside it felt so peaceful and quiet.

WHAT TO DO IN HA LONG BAY VIETNAM CRUISE

That night, back on the tourist side of Ha Long City we decided to visit the night markets that we’d been told about. We were told they were open until around midnight so we enjoyed a delicious dinner on board Silver Shadow and headed back out to the night markets around 10pm.

Unfortunately many of the stalls were already closing but we did manage to get a few goodies. I bought a gorgeous scarf and my travel companions bought handbags and tableware, again, all at bargain prices.

If you want to visit the night market in Ha Long Bay I suggest you go much earlier than 10pm though. We certainly wished we had!