Our Halong Bay cruise offered an assortment of activities over the course of our three day trip. Obviously, just because you go on the cruise does not mean you have to participate in the activities. Due to our amazing deck, we were sorely tempted to leave our room. However, two activities did beckon us off of the boat: kayaking & spelunking.
I spent my college summers working at a marina in Washington State. We had free access to the rental kayaks when we were off duty. My friend and I had way too much fun renting those clunky, bright orange kayaks and paddling around the bay. My dad also had three kayaks, and he would take me out sometimes in his double.
I have a serious thing for the water and kayaking!
Our time kayaking in Halong Bay was magnificent. We were brought to a deserted & mellow bay where we could swim safely and kayak without fear of being sucked into hidden cave networks (yes, that does happen). We spent an hour or so paddling from sea stack to sea stack and then another hour or so swimming and floating in clean, fresh, blue-green water. It was wonderful!
Another day, our day boat took us to the entrance of gigantic cave and we spent hours wandering the cave network (and maybe Sean climbed onto one or two of the rocks). I don't have any pictures of that, but trust me: it was a blast!
We certainly skipped out on many of the offered activities, but we were more than happy to lounge on our amazing deck and just take in the views.
The views from the kayaks sure didn't suck either.
- Be very careful when kayaking in Halong Bay! There have been some drownings and many cases of inexperienced kayakers running into trouble with the strong currents, especially near deep caves. Not all cruises offer well maintained equipment and not all cruises choose safe places to drop travelers into the water for a paddle or swim. You kinda get what you pay for, so if your cruise is super cheap, don't count on someone else to look out for your safety. Do that for yourself.