One of Vietnam’s most famous landmarks is Halong bay and the thousands of limestone islands (often called karsts) that stick up from the turquoise waters. There are plenty of operators that run boat tours to the bay, most of them out of Halong city. We tried to skip the crowds by taking a tour from Cat ba island instead. To get the most out our experience we went for a somewhat more expensive option and took a two day tour with a night on the boat. This worked out really well, we only had nine people on our boat, we barely saw any other boats the entire journey, and overall we had two fantastic days.

We cruised between the islets, relaxing in the sun and taking in the beauty all around us. We swam in the clear water, jumping off the deck of the boat and even tried to climb one of the steep craggly rock faces. We went kayaking through caves so low we could touch the roof, searching out hidden lagoons. We slept in proper beds on a boat that looked like a nineteen thirties river boat, and ate fresh seafood from the floating villages. The second day there was more relaxation  on the boat amidst beautiful scenery, more swimming and more secret lagoons to discover by kayaking through caves.

It may not sound like much when I describe it like that but there really wasn’t more to it. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

I think it bears repeating, these two days cruising Halong bay have been absolutely fantastic.

A quick note: we took a tour with a company called Cat Ba Ventures and their two days one night tour cost 128 USD per person. I’m sure other companies are good too but I really recommend them.