Kayaking Ha Long Bay Vietnam
More than just a spectacular place to kayak, Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay is UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Here, a community of permanently nomadic boat people live their entire lives on water among the 3,000 islands. In our travels through the Ha Long archipelago, we will discover the beauty of the limestone caves, delight in fresh seafood each day, and observe the unique lifestyle of the Vietnamese fishermen.
Paddling between islands is limited to quarter-mile crossings. Most paddling is on a placid bay, with a few short exposures to the sea swells on the outside of the islands.
The beauty of Ha Long is more than skin deep, as you’ll see on each of many excursions into the sea caves. Some are only a few meters long. Some, with huge vaulted ceilings, feel like a cathedral in the rock and run a half mile into the island.
For the second week of our trip, we’ll move to Ba Be National Park and the mountains north of Hanoi. The hardwood rainforest there is spectacular. We’ll kayak on Ba Be Lake, then paddle down a small river that tunnels through an enormous mountain cave. A highlight of this week will be the day we spend among the Tay people in an idyllic lakeshore village.
Wildlife will thrill us — huge white and brown jellyfish peacefully gliding in the green water, dolphins leaping ahead of our ship, black kites and white-fronted sea eagles soaring around the promontories, macaques interacting in the phongs. Vietnam will definitely be one of the places that lingers in your memory and you’ll feelwhen you remember your days there.
Ha Long Bay
Ba Be National Park
Arrive in Hanoi and overnight at the Galaxy Hotel.
Day 2 (B, L, D)
After breakfast at your hotel in Hanoi, we’ll transfer to Ha Long City via air conditioned minibus. We will have lunch onboard the boat that is to be our floating home for the next few days. The first views of the bay will bring lifelong memories and spectacular photographs. We will have a safety talk and itinerary briefing before an afternoon paddle. Dinner on board at our first anchorage is just a sample of the wonderful fare this ship will offer all week.
Days 3 – 5 (B, L, D)
Each morning we’ll enjoy a breakfast full of fresh fruit, cereals and lots of good strong Vietnamese coffee. Then we hit the water to explore the caves and Phongs of the thousands of Ha Long islands. Anyone preferring to stay on board to read and relax is welcome to do so. Although the island shoreline is usually quite inhospitable, there will be several white sand beaches on which to land for shell collecting or even a swimming break. Back on the mother ship, lunch is served for all of us with hearty appetites while the boat moves to a new set of islands to explore. Our afternoon kayaking may lead to more of the hidden phongs with their troops of macaques and tropical birds. Back on board our ship each evening about sunset, we can shower, enjoy a cocktail or just chat about the events of the day and await another delightful meal of fresh seafood and Vietnamese specialties.
Day 6 (B, L)
We arrive back at Ha Long City where we prepare for the ride back to Hanoi. This night will be spent in Hanoi with dinner on your own in one of the many great capital city restaurants.
Free day in Hanoi. Chance to have laundry done by hotel. A great opportunity for shopping the local markets.
Day 8 (B, L, D)
We’re up at dawn and off to the mountains of the Ba Be region north and east of Hanoi. The drive is through verdant hill country of tea fields and rice paddies. We’ll take a boat to a Tay Village and stay at the Village chief’s stilt house for two nights.
Day 9 (B, L, D)
In the Tay village we’ll visit the people in their homes to learn more about the culture of a minority people in Vietnam. Optional hike to an interior village or stay and explore the area with a local interpreter.
Day 10 (B, L, D)
We’ll visit a local market where members from different villages come together. After we’ll transfer to the Ba Be Lodge and have an easy and relaxing afternoon.
Day 11 (B, L, D)
It will be a fun day paddling the Ba Be River and perhaps a stop at another local market. Then we’ll paddle down to “Pirates” (a very local hangout) for a traditional lunch.
Day 12 (B, L, D)
An early morning start back to Hanoi so we have time to do some last minute shopping before our farewell dinner.
We’ll head for home or stay for the optional add on trips.
Optional: Vietnam Hill Tribe Extension;
Sapa extension- 4 days, 3 nights
Day 1- Hanoi- Night train to Sapa
Transfer with local guide to the Hanoi Railway station for the night train to Lao Cai. Overnight on the train in an air conditioned cabin with sleeper berth (4 persons per cabin).
Day 2- La Cai- Bac Ha Market- Sapa (B,L)
Upon arrival at Lao Cai Station around 5:00am, you will be met by your guide. After breakfast, you’ll leave for Bac Ha Market. You’ll check in to your hotel in Sapa. Lunch at a local restaurant, dinner is on your own.
Day 3- Lao Chai- Ta-Glang Ta Chai (B,L) – Around 3.5 hours walking.
We will walk from Sapa towards Muong Hoa valley where we can admire magnificent landscape. Dinner on your own. Over night at the hotel.
Day 4- Sapa- Loa Cai- Overnight train back to Hanoi (B)
Spend morning free at your leisure. Check out of hotel & drive to Loa Cai Railway Station. Overnight on train.
4 Star Hotels
This trip consists of a variety of accommodations or various days.