Best Things to do in Ha Long Bay Vietnam

Our first stop after leaving Hong Kong on our 14 Day Southeast Asia Adventure cruise was Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in northeast Vietnam. It is known for emerald waters and 1,969 towering limestone islands topped by lush rainforests.

Junk boat tours and sea kayak expeditions take visitors past islands named for their shapes, including Stone Dog and Teapot islets. Bamboo boats row around the quaint fishing villages. Kayakers explore the bay and see monkeys frolicking. Visitors climb the steps to enter the Surprise Cave for a delightful experience.

Good Morning Vietnam!

Our day began with a beautiful sunrise in Ha Long Bay. Of course, the famous line from the Robin Williams movie with the same title came to mind 🙂

Sunrise over Halong Bay Vietnam from Celebrity Millennium cruise ship
Sunrise over Ha Long Bay Vietnam

Ha Long Bay Excursion Overview

The Junk Boats arrived early to pickup passengers for the day’s excursion. It was very convenient as they pulled up along side of our Celebrity Millennium cruise ship. The excursion we chose was a 6 hour trip that included a Junk Boat Cruise, Bamboo Row Boat ride, Kayaking near Luon Cave, and a visit to the Surprise Cave.

Junk boats picking up passengers at Celebrity Millennium
Junk boats picking up passengers from cruise ship

Ha Long Bay Junk Boat Cruise

Our Junk Boat cruise took us around the tranquil waters of Ha Long Bay for about an hour. We were able to capture many picturesque photos of natures marvel.

Junk boat in Halong Bay
Our Junk Boat for the Day
Rock formations in Ha Long Bay Vietnam
Limestone rock formations in Ha Long Bay
Small fishing boat in Ha Long Bay Vietnam
A small fishing boat in HaLong Bay
Lang Chai Vung Vieng Village
Lang Chai Vung Vieng

Our Junk Boat dropped us off at Vung Vieng village so we could board our bamboo rowboat for a ride around the fishing village.

Lang Chai Vung Vieng Bamboo Rowboat Ride

We took a Bamboo rowboat ride past the fishing village, fish farm, school, and pearl farm. We also went under a limestone bridge/cave.

Bamboo boats in Ha Long Bay Vietnam
Bamboo Boat Ride
Halong Bay Fishing Village in Vietnam
Fishing Village
Dog on fishing boat in Vietnam
Lots of dogs on fishing boats

Ha Long Bay Luon Cave Kayaking

After a short ride back on the junk boat we arrived at our next location were we boarded a kayak for a guided paddle through the Luon Cave (So Do Tuyen Hang Luon) area.  This is one of the best places in Ha Long Bay for kayaking. The only way to get into the cave is by kayak or small rowboat.

George and Elizabeth having fun kayaking
Kayaking Fun!
View of boats and vegetation covered  islets of Ha Long Bay Viet Nam

Once we passed under the arch and entered into Luon Cave we saw a monkey on the rocks enjoying a Choco-Pie.

Monkey eating choco-pie in Luon Cave

Hang Sung Sot “Surprise” Cave

Our next stop was Bon Ho Island, home of the Surprise Cave. This cave is comprised of two caverns, each as beautiful and fascinating as the other. A steep climb of around 50 steps is required to get to the mouth of the cave which is sheltered by natural vegetation.

Surprise Cave ceiling in Ha Long Bay Vietnam
Interesting ceiling of Surprise Cave

Above and below are magnificent stalactites and stalagmites which extend from the floor and ceiling. There is a meandering path around the chamber that gives tourists a view of the cave from different angles, and the light from outside.

Surprise Cave
Massive Surprise Cave in Ha Long Bay Vietnam

The cave is a large spectacle of what Mother Nature can produce over millions of years. It was well worth the hike up the steps to see this natural wonder.

After our visit to the Surprise cave, we boarded our Junk Boat for a cruise back to our ship. On our trip back we enjoyed some refreshments and even purchased some souvenirs and trinkets made by the locals.


Ha Long Bay was our top destination pick in Vietnam, and one of the main reasons we selected the cruise itinerary for our 14 Day Southeast Asia Adventure. We were not disappointed. It was a wonderful day with a variety of activities and beautiful scenery to create lasting memories. Two thumbs up!!

Click below to check out the video of our experience on YouTube:

Comment below and let us know if you have visited Ha Long Bay and what the favorite part of your visit was.

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The excursion we went on was offered through our cruise ship. There are a variety of similar tours to visit Halong Bay available to book at