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Sailing Cruises in the Gulf of Tonkin

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With more than a thousand limestone peaks rising out of its crystalline, emerald waters, Halong Bay is is rightly viewed as one of the natural wonders of Vietnam, and is one of the country's five UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Lesser known, and therefore less touristed are the equally stunning Lan Ha and Bai Tu Long Bays, and Cat Ba Island, the largest island of Halong Bay that lies to its south.

Covering an area of 1,500 square km, Halong Bay is also the World's largest consolidation of karst Limestone islets made famous by James Bond's "The Man with the Golden Gun" (although not actually filmed there!) and in the beautiful French language movie, Indochine.

Most islets are uninhabited and many feature impressive cave systems. Some, however, have whole communities living in floating villages tethered to them, each fully equipped with grocery stores, schools, repair shops and petrol stations. Some of these welcome the tourists from the cruise boats by sending small flotillas of sampans to take them off for hour long tours of their villages - a useful additional economic activity to make their existence sustainable. A few even offer kayaks that you can rent to paddle yourselves around.

Boat cruises through Halong Bay have become hugely popular over the past decade and there is now a fleet of tourist boats sailing out each day, most for a 3 day, 2 night cruise, though some just for overnight trips and a handful for longer cruises. Boats vary in sophistication from super deluxe floating hotels carrying several 10s of passengers, providing full a la carte restaurant menus and Tai Chi classes on deck at dawn, to simple sampans with much more basic accommodation that can be privately chartered. Most boats lie in between these 2 extremes.

Vietnamese regulations require all boats to moor overnight in a just a handful of locations amongst the islands so, while the sailing during the daytime can be uncrowded, at night you are likely to find your boat moored up alongside several others.


A cruise cruise in Halong Bay can be incorporated into a Symbiosis tailor made holiday to Vietnam that can be adapted and tailored to meet your dates, preferences and passions. Please contact one of our bespoke holiday planners to create the ideal itinerary for you.
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* NOTE. Prices indicated on this website are shown as a guideline only and may be subject to currency fluctuations, banking fees and other changes outside our control. Pricing information is available in other currencies.

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