If you are planning to travel to Vietnam, or you are interested in traveling around Vietnam, you must have heard about Halong Bay as it is among the top attractive tourist destinations of Vietnam. Halong Bay is one of the 7 Wonders of the World, one of the World’s Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO, and among top attractive places in Southeast Asia. When you travel to Vietnam, visiting Halong Bay is a must. Otherwise, you would regret later. Halong Bay is located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Northeastern Vietnam. It is well-known as a paradise of limestone. There are thousands of limestone islands, mountains, and caves of different sizes and shapes. Naturally and incredibly, all the shapes are unique and pictographic, so the local use the shape of the island, mountain, or cave to name it, and they even have a holly story to explain the origin of each. What you will be visiting are called Stone Dog Islet, Kissing Rocks Islet, Toad Islet, Thumb Islet, and many other islands, islets, and caves with pictographic names driving you curious. One of the must-have activities in Halong Bay is kayaking. In this article, we would like to give you a real, detailed, and comprehensive guideline for kayaking in Halong Bay so that you can prepare well for your journey.
I. WHY KAYAKING IN HALONG BAY IS A GREAT EXPERIENCE
Of all things to do in Halong Bay, kayaking is among the best. Kayaking seems to be the best way for tourists to discover Halong Bay. Firstly, kayaking must be a new and interesting experience for most of you, especially for whom not living near the sea. Kayaking in the middle of such a majestic nature of Halong Bay is just a breathtaking and unforgettable experience. Secondly, as a kayak is small, it can take you to the hidden corners of Halong Bay where big cruises can never reach. You then can paddle around and near islets, enter small caves, discover isolated small beaches and fishing villages. For all those reasons, kayaking is a must-have activity in Halong Bay. If you are wondering what you have to do to go kayaking in Halong Bay, keep reading as we will provide you with a detailed and comprehensive guideline.
II. BEST TIME TO GO KAYAKING IN HALONG BAY, VIETNAM
Halong Bay is situated just over 150 kilometers from Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. Therefore the weather in Hanoi and Halong Bay are quite similar. It is located in the moon son tropical climate. There are different seasons with different ranges of temperature, amount of rain, and the rate of humidity throughout the year. Therefore, it can be said that in each season, Halong Bay shows off a different beauty that may amaze you. However, as kayaking is an outdoor and on-the-water activity, it is more related to the weather condition. Now have a look at the weather conditions in 4 seasons in Halong Bay provided with advantages and disadvantages for kayaking, and you will know when the best time to do kayaking in Halong Bay is.
1. Kayaking in Halong Bay in the winter (from January to March)
During this period of time, the temperature in Halong Bay ranges between 16oC and 20oC. It is often foggy and drizzly, especially early in the morning and late in the afternoon. In the daytime, there may be sunlight just sometimes. Halong Bay is different from karst mountains looming out of the fog, appearing and disappearing. Adding that it is less crowded in this season, or even quiet, you will see a mystical Halong Bay that can’t be seen in other seasons.
However, going to Halong Bay this season, you will face 2 disadvantages. Firstly, this is the time when Tet Holiday – the Lunar New Year Festival of Vietnam takes place, and the price of services is supposed to rise by about 10-20% in comparison with normal price. If you are interested in enjoying the atmosphere of the most important traditional festival in Vietnam, then this should be an advantage. Secondly, as mentioned above, the weather is pretty cold and humid at the beginning and the end of the day, you should avoid kayaking at this time. You are recommended to go kayaking when the fog is getting thin or there is sunlight, and remember to weather warm clothes when doing kayaking in Halong Bay.
2. Kayaking in Halong Bay in the Spring (from April to May)
The temperature is increasing. The average temperature during the season is about 22oC. There is more sunlight than in the winter, which seems to be a good condition for outdoor activity like kayaking. And it is not yet the peak season in Halong Bay, so it is not very crowded. However, the humidity is pretty high, and it is more likely to rain. So, remember to check out the weather forecast before choosing your date to travel to Halong Bay to avoid the rainy days. You will not be able to go kayaking in Halong Bay under rainy weather. One more advantage for traveling to Halong Bay in the Spring is that the Halong Carnival takes place in April in Halong Bay annually. Then, besides going kayaking, you will have another interesting event to join in!
3. Kayaking in Halong Bay in the Summer (from June to September)
This is the hot and humid season in Vietnam. The weather condition may be strange and even uncomfortable for travelers, especially Westerners who don’t have such a hot summer back in their countries. However, this weather seems to be the best weather condition for outdoor activities like swimming and kayaking in Halong Bay. You can be on the water swimming and kayaking as long as you want. Moreover, the strong sunlight makes the sky, water, mountains, and islands all clear. This is the season when you can see the most obvious and charming Halong Bay during the year. Viewing Halong Bay from the seaplane is highly recommended in this season.
However, summer is also the rainy and storm season in Halong Bay. Check the weather forecast carefully to avoid the storm. If you happen to book a tour on the day there is a storm, there are chances your tour is canceled. Even if you get refunded after that for the cancellation, your plan has been broken already, and it will certainly be an unhappy experience for your trip. If you have checked out there is no storm on your tour day, but it happens to rain, then don’t worry. In Halong Bay, it often rains much in the summer, especially in August, but the rain doesn’t last long. So, you can just stay on the cruise or hotel for about half an hour waiting for the rain to stop and go back to the bay for kayaking. We believe that summer is the best time for kayaking in Halong Bay.
4. Kayaking in Halong Bay in the Fall (from October to December)
This is the peak season in Halong Bay. The weather is cool and dry. The average temperature is about 21oC. The sunlight is not as harsh as that in the summer. The rainfall and humidity are pretty low. Thanks to its pleasant weather conditions, Fall can be the best season of the year to visit Halong Bay. This weather is absolutely a big advantage for outdoor activities like kayaking in Halong Bay. However, it will be very crowded there as every tourist wants to take advantage of the beautiful weather to travel to Halong Bay.
So, you can see that traveling to and kayaking in Halong Bay each season has different advantages and disadvantages. Then, it all depends on your expectation and plan!
III. WHAT TO WEAR ALL GEARS YOU NEED WHEN KAYAKING IN HALONG BAY
1. What to wear when kayaking in Halong Bay
Kayaking in Halong Bay is a watersport activity. It requires particular and appropriate clothes for a fulfill and enjoyable experience.
Firstly, your clothes must be suitable for the weather conditions. In the summer, it is sunny, hot, and sweaty, so you should wear soft and light clothes like shorts, tank tops, and T-shirts made from cool and absorbent materials like cotton. You can also wear your swimsuits if you prefer. In the winter, it is pretty cold, you may wear sweaters and jackets to keep you warm, but don’t wear too much as you will get hot when kayaking in Halong Bay.
Secondly, an important thing you mustn’t miss is the light jacket. It is to keep you safe just in case you fall down into the water. The light jacket helps you feel secure to enjoy kayaking in Halong Bay. Normally, you don’t have to prepare your own light jacket as it is included in the kayaking service. However, if you are not given the jacket before getting on the kayak, remember to ask for it.
Last but not least, you should bring your additional clothes. After kayaking in Halong Bay, you may probably get wet. And wearing that wet clothes for the rest of the day would be so annoying and uncomfortable. So, you are recommended to bring additional clothes so that you can get changed after kayaking.
2. What to bring when kayaking in Halong Bay
Besides suitable clothes, here below are some necessary things you should bring when kayaking in Halong Bay:
- Sun cream: It is no doubt necessary for outdoor activities, especially in the summer of Halong Bay.
- Sunglasses: They protect your eyes from the sun (only required in the summer)
- Phone or camera: To take some random and instant snaps of you kayaking in Halong Bay so that you can see it again later
- Waterproof bag: This is of great importance. You will use it to put your phone and camera in. Otherwise, they will get wet.
- Insect repellent: This item is necessary if you go kayaking in Halong Bay in wet seasons like Spring and Summer (from April to August). The high level of humidity creates good conditions for insects like mosquitoes to develop, and they often habit near the water area like islands and islets on the bay where you will be kayaking by. So, remember to take the insect repellent with you to protect yourself from those insects.
- Water: Remember to bring some water with you on the kayak. You will be spending from 30 minutes to one-hour kayaking on the bay and not likely to return to grab some water during that time. Therefore, you have to prepare in advance.
IV. DO I NEED TO BOOK AN ORGANIZED CRUISE TOUR TO DO KAYAKING IN HALONG BAY?
The answer is no.
If you book an organized cruise tour to Halong Bay from Hanoi, then kayaking is usually included in the tour price. Remember that there are a few Halong cruises that don’t include kayaking in their package due to their particular schedule and conditions. Therefore, you should check out what activities are provided in order to find out the best Halong Bay Cruise for you. Here below are some good Halong Bay Cruises with kayaking recommended for you!
Address: No. 58 Au Trieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 243 926 4085
Hotline: (+84) 964 343 322
Address: No. 5 Hang Chieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84)243 929 0606
Hotline: (+84) 912 642 517
If you are an independent traveler, and you don’t book an organized cruise tour to Halong Bay, how can you go kayaking on the bay? You just need to get to booking offices in Halong Bay to buy a kayaking ticket. Two major booking offices in Halong Bay are Tuan Chau International Marina Station and Hon Gai International Harbor. The price is about VND 100,000 per person for about 40 minutes kayaking in Halong Bay.
V. OTHER TIPS WHEN KAYAKING IN HALONG BAY
- The ultimate thing we want to remind you of is following your tour guide, his techniques, his rules, his time, and routes as he understands the activity better than you.
- Check with the tour guide to find out the best route for you and avoid the areas with strong flows, tide, and strong wind.
- Keep an appropriate distance from other people to avoid unexpected collisions.
- Avoid coming close to karsts and caves as it is as dangerous as you may get sucked in. There have been cases of tourists getting sucked into the caves recorded.
- Don’t go kayaking when you are drunk as you may not be conscious enough. It is not safe for you to go kayaking in Halong Bay under such conditions.
- Stick to the group to make sure you don’t get lost.
- Children under 5 are recommended not to kayak in Halong Bay.
VI. HOW TO DEAL WITH UNEXPECTED SITUATIONS WHEN KAYAKING IN HALONG BAY
There may be some unexpected situations popping up when you are kayaking in Halong Bay. Although there are always security staffs available to support, you should be aware of the situations so responsive to them. These are some common situations you may encounter when kayaking in Halong Bay.
Firstly, if the kayak capsizes, you first keep patient and look for the nearest security staff or tour guide for help. Tourists will have to swim a bit while he is taking the water out of the kayak. After that, he will put the kayak in place still, and you can get in again.
Secondly, if there is a sudden storm when you are kayaking in Halong Bay, the ideal thing you may do is looking for a shelter. If there are no shelters or you are in the middle of the beach, all tourists should stay gathered. Right when the storm happens, tour guide and security staffs will start to work on bringing all tourists to the land or cruises. Meanwhile, you have to be patient and determined.
Above are the essential and must-know tips and guidelines about kayaking in Halong Bay. Kayaking can be the best way to discover and enjoy the spectacular beauty of Halong Bay. We hope that you will have a wonderful time in Halong Bay with our guidelines and recommendations!