During my last trip to South East Asia, Vietnam was pretty high up there on my list of places to visit. I’d just finished my trip through Thailand, visiting Pai, up in the mountains of northern Thailand, and had just arrived in Vietnam. Just outside of Hanoi in northern Vietnam is an area filled with emerald waters and thousands of islands, Halong Bay.
Many people choose to hire some sort of cruise ship, or junk boat to tour the waters of Halong Bay. Some stay for a day, some stay for weeks, but whatever your timeline is, there’s something for everyone. We decided to book the Castaways tour through the Vietnam Backpackers Hostel. It was a 3 Day, 2 night trip out to their private island in Halong Bay. They had 4 massive huts that housed about 20 people dorm style, with one massive common area.
On the first day, we took a bus from Hanoi down to Cat Hai, a short ferry ride from Cat Hai to Cat Ba Island, a quick bus ride across Cat Ba Island to the boat, and then an hour ride to Castaways island. All in all, it was about a 4 hour trip. Once we got to the island, they gave us our rooms and fed us a home cooked meal.
The following day, they took us around Halong Bay to some of the different caves and alcoves. We passed by fisherman and their rigs, simple floating homes scattered across the bay. We stopped half way through, got into some kayaks, and explored the area on our own. It truly is a beautiful place once you’re out in the water and just surrounded by these large islands protruding from the water. It doesn’t feel like anywhere else I’ve been in the world.
At night, they would play music in the main common area. Some people danced, while others walked down to the beach and relaxed on the shore. A couple of us went down to the pier and decided to go swimming once the sun set. As we swam through the water, you could see the photo-luminescent plankton come to life and light up around you. It was a surreal experience to witness.
While we were only there for about 3 days, Halong Bay is truly a magical place. Time slows down, and being disconnected from the world around you puts in a completely different mind. I’ll definitely be making a trip back again soon.
I had a chance to fly my DJI Mavic Air around a little bit. Check out my video below. Have you been to Halong Bay, let me know in the comments below.