As much as it is the perfect scene for relaxation, Halong Bay is also one gigantic playground, where low-key activities find a wild and luxuriant home. Here are some of the activities that the Escape Sailsoffer both on and off board our luxury Halong Bay day boat.
Consistently, one of the best things to do on a Halong Bay day cruise is nothing at all. On the Escape Sails, we encourage you to sit back and drink it all in; whether you take that in the literal sense at the bar or in the figurative sense out on the sundeck, your choices are always honoured by our staff. Our itinerary features about five hours of tranquil cruising time on the boat, giving you plenty of chance to soak up the majesty that ripples below and soars above us.
Out on our innovative double sundeck, the Escape Cruise also features a few demonstrations as we make our way through the luxuriant seascape. Our chefs will lead an informative cooking class and an entertaining fruit-carving demonstration, providing a window into Vietnamese culture and the light touches of Vietnamese hospitality for which our country is often praised. We also feature an afternoon tea service in a Western style, lending you a slice of home during our passage through this exotic land.
For the feeling of freedom, there is no better activity in Halong Bay than kayaking along its gently rippling carpet of emerald water. The stillness of the sea, the quietness of the bay and the soaring towers of limestone on all sides all add up to an experience like no other; one that creates lasting memories of Halong Bay and its unending beauty from the seat of a kayak. Most luxury day cruises in Halong Bay offer kayaking, but our significantly more tranquil route through Lan Ha Bay sets the scene for you as it first was – that of a prehistoric world untouched by man.
Our professional tour guides will walk you through the simple steps to kayaking before allowing you free roam in the bay. We will kayak around the lush area of Tra Bau while our crew keeps a watchful eye from the dock. Here, we enter into a local corner of the bay, one exclusively reserved for Escape Cruises. We have worked with a local man and his family here for many years, establishing a warm and mutual relationship that allows us to utilise his stunning back garden while simultaneously supporting his family.
A Visit to the Dark and Bright Caves
Of the weather-beaten limestone wet caves in Lan Ha Bay, the Dark and Bright Caves contain the most magical aura. On a sampan boat, we take a ride through the Dark cave first, using headlamps to illuminate the beautiful cavern and its dark canal. Hewn from tidal waters over hundreds of thousands of years, the Dark Cave sparkles under torchlight, revealing some of the geological mysteries of the bay to visitors on our luxurious Halong Bay day cruise.
The Light Cave, situated next door, is much shorter and contains a verdant garden at its back end. The impressive entrance to the cave soon gives way to its exit, making the cave more of a tunnel that allows visitors to sail through to the enclosed lake behind. From here, Halong Bay Escape Cruise passengers can marvel at the forested limestone mountains as they rise up on all sides around the shimmering lake, looking out for golden-headed langurs dotted around the canopy. This is surely one of the more unmissable activities on a luxury day cruise in Halong Bay.
The shimmering ocean below the Halong Bay Escape Sails is as beautiful as it is inviting. We indulge the bay by stepping below its shimmering surface, discovering one of the more placid things to do from a Halong Bay day boat. At the bay’s regulated swimming areas, such as Tra Bau and Ba Trai Dao beach, total serenity can be found in the sea amid their green reflections of the lush treetops around.
Swimming anywhere helps to enliven the body and clear the mind, but doing so in the serenity of Lan Ha Bay is a completely new experience entirely. For afterwards, the Halong Bay Escape Sails provides onboard showering facilities for passengers, allowing everyone to freshen up before we press on through the bay.
The best activities on a Halong Bay luxury day tour are usually shared. Our cooking class is an open and social experience, where passengers can share the communal joy of Vietnamese food preparation and enjoy the distinct and revered culture that goes with it. Communal dining is one of the cornerstones of Vietnamese tradition and the dishes that have arisen from centuries of collective refinement have put Vietnam on the world food map.
One such dish, fresh spring rolls, is what we will make in our cooking class. Our chef will join us on the sundeck or in the restaurant to provide a simple but engaging class on how to construct spring rolls from the ingredients provided. This is a great family activity and one that will give everyone a lasting souvenir to show off at home.
Sampan Boat Ride
For the thousands of years before tourism developed, the original Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay day cruise was via a sampan boat – one of the quaint wooden vessels that local residents row along the calm waterways. Escape Cruises is proud to work with the locals of Halong and Lan Ha bays for our visit to the Dark & Bright Caves, where a wide-bottomed, bamboo sampan boat will transport us into a secluded, Jurassic world.
While most Halong Bay day trips feature either a kayaking excursion or a sampan boat ride, the Halong Bay Escape Cruise can offer both. This is part of our ‘Green Spirit’ philosophy; to provide a morally conscious tour that marries our passengers’ local-based experience with the wellbeing of our Vietnamese brothers and sisters living in the bay.