In recent years, the allure of Halong Bay has taken a new dimension with the rising popularity of kayaking. This thrilling water activity provides intrepid explorers with an unparalleled vantage point, allowing them to glide through the bay’s serene waters, navigate its hidden nooks, and come up close and personal with its majestic formations. As more and more adventurers set out in their kayaks to delve into the bay’s mystique, it’s clear that kayaking in Halong Bay is not just a sport—it’s an experience, a journey, a way to intimately connect with the bay’s ancient and enchanting spirit. If you’re thinking of visiting Ha Long Bay soon, it’s a good idea to collect some useful insights.

Everything You Need to Know Before You Paddle

Tourist kayaking through a cave in Halong bay (Photo: Shutterstock)
Tourist kayaking through a cave in Halong bay (Photo: Shutterstock)

Venturing into the calm and scenic waters of Halong Bay is an experience like no other, and to ensure you have the best adventure, understanding kayaking essentials is paramount.

Types of Kayaks and How to Choose the Right One for Halong Bay

Halong Bay’s unique landscape requires a specific type of kayak to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. While there are several types of kayaks available, not all might be suitable for the bay’s conditions.

  • Sit-on-top Kayaks: Popular among beginners, these kayaks are stable and easy to maneuver. They’re ideal for warmer conditions and offer a higher vantage point, making them perfect for sightseeing in Halong Bay.
  • Touring Kayaks: These are longer, slim, and designed for longer journeys on open waters. Their storage compartments make them suitable for multi-day trips around the bay.
  • Inflatable Kayaks: Lightweight and easy to transport, these are a good option if you’re traveling to Halong Bay and need to bring your kayak. However, ensure it’s of high quality to withstand the bay’s conditions.

When choosing a kayak for Halong Bay, consider the length of your journey, your level of expertise, and the kind of experience you wish to have. It’s always a good idea to seek recommendations from local operators who are well-acquainted with the bay’s requirements.

Basic Techniques and Tips for Beginners

If you’re new to the world of kayaking, fret not! Here are some basic techniques and tips to set you paddling like a pro:

  1. Paddling: Hold the paddle with both hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Use a relaxed grip, and ensure your knuckles are aligned with the blade. Rotate your torso and use your upper body strength for paddling rather than just your arms.
  2. Entering and Exiting: Always enter or exit your kayak from the shoreline or shallow waters. Keep your weight centered to avoid tipping.
  3. Staying Stable: Keep your head centered between the sides of the kayak. Looking straight ahead and keeping a low center of gravity will enhance your stability.
  4. Steering: Use your paddle to steer. If you want to go left, paddle on the right, and vice versa.
  5. Safety First: Always wear a life jacket, regardless of your swimming proficiency. And remember, it’s okay to ask for guidance or take a beginner’s course before venturing out into the bay.

Embracing these basic techniques will not only ensure your safety but also enhance your kayaking experience in the mesmerizing waters of Halong Bay.

Safety First: Navigating the Waters of Halong Bay with Confidence

Kayaking in the picturesque Halong Bay is undoubtedly an exhilarating experience. Yet, amidst all the excitement, prioritizing safety is crucial to ensure that your adventure is not only memorable but also secure. As you gear up to paddle through the bay’s pristine waters, here are some essential safety guidelines to keep in mind.

Essential Safety Equipment for Kayaking

  1. Life Jackets/PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices): Always wear a life jacket that fits snugly, ensuring it’s approved by safety standards and is suitable for kayaking.
  2. Helmets: Particularly if you’re venturing close to limestone cliffs or caves, a helmet can protect your head from unexpected bumps.
  3. Whistles: In the event of getting lost or needing assistance, a whistle can serve as a loud and clear signal for help.
  4. Dry Bags: These are essential for keeping personal items, like phones or cameras, dry and safe.
  5. Bilge Pump and Sponge: Handy tools to remove any water that might get into your kayak.
  6. Paddle Leash: Ensures your paddle stays close, even if you accidentally let go.

Tips for Staying Safe While Kayaking in Halong Bay

  1. Stay Close to Shore: Especially for beginners, it’s advisable to remain near the coastline. This not only offers magnificent views but also ensures you’re close to safety.
  2. Buddy System: Always kayak with a partner or group. Not only is it more fun, but there’s safety in numbers.
  3. Stay Hydrated and Protected: The tropical sun can be intense. Drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and don a wide-brimmed hat.
  4. Respect Marine Life: While encountering marine animals is thrilling, maintain a safe distance and avoid disturbing their natural habitats.

Understanding the Weather and Tides in Halong Bay

Halong Bay’s weather can be unpredictable. Before setting out:

  1. Check Weather Forecasts: Ensure you’re aware of any potential storms or adverse weather conditions.
  2. Understand Tides: The bay’s tides can influence your kayaking route. Familiarize yourself with the tidal patterns, especially if planning to visit caves or secluded areas.
  3. Local Knowledge: Local guides and tour operators have a wealth of experience. Rely on their expertise when planning your journey.

The water in Halong Bay remains relatively warm in winter, making kayaking feasible throughout the year. Yet, ensure you stay warm post-kayaking to prevent colds, as winter temperatures can drop to between 10° and 15°

Gear and Checklist: Packing Right for Your Adventure

Ensure you pack these essentials for your kayaking journey
Ensure you pack these essentials for your kayaking journey

Embarking on a kayaking journey in the magnificent waters of Halong Bay requires not just enthusiasm but also the right gear. To guarantee you have a smooth and delightful trip, we’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist that will ensure you’re well-prepared for both the expected and the unexpected. Ensure you pack these essentials for your kayaking journey:

  • A life vest for every participant.
  • Individual water bottles.
  • High-SPF sunscreen.
  • Bug spray.
  • A camera.
  • A swimsuit (for the summer season, March to August).
  • Comfortable footwear.

>>> Recommended reading: 10 Best Things to Do in Halong Bay

Top Spots: Discover the Best Kayaking in Halong Bay

Halong Bay, with its mesmerizing landscape of limestone karsts and emerald waters, offers a multitude of kayaking destinations that cater to both seasoned paddlers and novices. From secluded inlets to bustling areas replete with natural wonders, there’s a spot for every kind of adventurer. Let’s embark on a journey to discover the best kayaking locations in this iconic bay.

These are the prime kayaking destinations in Halong Bay:

1. Vung Vieng Fishing Village

Situated in Bai Tu Long Bay, Vung Vieng Fishing Village is a frequent stop on many cruise routes and is also recognized as an outstanding kayaking spot. Paddling around the village offers visitors the chance to immerse in the refreshing air, appreciate the serene atmosphere, and take in breathtaking views, all while getting a glimpse of the local culture. Among the impressive white limestone structures, you’ll find a collection of picturesque floating raft homes and a community house.

2. Ba Hang Fishing Village

Situated next to Thien Cung Cave, Ba Hang Fishing Village stands as a historic and well-maintained fishing area that attracts numerous visitors keen to experience rowing for themselves. Travelers have the opportunity to interact with friendly fishermen residing in vibrant raft homes and even join in their day-to-day tasks. Notably, the stunning and untouched landscapes of Ba Hang Fishing Village were selected as a filming spot for the movie Kong: Skull Island.

3. Cua Van Fishing Village

Kayaking in Cua Van fishing village
Kayaking in Cua Van fishing village

Cua Van stands as a renowned millennia-old fishing village and a major highlight for visitors in Halong Bay. It’s acclaimed as one of the top 15 most picturesque fishing villages globally. Kayaking is the ideal means to traverse this tranquil ancient locale. As Halong Bay’s biggest fishing community, Cua Van is nestled among numerous limestone peaks and isles, adorned with quaint floating homes. For a deeper understanding of the local way of life, travelers can partake in cultural tours and mingle with the local residents.

>>> You may also like: Top 4 Must-Visit Floating Villages in Halong Bay

4. Cong Do Island

Situated in Bai Tu Long Bay, Cong Do Island captivates visitors with its magnificent natural terrains and varied rock structures. The island boasts a rich ecosystem and expansive coral reefs. It offers a range of engaging activities, with kayaking standing out as a favorite. Those exploring its waters can enjoy breathtaking vistas and might even encounter unique species.

5. Hon Co Island

Kayaking in Hon Co Island
Kayaking in Hon Co Island

Also known as Grass Island, Hon Co Island is a favored spot for kayaking in Bai Tu Long Bay. While it remains relatively undiscovered by many tourists, it offers a refreshing ambiance and sandy shores. In addition to kayaking, visitors can indulge in activities like swimming and exploring Co Cave.

6. Luon Cave

Kayaking in Luon Cave
Kayaking in Luon Cave

Situated to the northeast of Bo Hon Island, Luon Cave is hailed as one of Halong Bay’s premier kayaking destinations, drawing countless enthusiasts each year. Gently paddle through its arch-like entrance to find yourself amidst a tranquil emerald-green lake. It’s a treat to view the imposing limestone formations, and you might even spot some playful golden monkeys. Besides kayaking, one can opt for a bamboo boat ride to leisurely soak in the scenic surroundings.

7. Cap La Island & Cap La Fishing Village

Graced with untouched white sandy shores and a peaceful ambiance, Cap La Island in Bai Tu Long Bay stands out as a top choice for kayaking enthusiasts. Beyond its secluded beauty, kayaking here provides access to Cap La Fishing Village—a quaint site housing around 200 locals. In this village, travelers can capture authentic moments of rustic floating homes and residents engaged in fishing or their everyday chores.

8. Tung Sau Area

Situated close to Cua Van Fishing Village, the Tung Sau Area is renowned for its premium pearls and pearl cultivation. Kayaking in Tung Sau is an unforgettable experience, with the opportunity to glide amidst stunning rock structures and karst cliffs. Additionally, tourists can visit the Tung Sau Pearl Farm to observe and understand the pearl cultivation and production process.

9. Trinh Nu Cave

Located approximately 3km southeast of Sung Sot Cave, Trinh Nu Cave was unveiled by the French and aptly named “Virgin Cave” due to its pristine allure. The cave showcases an intricate system of stalactites and stalagmites spread across three sections. As you kayak into Trinh Nu Cave, its enchanting formations and the refreshing, emerald waters will undoubtedly captivate you.

Complimentary Kayaking Excursions in Halong Bay on Cruise Ships

Owing to the growing attraction of kayaking in Halong Bay among tourists, numerous travel agencies have incorporated it as an essential part of their services. Onboard guides and staff will kindly guide you on handling the oars and maneuvering a kayak, ensuring you’re comfortable with the activity, especially if you’re new to the sport.

Here is a list of cruises that offer complimentary kayaking experiences in Halong Bay for your consideration:

  • Serenity Cruises
  • Aclass Stellar Cruises
  • Maya Cruise
  • Mon Cheri Cruise
  • La Paci Cruise
  • Stellar of the Seas
  • Alisa Premier Cruise
  • Paradise Luxury Cruise
  • Oasis Bay Cruise
  • Paradise Peak Cruise
  • Swan Cruise
  • Glory Legend Cruises

>>> Get the latest scoop on our amazing offers. Follow us on Instagram today!

Ideal Kayaking Season for Halong Bay

Due to the climatic conditions in northern Vietnam, there are two prime seasons for engaging in kayaking activities in Halong Bay. The first one spans from March to June, while the second stretches from October to December. It’s important to note that tourists are generally advised against visiting Halong Bay during the three-month period encompassing July, August, and September due to the prevalence of tropical storms and rough seas during this time.

The first season, which aligns with the Vietnamese summer, tends to be quite busy with both domestic and international tourists. During this period, heavy rainfall is relatively scarce, making it an optimal time for partaking in outdoor pursuits like kayaking. Furthermore, the summer weather in Halong Bay isn’t excessively hot, ensuring that you can comfortably spend extended periods outdoors.

The second season, from October to December, is also a viable option to consider, particularly if your travel plans don’t coincide with the summer months. While the weather during this time is cooler compared to summer, with average temperatures ranging from 10 to 15 degrees Celsius, this should not pose a significant hindrance. Kayaking is a physically demanding activity, and your body will naturally warm up within minutes of engaging in it.

Halong Bay’s allure is timeless, and its magic, boundless. And while words and pictures can paint a picture, the true essence of this natural marvel can only be felt when you’re there, amidst its wonders, paddle in hand. So, let the spirit of adventure guide you. Connect with the ancient soul of Halong Bay as you paddle through its captivating landscapes.

>>>Book your kayaking experience today!


1. What makes kayaking in Halong Bay so special?

Halong Bay’s unique limestone karsts and emerald waters provide a stunning backdrop for kayaking, making it a truly unique experience.
2. Can beginners go kayaking in Halong Bay?

Yes, beginners can enjoy kayaking in Halong Bay. There are options for guided tours and calm routes suitable for novices.
3. What types of kayaks are recommended for Halong Bay?

There are different types of kayaks suitable for Halong Bay, including sit-on-top kayaks, touring kayaks, and inflatable kayaks. The choice depends on your experience and preferences.
4. How do I choose the right kayak for my Halong Bay adventure?

Consider factors like the length of your journey, your skill level, and the kind of experience you want. Local operators can provide recommendations.
5. What are the basic techniques for kayaking in Halong Bay?

Key techniques include proper paddling, entering and exiting the kayak, maintaining stability, and steering effectively.
6. Is it necessary to wear a life jacket while kayaking in Halong Bay?

Yes, wearing a life jacket is essential for safety while kayaking, regardless of your swimming ability.