31 Aug

How to Kayak in Halong Bay

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Known as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and one of Vietnam’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Halong Bay features thousands of limestone karsts and islets of various sizes and shapes

Nearly all tourists stay overnight on board to have a chance to experience more about Halong‘s natural beauty and thousands of limestone islands and islets. Among of activities: swimming, kayaking, visiting caves, fishing villages… kayaking is the best way to discover the timeless beauty of Halong Bay. This is a unique opportunity to see some of Halong Bay’s most interesting scenery while being as close to the sea as possible.


What is kayaking?

Kayaking is a kind of paddling, using a kayak to move across the water. With thousands of islands and isles, calm tides, and clean, and emerald green water, Halong Bay is ideal for the activity. Travelers can paddle into peaceful lakes surrounded by Limestone Mountains and through amazing caves.

One kayak is fully designed for 2 persons, but if you like kayaking alone, it is totally possible. Visitors will discover different emotions that they have never felt before when riding the oars closely to limestone karst mountains and enjoying the extremely quietness of the bay. Kayaking is generally assumed to be very safe in these calm waters of Halong Bay but there are still some areas and warnings that you should avoid and listen to the tour guide.

How to Kayak: A Beginners Guide step-by-step

Getting into the kayak

  • Look for a good area (calm, shallow water, no rocks) to get into your kayak
  • Place the kayak in the water
  • Make sure to secure the kayak before you get in
  • Start getting into your kayak by placing your legs into the kayak and into position
  • Make sure your balance is good and you have both of your feet firmly planted on the floor of your kayak and your hands gripping the paddle, now slide into your kayak.

Holding your paddle kayak

  • Have your paddle face the right direction
  • Know your control grip: When taking a kayaking stroke, allow the paddle to rotate and reposition in your “loose hand” to make sure that each paddle always enters the water smoothly.

Taking a forward stroke


  • Hold your paddle properly
  • Make sure to have proper posture in the kayak
  • Rotate your body: Rotate your body while extending and retracting your arms

Take the stroke

Setup for the next stroke and rotate your grip: As soon as you’ve finished the stroke on the right side of the kayak, your paddle should be set for the next stroke on the left side of the boat

  • Getting out of the kayak
  • Secure the kayak with a tie-line
  • Use the paddle to steady the kayak
  • Crouch: +Swing your bottom out of the kayak onto the deck.
  • Swing out your legs, onto the deck.


Kayaking in Halong BayTips about kayaking in Halong Bay:

  • Carefully follow the instructions and conditions before kayaking
  • Stay close to other people; remember to warm up before kayaking.
  • Even if you are an experienced kayaker, don’t come too close to caves and karsts. They might suck you in. There are reports of people getting sucked into caves and it took from 30 minutes to hours to rescue them.
  • Never kayaking while being intoxicated. Drinking will dull your senses and might lead to unfortunate accidents. There are incidents of people drowning because of swimming after consuming a large amount of alcohol.
  • Don’t kayak for too long, you might get sunburned because of it.
  • Halong Bay water is pretty warm during winter so feel free to kayak anytime of the year. However, keep yourself warm after you are done with the activity to avoid catching a cold. The temperature during winter can get as low as 10-15 Celsius degree.


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