Halong Bay is approximately a 4 hour drive from Hanoi. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and quite rightly so as it is a natural wonder consisting of some 1600 islands in a series of bays, most uninhabited. Each of the islands is topped with jungle vegetation. The topography is one of limestone rocks of various sizes and shapes rising spectacularly out of the sea.
There is no doubt that the best way to enjoy Halong Bay is to take a cruise. This can be done for one day but justice is not done to really explore the beauty of this region unless taking 2 or 3 days to so. You have a choice of three types of cruise – on a traditional junk, a first class wooden boat or a luxury boat.During your cruise (and this varies according to the chosen cruise boat) you will explore the islands, discover floating villages, go walking to the top of one of the peaks for a panoramic view of the area, sail on a sampan through lagoons and into caves and visit excellent sandy beaches with time to swim. Another enjoyment will be to watch the dramatic sunsets from your cruise boat.
What to Expect
On your maiden visit to the Big Apple, be sure to allow a minimum of three days so you can take a breath and enjoy all the city has to offer without being in transit every moment of your trip. The following will only scratch the surface of what to expect but will arm you with information to feel confident during your time in New York City.
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you have any free time beforehand, why not get out and explore this intriguing city that was born between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea.
Modern-day ‘KK’ is a vibrant modern metropolis, having recovered from World War II bombings – the Sabah State Museum is a great place to immerse yourself in its backstory.
Leaving Kota Kinabalu behind, you’ll head for the hills and travel towards the unspoiled wilderness of the World Heritage-listed Mt Kinabalu National Park (approximately 3 hours). You will stop off en route at a local home in a Dusun Village. Sample the local foods with a home cooked lunch to get some insight into what it’s like to live in a rural village.
Later you can stretch your legs and soak up the mountain scenery with a stroll through Mt Kinabalu National Park. There are many walking trails from which you can bird watch. The Mt Kinabalu Botanical Garden is an excellent showcase of the diverse plant life on the mountain, as flora from all over the park has been replanted here. Spend the night in a mountain lodge close by to the park in Kundasang.
You might wake to the call of a Bornean gibbon, or perhaps a hornbill. Enjoy an early morning cruise down the river, searching for more birds and wildlife. Keep an eye out for Long Tail Macaques and Pig Tail Macaques – your expert leader can tell you the difference. Later that morning, take a walk to Bilit Village, home to the local Orang Sungei community.
The Orang Sungei, which translates to ‘River People’, are one of Sabah’s many indigenous communities and are very hospitable with a diverse cultural heritage. Enjoy some free time in the afternoon before another river cruise to see wildlife along the riverbank. This final river cruise will be your last chance to photograph or simply marvel at your surrounds. Spend one more night in your lovely accommodation right in the heart of the jungle.