Aside from Sapa, the other “must see” reccomendation from travelers has been to visit Halong Bay.
Halong Bay is about 175km NE of Hanoi, and is considered a UNESCO heritage site for its natural beauty. There are 1,969 islands/limestone rock formations in Halong Bay, so it’s pretty big! They are all different sizes, some with caves and places you can get off and walk.
Most people go and spend a night or two on a boat that cruises around the different islands. It’s been raining here, so I didn’t think it was worth it to do the overnight if you’re not really swimming or in the water.
I opted for a day trip which was still nice. It was a little rushed but we got to see a fair amount. It didn’t rain on the tour which was lucky – it was a little windy and cold, but no rain!
We first stopped at a fishing village, that is literally comprised of small boats forming a “village”. They used to all be fishermen, but you can’t fish in Halong Bay now that it’s a world heritage site.
Here we were able kayak to a few different caves, which was awesome! The caves look really small, but they are just an opening to a huge open crater. Once you’re through the cave, you’re surrounded by huge limestone walls, lined with plants and various flowers.