FAQs: Kayak Vietnam!

Exploring Vietnam’s Halong Bay by Kayak


What’s so special about Halong Bay?

There is simply no better kayaking destination in the world than Halong Bay. It boasts warm protected waters, an other-worldly landscape, a multitude of caves, rock arches and rock gardens and a fascinating water based culture. We pioneered the first commercial kayaking trip here in the mid-nineties and we’re still discovering new nooks and crannies among its thousands of limestone islands. The possibilities are simply endless! We spend a week in the far reaches of the bay, away from other tourists, living aboard our luxurious traditionally styled mothership with a fabulous onboard chef.


Where does the trip start and end?

We start and end the trip in Hanoi, a bustling city with a unique atmosphere, history and charm.


How do I get to Hanoi?

The most direct flights are with Cathay Pacific through Hong Kong, Korean Air or Asiana through Seoul and China Airlines or Eva through Taipei.


What are the physical activities on the trip and what level of fitness do I need?

A reasonable level of fitness is required. In Halong Bay, typically we have two and occasionally three kayak excursions a day in Halong Bay, each about two and a half hours, paddling at a gentle pace. The landscape is too beautiful to hurry through!


Do I have to be an experienced kayaker?

No. This is a fantastic place to learn how to kayak and experienced paddlers will find it the most beautiful kayaking destination they have ever been too. If you are a beginner kayaker, however, we recommend that before the trip you take a one-day kayak course just to put yourself at ease. During the trip we will be offering kayak and SUP instruction and tips on technique.


I’m more into physical activity than my travelling partner, is that a problem?

One of the beauties of our mothership trips is that they offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of activities. If one of you isn’t so keen on kayaking, or if you feel like taking a break, you can relax on the mothership and enjoy the spectacular scenery as it sails to our rendezvous point.


I’m a vegetarian, is that a problem?

Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on what you can’t eat.


Do I need a visa?

You will require a visa, and it’s advisable to apply for it well before trip begin. You can apply directly through a Vietnamese Consulate, or use a visa agency.


Do I need insurance?

Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance which should be done within a few days of making a booking. Make sure your insurance covers the Land Cost of the trip if you cancel.


Do I need vaccinations?

Your routine vaccinations (tetanus/diphtheria, polio, etc.) must be up to date. Another general precaution for travelers anywhere in the world is a hepatitis A which is an oral vaccine. You do not need malaria medication for Hanoi or Halong Bay. In other areas of the country, including the highlands, there is a very slight risk of mosquitoes transmitting the disease. Please consult with your physician or local travel health clinic.


Are bugs a problem?

In general, not at all. However, it’s always worth having some insect repellent along with you.


What does the trip price cover?

Airport transfers on the first and last days of the trip, all cultural tour guiding and entrance fees, all accommodation, kayak guiding and instruction and equipment, meals from dinner on Day 01 to breakfast on Day 09 and bottled water.


What does the trip price not cover?

International flights, airport transfers not on the first or last days of the trip, soft and alcoholic drinks, personal insurance and gratuities.


How can I access cash when I’m on the trip?

ATMs are available in Hanoi. Once we are in Halong Bay, however, you will not be able to access cash. On our mothership you can pay for drinks and souvenirs (including local grown pearls) by credit card. You should bring enough cash with you to Halong Bay to cover tips for the local guide and mothership crew.


What clothes and equipment will I need?

When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.


I’m travelling alone, is that a problem?

Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups, and usually go home with new-found friends. If you prefer to have a single room to yourself, a single supplement will apply (subject to availability).


Can I talk with someone who has previously travelled with you?

Of course. Just ask and we will put you in touch with some Hidden Places guests who have been on our trips.


Hidden Places Travel
Box 318, 185-911 Yates Street
Victoria, BC, Canada V8V 4Y9
Phone: 1 250 589 9844 / 580 3480
Toll Free: 1 877 830 8747
info@hiddenplaces.net