Helping in Ha Long Bay

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by Andrej and Karen

Ha Long Bay was top of our ‘must do’ list when we visited Vietnam. The pictures we’d seen looked stunning and different from other places we’d visited, so we decided that we should experience what Ha Long Bay had to offer.

Swap Work for Travel in Vietnam

Ha Long Bay


Our initial research showed that most people visited Ha Long in an overnight trip on a ‘Junk’ boat. This sounded pretty cool, and then on further investigation we found that we could stay in Ha Long Bay for an extended time, at Cat Ba Island. Cat Ba is the largest of the 367 islands spanning 260 km² that comprise the Cat Ba Archipelago, which makes up the southeastern edge of Ha Long Bay in Northern Vietnam.


Junk Boat in Ha Long Bay Swap Work for Travel

On our way to Cat Ba Island


On arriving at Cat Ba, we were shown our room – we couldn’t believe our luck! We had the entire top floor with extensive views over the bay.  We were to stay here for about 3 weeks, immerse ourselves in local culture, experience local delicacies and go to places that weren’t on the usual tourist trail.

Our Room with Swap Work for Travel

View from our room


During our time there (when we weren’t swooning over our view) we were extremely fortunate. Here’s some of the things we did:


Swapping in Ha Long Bay

Watched the sunset while kayaking among the huge limestone karsts in Ha Long Bay


Swimming at Cat Ba Island in Ha Long Bay

Swim at all 3 of the nearby white sand beaches



Exploring Cat Ba Island with Swap Work for Travel

Explore the national park overlooking the many islands – at that time, this particular national park wasn’t mentioned in any websites or guidebooks, so we only found this via local knowledge


SwapHosts providing food for us in Ha Long Bay

Enjoy some delicious home cooked meals


Making friends is easy with Swap Work for Travel

Made some new friends


Swapping is a great way to have an adventure in Vietnam

Fit in a little work


Swapping on Andrej's birthday

Andrej even got some flowers from our hosts on his birthday!


Cat Ba Island's floating restaurant while Swapping

Eat at these funky floating restaurants with a view


Swap Work for Travel in Vietnam

Experience local life and activities


Cat Ba Island Vietnam

Relax and have lots of time out


Our 3 weeks on Cat Ba Island were a great way to really get involved with the local goings on. Most of the tourists we met spent one night or maybe two on Cat Ba and Ha Long Bay.

We felt incredibly privileged to have had a more in depth experience and share in some local activities that other tourists didn’t have access to.

Swapping in Cat Ba Island

Enjoying Cat Ba Island


Our time in Ha Long Bay staying on Cat Ba Island was so much more special for having stayed with locals and gotten a lot of ‘inside information’ about the island. The experience we had was so much more than we hoped for. We thoroughly recommend giving an adventure like this a try!

We’re excited to share this kind of opportunity with you! If you would like to find out more about how you can create lasting memories of your own in destinations around the world virtually for free, then we would love to show you how you can do this.

To create your own meaningful memories with Swap Work for Travel, click here.



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