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"Swim in the Living Light in Halong Bay" Top 5 Page for this destination Vietnam Things to Do Tip by tampa_shawn

Vietnam Things to Do: 751 reviews and 1,162 photos

  Day time Swim
by tampa_shawn

Here is a little known secret, that will make your trip to Halong Bay. Halong Bay often has Bio luminescence...that's Latin for Living Light! So if you're in Halong Bay when it's active be sure to take a midnight swim. It an awe inspiring experience!

Bio-luminescence can only really be seen at night and the darker it is the more magnificent the glow. Since Halong Bay is so desolate and the boats turn off their power and lights after about 11 PM you will have total darkness to take a midnight swim!!!! The only light will be the glow of the moon and the stars from above AND the electric blue light generated in the water when it is disturbed (by ME in this case)!!!

If you've ever seen light inside a cresting wave at night...or your steps glowing behind you in the sand...then you've seen this type of Bioluminecence (it's Dinoflagillates...a type of plankton that inhabits the shallow coastal waters). Dinoflagillates glow when disturbed by objects passing through their colonies, and since they are plankton so they are so small you won't feel them as you swim.

Additional Advise:
1) To check to see if the Bioluminescence is active - wait till it is dark and use the end of the ships rope...just toss one end in the water and look for blue sparkles - we didn't see them until the boats turned off their lights
2) The electric blue glow in the water and your cries of joy and excitement (we just couldn't be quiet) may attract attention, so you may want to think twice before skinny dipping! Remember it's a LONG way from the water to the boat.... so you'll be on that ladder a long time on your climb up to the boat (plenty of exposure time)!
3) Bring a waterproof camera for the swim and/or have someone from the boat there to take the pictures....for the best results use a tripod and at a high ASA film

We were having too much fun to think of taking a picture during our swim but I did find an OK picture of the blue glow on the web at

Directions: Our boat's ladder was very heavy, so have the staff put it out before they go to bed...and make sure they don't put it on the bow of the boat.
Phone: My Halong Bay Website:

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 16, 2011
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