Butterfly Valley: How Many Butterflies Did You Say?

/////Butterfly Valley: How Many Butterflies Did You Say?

We had four nights to spend on Cat Ba island in Halong Bay Vietnam. Definitely more than enough time to explore the place and definitely enough time to unwind and relax! It was on one of these lazy days that we decided to head out to see the Butterfly valley in Cat Ba. Not many people talk about it on blogs and when our host told us about it we were surprised.


We picked up our helmets, got on our motorbike, checked the map and headed out. The road however was not at its best. There were parts that were under construction. Little Cat Ba had provided us with the motorbike (which was free with the room!). Shawn has a lot of experience and the roads were no match for him. After years of riding/driving through Bangalore roads that man could navigate through the craters on the moon!

The other issue was that our bike was old and the inclines were steep. Well not always but at times they were. This meant that I had to get down and chase the bike up a slope. It was funny and a number of the locals had a good laugh.


We expected to see butterflies everywhere in the butterfly valley and I guess that was the reason why we were disappointed. At first the butterflies were hard to spot. Then we noticed a few flitting about. Don’t get me wrong. There were butterflies around but just not in the numbers that we expected them to be in.

Our Mascot and guide!

The trip was not entirely futile. We met a mascot who guided us from and to the valley. He was an extremely affectionate brown dog. We later learned that he was the welcoming committee. Almost everyone who had been there before knew of him.

The ruminating bull!

I had a run in with a bull who was not too pleased to see me walking near his calf. After he realized that I meant no harm he went back to ruminating. Talk about a close call!

Oh the fearless explorer!

A steep rock face borders the valley on one side. My explorations brought me to a small cave which I bravely tried to explore. A slithering noise however sent me running back out while Shawn kept laughing out loud!

Getting inspired!

Lastly we met a few interesting people who were rock climbing. I’m usually afraid of heights but after talking to them I must admit that I am tempted to try it on my own. Just a piece of information for people who love to rock climb: Butterfly valley has a small rock climbing club of sorts called the Hive. You can rent equipment from them or bring your own. Hooks are already placed on the rocky wall so it makes your climb easier. At least that is what I was told.

Honestly after talking to the duo I was highly inclined to try rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since I write this in retrospect I can add that I have given it a shot. It is a long and arduous journey but one I am determined to keep at!

This was the best photograph we got.

We chased a few butterflies in hope of getting a good butterfly snap but our efforts were futile! In the end we gave up and made our way back to the motorbike. It was time to move on and time to search for more interesting places to see.

Pin this on your board


  • Sure Butterfly valley does have butterflies but it is definitely not worth making the arduous drive there to see them. There are more butterflies at the bottom of the hospital cave that there were in the valley. Then again we may have gone at the wrong time of the year.
  • The Butterfly valley has a lovely place to rock climb. They even rent the hiking equipment.
  • Butterfly valley is a peaceful and pretty spot if you don’t mind making your way to it. If you have plenty of time, take a picnic lunch with you. Just don’t go expecting hordes of butterflies that’s all.
2017-10-07T23:54:48+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Asia, Destinations, Halong Bay, Vietnam|38 Comments


  1. maegan April 8, 2017 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Oh that’s a shame that there weren’t more butterflies. I also expected there to be hoards of them! Oh well, fun story to laugh about later and you met a sweet pup, which is always worth it!

    • Penny April 9, 2017 at 12:04 am - Reply

      Lol! Yes… Meeting a pup is always the high point in anyone’s day. It is so amazing how animals are stress busters.

  2. Deepika Mehta April 9, 2017 at 12:26 am - Reply

    awwhh, I can totally relate with you on this! Visited fireflies festival in Maharashtra with some really great expectation but the reality was totally opposite (I guess the blame goes to all those DSLR shot pics used as promotions while the real eyes see something very different). Good to know you ended up having a good time and explored a new aspect of the valley (rock climbing), which looks really fun! Keep exploring and sharing ur experience 👍🏻

    • Penny April 9, 2017 at 3:32 am - Reply

      Thanks Deepika. It is so true that we often visit places for the photographic experience. It isn’t always what you get. Making the best out of the situation is the best way ahead. Where in Maharastra was the firefly festival? Sounds interesting. I think I would love to see it.

  3. Aneesha April 9, 2017 at 12:49 am - Reply

    Loved your little summary in the end. Nice to know you can rock climb 🙂

    • Penny April 9, 2017 at 3:30 am - Reply

      Thanks Aneesha. I can’t rock climb but it has certainly inspired to me to try. It is an uphill task to get rid of a fear.

  4. Delilah April 9, 2017 at 2:55 am - Reply

    Wow, how unfortunate that Butterfly Valley doesn’t have many butterflies. At least you got to see other things on the trip! The rock climbing is a really cool and unexpected surprise.

  5. C-Ludik April 9, 2017 at 4:42 am - Reply

    So sorry to read that Butterfly Valley doesn’t have many butterflies… You visited fireflies festival in Maharashtra with some really great expectation but the reality was so different !! Fortunately, you saw and did other things on the trip such as the rock climbing !

  6. Stella April 9, 2017 at 6:36 am - Reply

    you did some pretty interesting activity here! i’m going to vietnam in december and i’ll try to include this! sounds awesome to experience.

    also, i love that photo of the dog! great post!

    • Penny April 9, 2017 at 8:56 am - Reply

      Thanks for dropping by Stella. The dog really did make our day. He was such a friendly little guy.

  7. Katherine April 9, 2017 at 7:57 am - Reply

    I know how disappointing it is to visit a place with an exciting name and find that the name is misleading… I mean like what you said there are butterflies but not that many. Maybe in the past, there were more? In the Philippines we visited a place called Carabao Island but there wasn’t many carabaos in there. 🙂

    • Penny April 9, 2017 at 8:48 am - Reply

      I know exactly what you mean. I would have been terribly disappointed if there wasn’t anything around to look at. Luckily for me I find peace in quiet places like this. It helps in its own way.

  8. Carmelisse April 9, 2017 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Haha that’s pretty funny about the motorbike. I haven’t tried rock climbing myself but it does look interesting! I really love the photo you took of the butterfly! Stunning.

    • Penny April 9, 2017 at 10:40 am - Reply

      Thank you Carmelisse. The motorbike was pretty funny. Oh well… Incidents like these often become memories we cherish.

  9. Mandy April 9, 2017 at 11:05 am - Reply

    That final butterfly picture is amazing! I feel like this is a place I’m adding to my bucket list that I didn’t even know about!

  10. Lara Oliveira April 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    When I read the title of your post I thought you were referring to the Butterfly Valley in Turkey. I didn´t know that Vietnam also had a spot with this name. I´m clueless if the one in Turkey have butterflies or not, but it seems to be really beautiful. Penny, I truly enjoyed reading about your visit to this place.

    • Penny April 10, 2017 at 3:00 am - Reply

      Thanks Lara. We honestly didn’t know that Vietnam had a spot like this. It was just one of those things you hear when you reach the spot.

  11. Christina April 11, 2017 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Disappointing that you didn’t see as many butterflies as expected, but looks like you still had a great time! And the one you did capture is beautiful 🙂

  12. sarah April 12, 2017 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Where can I hire that guide?! Seriously though this looks like it was an amazing trip. My sister took a somewhat similar trip to Mexico to see where the monarch butterflies migrate to and she said it was magical to see the butterflies. Perhaps you can go there next to get your butterfly fix? 😛

    • Penny April 13, 2017 at 12:35 am - Reply

      I’m honestly longing to go to Mexico. It’s one of those dream vacations. Unfortunately the airfare is much too expensive and we can’t afford it as off now. Hopefully sometime in the near future.

  13. Samantha April 12, 2017 at 11:48 am - Reply

    I didn’t know this place existed in Ha Long Bay. I was just there last month! Sad that there weren’t as many butterflies as you had hoped.

    • Penny April 13, 2017 at 12:34 am - Reply

      I stumbled on it just by chance. It’s awesome what the locals will tell you once you strike up a conversation with them.

  14. Aysha April 12, 2017 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    It’s a shame you didn’t see as many butterflies as you’d hoped. The rock climbing looks fun though, if you’re not scared of heights.

    • Penny April 13, 2017 at 12:33 am - Reply

      Which I am!!!! Still I’m working to get over it.

  15. Jessica April 12, 2017 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Butterfly valley. Wow. Never heard about it but it looks so beautiful. Those beautiful colors. There’s so much beauty in Vietnam.

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Leah April 12, 2017 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful place! I just started doing some indoor rock climbing so maybe it’s time to venture outside of the rock wall!


    • Penny April 13, 2017 at 12:32 am - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Leah. This adventure really made me consider rock climbing. In fact quite recently I embarked on my first feat. Indoors obviously! Still need to get over my fear of heights.

  17. Cassaundra April 12, 2017 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    I was so dissapointed when I visited Hong Kong and saw the “harbor light show” that a lot of travel bloggers raved about. Like….um….what the heck were you smoking????

    Anyway…Thanks for being honest about your adventure here….though I think it looks SUPER fun (without the expectation to have hoards of butterflaps everywhere!!)

    • Penny April 13, 2017 at 12:31 am - Reply

      Hahaha… I really thought the same way. Then again as Gabby said it could have the wrong season.

  18. Marge April 12, 2017 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    It’s a good thing that Little Cat Ba provides guests with motorbikes. That’s quite handy. And how cute that dog is, I wonder what its name. I wonder if the slithering noise you heard from the cave came from a snake. If it were me I’d be scared shitless. I am terrified of snakes. Maybe the season had something to do with the fact that you didn’t see that many butterflies.

    • Penny April 13, 2017 at 12:30 am - Reply

      I honestly hope it wasn’t a snake. Seen far too many in my lifetime. The season may have had something to do with it. I never thought of it as a reason. Now that you mention it… That could be a possibility.

  19. Gabby April 12, 2017 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    I think they need to rename this place – how misleading! I can imagine you must have been disappointed! Nice though that you still got inspired from the rock climbers… always so cool to get turned on to something new on trips!

    • Penny April 13, 2017 at 12:29 am - Reply

      That’s what travel does I guess. It inspires us… It shakes us at our roots so that we can discover a better part of ourselves.

  20. tracy collins April 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Looks like you had an adventure but it is a pity there were not more butterflies! I will remember not to take this trip as it seems a little arduous for me!

    • Penny April 13, 2017 at 12:28 am - Reply

      Not really a trip I would recommend unless you want to do some rock climbing. It was really tiring just getting there. May get easier once the road is properly constructed though.

  21. Paroma Chakravarty April 12, 2017 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Didn’t get the butterflies fluttering around but the pup was a great find! Animals bring such joy to our lives!

    • Penny April 13, 2017 at 12:27 am - Reply

      I have to agree. Our day would have ended on such a sour note if we hadn’t met that pup. We got a number of really wet kisses too!

  22. Mariella April 14, 2017 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    Awww it sucks that they werent much butterflies 🙁 but sounds lile you had an amazing experience rock climbing, an other aproach of the aventure 🙂 thats the magic of traveling to seek for something but then experience much more 🙂

Leave A Comment