Halong Bay Vietnam Introduction
With a multitude of spectacular limestone islands and islets rising from the water of the Gulf of Tokin, in a variety of sizes and shapes, Halong Bay Vietnam as translated into “the place where the dragon descends into the sea” declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 is definitely worth to be in your bucket list. Ha Long Bay Vietnam, about 170 km from Hanoi and located in the northeast of Vietnam highlighted with approximately 1600 unspoiled towering limestone pillars scattering throughout a 1553 km2 bay and featuring a wide range of biodiversity has unsurprisingly been an appealing destination for a numerous of tourists annually.
Things to do
Halong Bay offers an outstanding value with the majestic natural scenery of small magical limestone islands, pristine beaches, floating village, spectacular caves and grottoes which undoubtedly won’t let you down. A plentiful of choices and activities available when it comes to exploring Halong Bay guarantees sightseers memorable experiences. Normally, most visitors sensibly go for a cruise tour including sleeping on board around the bay and swimming, do trekking, cycling, snorkeling or fishing on the way, while others decide to head straight for Cat Ba island nearby to discover Lan Ha bay and monkey island which are less-visited locations but no less charming and attractive.
As noted earlier, one of the most popular and best ways to experience this beautiful seascape is by taking a boat cruise which also serves an array of Vietnamese cuisine onboard consisting three meal a day with extraordinary seafood. Travelers are encouraged to join a two day one night cruise, especially for first-time visitors. Apart from chilling out and emerging into the stunning scenery, the cruise also offers many alternative stops for visitors to do swimming, fishing, snorkeling and kayaking along the way. Considerable options comprising Bai Chay beach, Cat Ba, Dau Be, Bo Hon, Ti top islands, Dau Go, Trinh Nu, Sung Sot caves, etc.
Cat Ba island presents distinct floating villages, restaurants, hotels, bars set against the background of breath-taking mountains, mind-blowing white sand beaches, and forest. Cat Ba is famous for three beaches namely Cat Co One, Cat Co Two and Cat Co Three – ideal places to relax on and have some sunbathing.
Dau Be and Ti Top island, on the other hand, proposes stunning swimming and diving spot with coral reefs and grottoes. Additionally, at Ti Top island, you totally can take some challenges by heading up to the 400-step stairway to reach the top of the island where you will be surprised by the panoramic view of Haling Bay Vietnam.
Unlike listed islands, Bo Hon island offers a numerous of well-known imposing caves that you should not miss when visiting Halong Bay Vietnam which consists of Sung Sot, Trinh Nu and Trong Caves with a diversity of magnificent stalactites.
The mentioned Caves will be an indispensable part of your visit to Halong Bay Vietnam and luckily these caves all locate quite close to each other in Bo Hon island which makes tourists easy to access. They all exhibit over two-million-year-old uniquely-shaped stalactites and stalagmites rising and hanging from the ceiling up to 20 -30 meter high. When you get into Sung Sot cave, you will have chances to contemplate the imposing inner chamber formation which looks like sentries or troops lying in the middle of the chamber. Coming to Trinh Nu Cave (Virgin Cave) which is well-known for its shrine.
There is a legend telling that a beautiful woman took her suicide in the cave to run away from a forced wedding to a Mandarin and her body turned into stone. Another story saying that she escaped from the Mandarin and a fisherman found her body, burying her and built a shrine inside the cave.
The next choice exist is to get to Tuan Chau island regarded as one of the most majestic islands in Halong and also the only island where local residents settle down. Tuan Chau island proposes the largest artificial beach in Vietnam and amazing white sand Tra Co coast representing a numerous of entertainment such as water sports, dolphin shows, overnight concerts and amusement park.
How to get to Halong Bay
With the development of transportation and tourism, travelers today can easily reach Halong Bay Vietnam in several ways. The best way to pass by Halong Bay is taking a car, minibus or passenger car from Hanoi which only takes you 3 to 4 hours away leading straight to Bai Chay station. Another available option is taking a 5-hour train route or an adventurous method is driving a bike, the highway systems leading to Halong city make it as easy as ever for visitors to approach the Bay without any obstacles and difficulties. Besides, if your budget is not a problem then you completely can consider an hour luxurious helicopter transfer from the capital Hanoi to the Bay. Google Map..
Best time to visit Halong Bay
Visitors can pay a visit to Halong Bay Vietnam all year-round but November with sunny blue sky days and lacks of crowds make it a perfect time for travelers to discover the bay. Aside from that, travelers should avoid the peak season taking place in the summer time, between late May and early August when the Bay is packed with domestic visitors. The period from January to March is often cool and drizzly, probably fog can make visibility low. From May to September sightseers may suffer from several tropical storms which are quite frequent in this time and due to the weather, sometimes tourist boats may have to shift their itineraries.