Welcome To Halong Bay
Being one of the most popular destination to visit in the northern of Vietnam is definitely HALONG BAY. This beautiful natural wonder is surrounded by clear emerald water, consists of scattered limestone islands and stunning caves which have emerged as a result from the sea erosion. Besides, the area has a rich biodiversity from many rare species to tropical forests sheltering many flora and fauna. In 1994 it has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, hence a trip to the north is not complete without seeing this place.
- Take a look at the most iconic Kissing Rocks/Fighting Cocks Islet, many visitors have different perception about this islet.
- Ti Top island, a well-known place for its sandy beaches and beautiful panoramic view of the bay.
- Explore the Sung Sot cave which is filled with unimaginable rock formations.
- Neighboring bay: Lan Ha Bay, a more non-touristic place with the same impressive view of the area.
- Cat Ba Island is a location for people who love outdoor adventure such as hiking or kayaking.
Points of Interest
- Bai Tu Long Bay
- Thien Cung Cave
- Co To Island
- Tuan Chau Island
- Overnight cruise
- Fishing village
- Beach barbeque
- Cave dining
- Scuba diving
The distance from Hanoi to Halong Bay is about 180 km and the best way to get to it is by local bus, shuttle bus or taxi. If you are on a budget, public transport might be the best option.
The most favorite choice is a local bus, because of its cheap price. The costs for traveling with the local bus is around VND70.000-150.000 and takes about 4 to 5 driving hours. For more comfort you can choose for a shuttle bus. The price is a little bit higher around VND225.000-450.000, as it offers high quality services such as English-speaking driver and Wi-Fi. Moreover, the travel time is less taking about 3 to 3.5 hours.
If neither of the two options is of your preference, then a taxi might be the alternative. You can close a deal with the driver for getting a good price of VND1.000.000-1.500.000, otherwise they charge by electricity meter.
Update: The recently introduced highway from Hanoi to Halong bay has decreased significantly the travel time between two cities to 2 hours.
For having the best Halong Bay experience, a cruise is the most popular option. Cruises will sail you to hidden sea locations you would not be able to reach by car vehicles. Other than that, services such as accommodation, travel itinerary and meals are all taken care of. Travelers who are short on time should go for day trip cruises as it will still give you enough opportunity to explore the area.
The common choices are overnight cruises, providing more time to appreciate the scenery. Spoil yourself with a luxury cruise if budget is not an issue, which can be considered as a four-star hotel stay. If you wish to stay long, the time allows you to do more activities and discover impressive areas faraway. The cruise drifts through limestone karst, making stops where you can go for a swim or go for island expedition.
Fresh fish, big lobsters and luxurious oysters, all of these kinds of delicious seafood are what you can get in Halong Bay. They are locally caught in the sea or come from local fishing boats in the early mornings. Inside or next to the restaurants, there are cages floating in the waters and the chef will pick out the seafood out by your choice. Then it will be prepared right on spot which results in devouring the freshest dish you have ever had. What adds to the experience is dining in a cave while enjoying the beautiful view.
In Halong Bay there is not a lot of choice for shopping. You could take a look at the local floating shops where they usually sell souvenirs, snacks and other goods. Another option is the Bai Chay night market which is built of many open-air stalls. Some of the things you can find there are the famous traditional Vietnamese hats, silk dress, ceramic tea sets and dolls.
Aside from its stunning landscapes, the nightlife also gives visitors a different perspective of Halong Bay. It has appealed many tourists and even locals to spend their holiday in this place. In the evening you could enjoy a breath of fresh air at the waterfront venues. Bars, casinos and clubs are some of the popular nightspots.
Useful websites for Halong bay: