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Ha Long Bay

Halong Bay






















One of the world’s natural wonders, Halong Bay has twice been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, first for its landscape and beauty and the for its geology. It is a must on anyone’s itinerary for Vietnam. And just time Ha Long Bay in Vietnam has been voted in one of the seven natural wonders of the world new by New 7 Wonders

Literally “descending dragon” legend tells that Halong was formed when a she dragon dragged her tail along the ocean floor. Geologists date the rock formations back some 300 to 500 million years.

Almost 2,000 karst islands, islets and rocks just out of the beautiful emerald waters. About half of them have been given names, normally based on their shape, such as stone dog, incense burner, fighting chickens (the symbol of Halong Bay) and giant turtle.

Halong also has dozens of caves and grottoes. Sung Sot, the largest of the caves, is said to be two million years old. Others form natural chambers just above the waters, allowing visitors to kayak trough them into mystical lagoons. Still used for fishing, whole families live on floating villages that are easily visited. Some will even take you out on a fishing trip. Spending two or three days floating around the bay is a totally unforgettable experience.

Ha long Tours

Situated less than 200km from the Hanoi capital, best cruises Vietnam in Hanoi offer trips to Ha Long. Although this can be managed in day, it is not to be recommended. You will find yourself spending more time in a minus-bus than drifting around the Halong Bay, and when you do reach your destination you will as likely see as many fellow tourists as rocks. If you have time, book a longer trip. You can join cruise tours and sleep on Cruises or Junks in Halong Bay.

A two or three day trip normally includes a night aboard your boat (halong cruise, junk), while a three day trip adds a night on the beautiful Cat Ba island.

Setting off early from the capital, you will arrive at Ha Long in time to eat lunch on board, as your boat navigates its way from the busy main bay in Ha Long to more isolated waters. Afternoons normally incorporate either a trip to one of around the rocks or swimming in the clear waters.

After dinner on board, most visitors choose to spend the evening relaxing under the stars, although some might take a late night dip in the cooling waters.

In the past all tours seemed to follow the same itinerary, but now more and more travel companies are offering different activities and routes. If you want even more seclusion, book a tour that sails to neighboring Bai Tu Long Bay. Equally as pretty as Ha long Bay, it avoid the day-trippers.

Ha Long Travel Tips - Places to go in Vietnam

Halong Places to Stay

As with the itineraries, a one-size-fits-all mentality used to apply to the quality of the boats/ cruises/ junks. Fortunately this too has changed.

Starting with the re-launch of the Emeraude cruise in 2003, recent years have seen a growth in luxury boats plying their trade in Halong. Now the Victory Star, Paradise cruise offer five-star accommodation and cuisine for visitors who are prepared to pay for a bit extra. Other five-star Cruise in Halong Bay, Bhaya cruise, Glory cruise, Ginger cruise, Jasmine cruise, Bai Tho cruise, Huong Hai junks…offer four-star and three star cruise in Halong Bay.

Although all these boats are spacious enough to provide seclusion for passengers, if you want total isolation Indochina Junks is the Junks to opt for. Indochina sails five junks around Bai Tu Long Bay, the smallest of which, the Princess, has only one berth, ensuring you a peaceful trip with only the crew for company.

Back on dry land, the main port of Bai Chay has a number of quality hotels (Halong & Tuan Chau island).

Halong Weather

Halong assumes a different character with the changing seasons.

While the summer months (May to September) are hot, the high atmospheric pressure increases the chance both or rain and storm.

Many regard spring (March to April) and autumn (October to November) to be the best time to visit. Then the skies are most likely to be clear and the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold.

Overcast skies can reduce visibility during the winter months of December to February. However this carries its own appeal, with the rocks taking on an even more mystical quality as they emerge from the mist. Temperatures do drop at night, so it’s best to pack some warm clothing if you visit the Halong Bay during these months.

Ha long Bay Top Thing to Do

Just relax

Traveling through Vietnam can be hectic, not so Ha long. The Ha Long Bay has a pace of its own. Relax while your boat drifts around the rocks, after all you are in one of the most beautiful places in the world.


The best way to get close to the almost 2,000 rocks and islands is by kayak and the best time is around sunset. As the heat starts to dissipate the rocks change in color and character, and all that healthy exercise merits a sundown-er.

Visit a floating village

Ha Long’s fishing villagers provide a window to a former way of life lost in bustle of modern times. If you want to leave a lasting imprint of your visit, some tour groups run schemes to benefit the local villages and preserve the environment of Halong Bay, which you can support.

Trek Cat Ba Island

The largest island in the bay area, Cat Ba island has a large national park through which you can trek. Lucky visitors might spot the endangered golden-headed langur, one of the many species indigenous to the park.

Explore Sung Sot Cave

Although Sung Sot cave can become overrun with day-trippers, it is still well worth the visit. The three chambers are littered with interesting stalactites and stalagmites and the view down to the flotilla of boats in the Ha Long Bay below it spectacular.

Cruise in Halong Bay: Glory Cruise | Bhaya Cruise | Paradise Cruise | Au Co Cruise | Bai Tho Cruise | Emeraude Cruise

Cruise in Mekong Delta: Pandaw Cruise | Jahan Cruise | Jayavarman Cruise | Bassac Cruise | Le cochinchine Cruise | La Maguerite Cruise | L'amant Cruise

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