Halong Bay is a beautiful World Wonder in Quang Ninh Province and about 180kms from Hanoi. It was recognized by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage in 1994. Halong Bay is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands and Islets topped by rainforests. Halong Bay is very famous for Cruising Tours around the Bay or to Bai Tu Long Bay and Cat Ba Island.
Area: 1,553 km2
Halong Bay is located in the northeast of Vietnam, about 180kms from Hanoi, 160kms from Mong Cai City- a border city closes to Dong Hung City in China.
Halong Bay has an area of 1,553km2 . Bordering with Quang Yen city to the West, the north of the Bay stretches from Quang Yen City, Halong City, Cam Pha City and Van Don District, The south bordering with Cat Ba Island of Hai Phong, Bai Tu Long Bay to the East, Lan Ha Bay to the South East.
There are about 2000 islands and Islets on the bay, most of which are limestone. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of of formation in different conditions and environments.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
Halong bay has tropical climate with two distinctive seasons: hot and moist summer with average temperature from 27-35 °C, the highest temprature is about 39°C , and dry and cold winter at 10-18 °C, the highest temprature is about 22 °C.
From May to early half of October is the rainy season, high temperature and humid atmosphere can be frequently felt. Tropical storms are more likely during June to September. The avarage precipitation is from 250-400 per month
From late October to the next April is the dry season with less rain but cold from December to February, the average precipitation is from 40-130 per month.
By Air: Halong Bay is about 175kms from Noi Bai International Airport and takes about 2,5 hours travel by car, 55 kms from Van Don International Airport and takes about 1 hour travel by car, 50 kms from Cai Bi International Airport in Hai Phong City and takes about 1 hours by car. So It's very easy for you to get to Halong Bay by plane.
By Bus: There are alot of local buses and tourist buses from Hanoi or other provinces to Halong Bay every hour. So It's very easy to catch the bus to Halong Bay.
By Train: There are train from Hanoi to Halong every day but the quality of train is not good, time table is not suitable for tourists.
SEE & DO
Halong Bay is a very famous World Heritate Site so there are many things to see and to do in Halong Bay
Boat Cruising: Unlike other attraction places in Vietnam where you can reach by yourself in various way, Halong bay can only be discovered by boat. It is said that there is no other more interesting things than to jump in a traditional junk and roaming around the myriad rocky islands to enjoy the beauty of this gem. With more than 500 sleeping boats and day boats currently from budget to luxurious standard, you can easily choose what to be most suitable to your need. Nowadays most of the boats in Halong Bay ares made of metal with bigger siize, modern style and well equiped. staying overnight on this boats to discover Halong Bay is a must do in your Vietnam trips.
Modern Cruise Boat in Halong
Boat rowing: Besides kayaking which is more suitable for young travelers, those who do not fancy sports yet still love to enjoy the beauty secret of the bay, boat rowing around the floating villages seem to be a good choice. Just jump up on a bamboo boat and release yourselves to the popping world around with hundreds of tiny floating houses and those many limestone islands even looking sparkling in the sunset while listening to the rustling, rhythmic sound of the paddles against the water, you can feel the utmost tranquility of a paradise on earth.
Caving: It is a big shortcoming if coming to Halong bay without visiting the any of the most spectacular caves in this area. Therefore, almost every tourist boats take this activity as a highlight of the bay cruise. Thien Cung, Dau Go and Surprising Cave are three most worth-seeing for their width and exceptional beauty.
Swimming: it is not the best activity to do in Halong bay. However, it is for sure one of the most fascinating things to do here during stifling days of summer. Although the water is not so clear around the wharf, wait for the boat to drop anchor in the sleeping area where the water is the most emerald and clean and jump from the top deck of the boat to have the coolness refresh your mind and your body. In case you do not want this high adrenalin act, almost every boat in Halong bay will stop at Titov island or Soi Sim island for their guests to enjoy a mild soak at the nice beach over there. Hiking to the top of these islands is also a good idea to have an impeccable panoramic view of the bay. However, swimming is normally not available during the day trip due to time limitation.
Fishing Villages: There are about 2000 residents living in small floating villages in Halong Bay, they live on fishing and grow fishes in the Bay. They live there for long time and children are also born there, they go to study at floating schools in some village by rowing boat. It's very interesting to visit fishing village to see the daily lives.
Cat Ba Island: Cat ba island is in the south of Halong Bay in Hai Phong Province. This is the biggest island in the area, there are many hotels and luxury beach resorts for your to stay. There are alot of things to do in Cat Ba island; trekking in Cat Ba National Park, Cycling to fishing villages, climbing to Hospital Cave.. You can get to Cat Ba Island by local ferry from Tuan Chau Island Port, by tourist boats from Halong Bay, some overnight Cruiseships also have an option to visit Cat Ba Island or get there directly from Hai Phong City by car or boat.
Monkey Island: This island is in Lan Ha Bay previously known as Cat Dua Island, it's on the way from Halong Bay to Cat Ba Island, and just a few minutes travel by boat from Cat Ba Island. There are alot of monkeys live in this island, they are very adventurous with the locals and tourists. They grab food right from tourists palms and may bite if provoked. But, it’s the untouched uniqueness which makes the island become renowned appealing a large number of tourists to this island.
There are also a very beautiful beach on this island with white sand and blue water, an ideal place for you to relax.
Luon Cave is located in the south of Halong Bay, about 14 km south-east of Tuan Chau Island. Situated on Bo Hon Island and only 1 km away from Surprise Cave, this grotto is an open air cave, exposed to the elements, and which can only be accessed by boat. The cave is essentially a group of islands that have joined to form a brackish lake approximately 1 km in circumference.
To enter the cave by kayak or rowing boats, visitors pass under a 100 metre long arch that is 3 metres wide, and depending on tidal flows, between 2.5 and 4 metres high. The arch was form by erosion over millions of years.
Once they have passed under the arch, visitors to Luon Cave are met with sheer limestone cliffs plunging into the cool, green lake. Paradise Cruise guests who opt to kayak can paddle at their leisure around the lake, and experience the serenity of the grotto at their own pace.
One of the the best way to explore the breathtaking beauty of Halong Bay. Paddle through islets; visit hidden caves, lagoons, unspoiled beaches and floating fishing villages…where the boats cannot invade. Depending on trip length, visitors have different kayak route and time frame. Thanks to the bay’s thousands of islands the conditions for sea kayaking are ideal – the water is calm, the current is fine and the wind is not too strong.
Kayaking in Halong Bay
EAT & DRINKS
Fried squid ball: The saleswomen of squid ball in Ha Long said that squid is available in any sea but the most delicious squid must be fresh squid in the sea area of Ha Long. It is hand- pounded until it becomes long and crunchy rolls. Frying squid needs to be very picky, so as to keep the fire not too big and not too small . Patties are delicious from the start to be dropped into the oil pan . Rolls are fried until golden , then taken out and drained the oil . Fried squid becomes most delicious when being dipped in pure fish sauce with pepper.
Sam Quang Yen: Sam is cold blooded sea animal which has hard and glabrous cover and a long thin thorn. From main ingredient sam meat, local people can make a lot of attractive different dishes, such as sam pudding, sam salad, fried sweet and sour sam's legs, grilled sam cartilage, etc., ... Sam meat dishes are luscious, visitors to Quang Ninh should not miss this specialty.
You can savor sam at Quang Yen Town, Quang Ninh or at the restaurants on the road April 25, Bach Dang Ward, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh
Ngan: Ngan (meaning "boring") can be processed as many dishes: Grilled, steamed, porridge, stir-fried with noodles or vegetables. Generally known as "boring" but not boring at all. Male visitors often love ngan wine. This kind of alcohol has very special taste and smell of the sea.
Sa Sung: A rare species which is only found in Quan Lan Island - Minh Chau (Van Don, Quang Ninh). Fresh sa sung fried with fresh garlic an chilli is a unique dish of coastal people of Ha Long. Roasted dry sa sung is fragrant and succulent. Sa sung dotted with chilli sauce, lettuce, herbs and beer would be great for the day ...
Sa sung is very rare, no wonder why the price is so high, it is nearly 4 million Vietnamdong per kilogram.
Gat Gu cake: “Gat Gu” (Vietnamese: Gáºt gù) cake is similar with steamed rolled rice pancake. It is made from rice flour. When making this kind of cake, the maker have a secret to make it more delicious by adding cold rice. After being done, when we take this kind of cake, it nods repeatedly.
In Viet Nam, “gat gu” means nodding repeatedly, so that the name of this cake is “gat gu”. Here, there is a custom that when eating Gat Gu cake, each one will nod repeatedly three time before eating t o greet their visitors, and visitor also do it again to show their thanks. “Gat gu” cake is quite special and delicious. If you ate it once time, you would never forget it as well as Quang Ninh.
Halong Bay tours from Hanoi Halong Cruises