Ha Long Bay is a destination which you should go once in your lifetime. Because natural scenery was naturally created by the God so magnificent. Normally, you will have to spend a big budget for your trip to Halong bay. However, with some backpacker travelling experiences in Halong bay, you can get a trip to Ha Long with a moderate cost. They are included points as: a cruise around Ha Long Bay, Bai Tho mountain climbing, shopping at the market in Hon Gai, strolling at the night market in Halong, sightseeing of Halong view from Bai Chay Bridge, playing games in Tuan Chau tourist resort.
In 1994, the core zone of Hạ Long Bay was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site according to criterion vii, and listed for a second time according to criterion viii. Referring at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/672
Experiences of Travelling Ha Long Bay
Halong bay is about 177 km from Hanoi capital, you can go to Luong Yen, My Dinh bus station to take the bus to Halong bay. There are many buses and departure time is continuous during the day, driving time is about 4 hours, you can refer to few reputable bus companies in the North.
If you only travel to Halong bay, you can go in two days. The morning of the first day, you take the bus to Halong, you should start early with the first bus around 7 am. Around 11:30 you arrive Bai Chay intersection, you get off the bus and catch the motorbike going to Bai Chay tourist harbor. Lunch at some restaurants along the tourist port, the price is not too expensive, you can select dishes in menu. Early afternoon, you go to the harbor to buy sightseeing ticket and ask about visiting trip on the bay. You have to buy both sightseeing ticket and ship ticket for the trip on the sea, because the ship is public so the price is between 100 000 VND – 150 000 VND/ person. You can ask staff in the ticket booth or people around there, you should be not afraid because the price is common. If you go with your family or in a group, you should rent one ship, price is about 1 500 000 VND – 1 700 000 VND / trip 4 hours – 6 hours (in the high season from May to August the price may be higher).
There are 2 types of tickets for visiting Halong Bay in the day: the 4 – hours ticket and the 6 – hours ticket. The 4 – hour ticket offer places: Thien Cung Cave, Dau Go cave, Ga Choi Island, going around the bay in close range. With the 6 – hours, you will visit some places as: Thien Cung Cave, Ga Choi Island, Titov beach, going around the bay in bigger range.
If you are not tired after the trip from Hanoi by bus, then you should do hiking on Bai Tho Mountain in the first afternoon. The early morning of the second day, you book a 6 – hours ticket to visit Halong bay (more time for visiting). Afternoon of the second day, you take the bus back to Hanoi. Bai Tho Mountain is located in Hon Gai area, nearby the coast with Bai Chay beach. From the top of Bai Tho Mountain, you have a panoramic view of Halong City and a part of Halong bay. This tourist destination has not put on tour programs yet.
Ha Long Tour (2 days 1 night), stay overnight on the cruise
For Halong 2 days 1 night journey (stay over night on the cruise) you will have more activities, and especially you will get a sleep on the Bay. This tour is popular for foreign visitors, domestic visitors often choose to sleep in hotels (mostly they are worried about the quality of service on the cruise is not good, or poor safety level). But the main reason that I think it’s due to tour price is too expensive. Tour prices are from 90 USD to 110 USD / night with a 3-star cruise, types of 4 or 5 star cruise are more expensive (from 170 USD – 400 USD / night). So you may wonder how to choose the kind of cruises? This depends on your financial ability and requests.
Motels and hotels in Ha Long
Halong is divided into two zones: Hon Gai and Bai Chay, they are connected to each other by Bai Chay bridge. The main tourist area is Bai Chay with the coast stretching and tourist ports. Hon Gai is the administrative center. You should stay at Bai Chay area for your convenient of traveling and dining. The guest houses and hotels are concentrated in Vuon Dao town, room rates also range from 250 000 VND – 350 000 VND / room / night, in the summer price will be more expensive. This town also has many restaurants, you can choose few small eateries near the junction of Post Offices for reasonable price and delicious taste. Do not forget special dish: Grilled Squid.
The recreation spots in Ha Long bay
Thien Cung cave and Dau Go cave: you will go by ship to Dau Go island, continue walking on steps to climb the mountain, explore inside caves, you should get in both caves. In the cave there are many animal shapes and beautiful stalactites. At night, you can go to Halong market for shopping small souvenirs. Here, souvenirs are not unique, you should bargain. Additionally, you can also walk to downtown, the junction of post office, rent a horse cart for wandering around. If you go to Bai Chay Bridge at night, you should go early for safety. Also, if you stay in the area of Hon Gai, though far from the tourist center, but it is close to Halong City, you can enjoy the cuisine and learn about the life of Halong people. Inside this area, you can visit Long Tien Pagoda, enjoy “Grilled Squid Banh Cuon”, the food is much more affordable than the tourist area. You can take the bus to move between two areas, if you are a student, you should stay in Hon Gai area.
Fare information in Ha Long Bay
Since 2014, tourist fare in Halong bay has increased, entrance fee of Halong Bay in the day from 6:30 am to 18:30 is 120 000 VND / parson (the entrance ticket into the Gulf, excluding tickets for visiting islands, caves etc.)
Entrance ticket for one of the attractions was invested by government: Soi Sim Island, Ti-top Island, Cua Van floating cultural center … range from 30,000 VND to 50,000 VND / person.
Fare for one night and visit Halong Bay is 320,000 VN, for 2 nights is 470,000 VND and for 3 nights is 520,000 VND. Children from 7 to 15 years old; senior citizens 70 years old or older, poor people, people with disabilities will be discounted 50% for entrance fees. Children under 7 years old will be free.