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Ha Long Bay Travel Guide

Ha Long Bay is a famous tourist destination which you should visit once in your life. The majestic landscape is created by the Omnipotent in a very natural way. The green islands and gorgeous caves combined with beautiful beaches and peaceful fishing villages making up perfect scenery, making visitors feel like they are in the middle of paradise when they come here.

Overview of Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is a famous tourist destination of Vietnam, located in the West Bank of the Gulf of Tonkin in the Northeast sea area of Vietnam. With thousands of wonderful islands, wonderful result of the Creator, Ha Long Bay has been recognized many times by UNESCO as a natural heritage of the world. Ha Long tourism has the advantage of beautiful scenery, attractive to tourists in the country and international travelers.

Ha Long Bay Travel Guide from A to Z
Ha Long Bay Travel Guide from A to Z

The weather – the best time to travel to Ha Long Bay

Ha Long City has the coastal climate, with two distinct seasons each year, the winter from November to April next year and the summer from May to October.

Due to its geographical features and geographic location, there are two distinct types of monsoons in the city of Ha Long: Northeast winds in winter and Southwest winds in summer. Ha Long is a sealed area of the ocean, so it is less influenced by big storms. The strongest winds in storms are usually in level 9, level 10. Particularly, there are strong storms of level 11.

Ha Long cruise
Ha Long cruise

Transportation

Motorbikes/cars

Hanoi – Bac Ninh – Ha Long route: 155 km

This is the shortest route from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, going by car about 3 hours, the journey as follows:

– Hanoi and the Road 5 – Sai Dong junction: 10 km.

– Sai Dong and along the Road 1 – Bac Ninh: 23 km.

– From Bac Ninh province following the Road 18 – Pha Lai – Chi Linh – Dong Trieu – Uong Bi – Ha Long: 122 km.

Ha Noi – Bac Ninh – Ha Long route: 160 km

– Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) and follow Noi Bai – Bac Ninh Street (32km) to Bac Ninh.

– Getting in National Highway 18A through Pha Lai, Sao Do, Dong Trieu and Uong Bi to Ha Long.

Coach

Tourist can take the bus from the big bus companies concentrated in My Dinh bus station, the first bus departure at 6:00 am and the latest bus departure at 17:00 pm (trip takes 3 – 4 hours). It takes about 5 to 15 minutes to Bai Chay bus station in Ha Long, Quang Ninh province. Bus fares are about VND 100,000 / ticket for seating bus and VND 200,000 / ticket for sleeping bus.

Seaplane

Currently, besides the usual means of transport, tourists from Hanoi come to Ha Long Bay also have new options with the modern and luxury seaplane of Hai Au Airline.

The seaplane has 2 seats for pilots, 12 seats for passengers and spacious windows, not only help you save the time of traveling, but also help you to enjoy the beautiful view from the seaplane, also you can records the memorable moments of Halong Bay from 150 m to 3,000 meters above sea level.

Transportation inside Ha Long

Taxi: This is a convenience vehicle.

Cruises: for visit Ha Long Bay. You can buy ticket of cruises to visit Ha Long Bay at the following two ports: Tuan Chau International Port and Hon Gai Vinashin Port.

Where to stay overnight in Ha Long Bay?

Wyndham Legend Ha Long

Vinpearl Ha Long Bay Resort

Starcity Ha Long Hotel

Royal Lotus Ha Long Hotel

City Bay Palace Ha Long Hotel

Or you can choose to stay overnight on luxury cruises.

Staying overnight on the cruises in Ha Long Bay
Staying overnight on the cruises in Ha Long Bay

Dishes, snacks and specialties of Ha Long

Ha Long tourism in particular and Quang Ninh tourism in general are not only having immense sea but also having a lot of special culinary specialties, filled of the salty taste of the sea. Here are some specialties that travelers can not miss while traveling here.

White steamed sticky rice with pork bologna and squid

White steamed sticky rice is made from new and fragrant sticky rice, eaten with yellowed pork bologna and squid, dip in fish sauce sprinkled with delicious pepper. Price: Each set of white steamed sticky rice with pork bologna and squid in the popular area costs from 15,000 to 20,000 VND. Pork bologna and squid can also be bought at a price of about 250,000 VND per kg.

White steamed sticky rice with pork bologna and squid
White steamed sticky rice with pork bologna and squid

Steamed rolled rice pancake

Steamed rolled rice pancake with meat, mushroom, ham, aromatic scent of onion accompanied with specialties Ha Long squid bologna make an unforgettable taste. Place of enjoyment: In Ha Long city, there are streets specializing in making Steamed rolled rice pancake at the edge of Bach Dang cinema, people call: “Squid bologna steamed rolled rice pancake street”.

Peanut worm

Peanut worm is a kind of seafood probably only in Ha Long. Fresh peanut worm stir-fried with garlic to make a delicious dish. Dried peanut worm change to dark color, grilled or roasted one will be crunchy to eat and drink alcohol, especially be use for rice noodle soup. Peanut worm is quite rare, so the price is very high; one kilogram costs nearly 4 million VND.

Sticky rice wine with Hoanh Bo in Ha Long

Sticky rice wine is made of local special glutinous rice. Sticky rice is cooked and put into the bucket for fermenting. Once fermented and soaked, they add some leaves of yeast from the forest in Hoanh Bo, after that it turn into wine, sticky rice wine is put into bottles, jars to drink gradually, each meal a few cups. When having some guests, the owner bring whole jar. Hoang Bo sticky rice wine is sweet, sour, stimulates digestion very good, especially in the summer.

Vietnamese fermented pork roll in Quang Yen town

Raw materials are all popular. The pork skin is cut into small slices, “thinh” are made of beans or roasted rice and roasted peanut which is pounded, all mixed together. It is simple by the way, but through the secret of processing, mix and making sauce, this dish become strange and attractive.

“Gat gu” pancakes

Making “Gat gu” pancakes is the same making steamed rolled rice pancakes. When eating, people dip a piece of pancake into a special sauce with a piece of “khau nhuc” (Chinese style stewed pork) is carefully marinated. The most famous “Gat gu” pancake is in Tien Yen. However, in all areas of Quang Ninh, you can find this delicious and unique “Gat gu” pancake.

Gat Gu pancakes
Gat Gu pancakes

Horseshoe crab

Another extremely attractive specialty of the Ha Long Sea is horseshoe crab – a species of crustaceans. From horseshoe crab, people can cook a variety of delicious and different dishes such as horseshoe crab soup, horseshoe crab salad, sour and sweet stir-fried horseshoe crab, horseshoe crab stir-fried with chili and lemon grass, crispy fried egg of horseshoe crab, steamed horseshoe crab, grilled horseshoe crab…. To enjoy delicious horseshoe crab, visitors should go to Gieng Don Street or Cao Xanh Street.

Tourist Attractions

In Ha Long Center area

Thien Cung grotto

Thien Cung grotto is located in the north of Dau Go Island, is one of the most beautiful caves in Ha Long. This cave is 10,000 m² wide with complex structure and includes many levels, high ceilings and walls. Especially in the cave, we can see a lot of stalactites and stalagmites with strange shapes.

Dau Go cave

Located on Dau Go Island, about 300 m from Thien Cung cave. Dau Go is a large, beautiful cave, the French called “Cave of wonders”. The cave has a diverse fauna and flora. Due to the wide opening of the entrance, the humidity in the cave is high and the effect of sunlight can be seen immediately on the diversity of the flora, especially mosses, ferns and trees…

Dau Go cave
Dau Go cave
Luon cave in Ha Long Bay
Luon cave in Ha Long Bay

Me Cung Cave

The location is at a height of 25m on Lom Bo Island, about 2 km southwest of Ti-Top Island. The Me Cung cave has a complex structure with many levels, many compartments, a way spreading over the stone with the length of more than 100 meters, rising to the west and looking down to a small lake called Me Cung lake.

Trong (Drum) Cave, Trinh Nu (Virgin) Cave

They are located on two sides of a small mountain, the east of Bo Hon Island, about 3km from Sung Sot Cave. Two caves are 700m – 800m from each other, apart by a small bay. The entrances turn in different directions. If you shout from this cave, people in the other cave can hear.

These caves not only have many stalactites and beautiful scenery, but also attract visitors because of a very moving story. In a cave, there is a horizontal rock that looks like a girl lying on hair with her hand reaching out to the sea, so people call this is the Virgin Cave. The other cave has a very tall stalactite column that looks like a giant man looking out to sea. The fishermen say that on rainy days the wind blows loudly through to the rock like the drum sound and they call this Cave is Drum Cave.

Tuan Chau Island

The most beautiful island among 1,969 islands in Ha Long Bay is also the only island inhabited. It has the largest artificial coast in Vietnam. Tra Co beach with white sand is an ideal place to have fun and participate in exciting water sports.

Bai Chay

Bai Chay Resort is located along the banks of the Ha Long Bay, suitable for rest and swimming. This resort is year round windswept, the average annual temperature is about 20 °C.

Cua Van fishing village

This is one of the most typical destinations of Ha Long tourism. At Cua Van fishing village, visitors not only enjoy a peaceful and tranquil environment, but also learn about the cultural life of fishermen, learn how to row boats, spread net, fishing, catching shrimp…

Cua Van fishing village
Cua Van fishing village

Areas around Hang Long bay

Quang Ninh Museum

The Quang Ninh Museum and Library is a unique architecture. There are the very high stairs and the dark glass as a giant mirror reflecting the image of the sky and sea in Ha Long. Inside museum, everyone must be overwhelmed by big space. With 3 floors, Quang Ninh Museum provides the most complete view of nature and local people to visitors. The museum is open on weekdays, except Monday; from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Tickets will be 30,000 VND / person for adults; VND 15,000 / person for students and VND 10,000 / person for children.

Dragon Park

If you go in group and want to play, explore and try the strong feeling, Dragon Park will be very suitable for you. This is the largest theme park in Southeast Asia. Dragon amusement park is located in the Sun World Group Park with more than 30 games in all kinds.

Queen Cable Car

Staying in the cable car system you will be overwhelmed by the beauty of Ha Long bay from above. Whether it’s in the day or the night, the scenery that you experience is great. Situated on the top of Ba Deo Hills, the Sun Wheel is Vietnam’s second largest Sun Wheel and one of the largest in the world. Here, you will admire Ha Long Bay from the height of 215 m above sea level.

Ba Vang Pagoda

Located on the middle of Thanh Dang Mountain, the pagoda is also called Bao Quang Tu, commonly known as Ba Vang. At night, the pagoda is lighted up to create an extremely holy scene.

Yen Tu Mountain

Ha Long tourism is not only the sea. If you want to go somewhere for worshiping, you can visit Yen Tu Mountain with a lot of pagodas. This is a system of temples, pagodas, towers and the forests of ancient trees in harmony with nature, scattered from Doc Do to Yen Tu Mountain from the bottom up.

Yen Tu Mountain & temples
Yen Tu Mountain & temples

Experiences you should try in Ha Long Bay

Kayaking

If you do not experience the boating trip on Halong Bay by Kayak, it is regrettable. When sitting on the little Kayak and rowing on the blue water, you can admire the natural sights, it is very interesting.

Halong Bay has been voted by National Geographic Adventures as one of the top 25 Kayak Tours in the world. In Halong there are many places offer Kayak for rent (at the tourist pier, islands), price: 100,000 to 200,000 VND / hour depending on type of boat (1, 2 or 3 seats).

Kayaking in Ha Long Bay
Kayaking in Ha Long Bay

Stay overnight on a yacht

The cruise is like a miniature hotel, also has private room, with clean mattress and blankets, air conditioning, and private bathroom. Interesting that you can do both relax in the room and open the window to see the mountains, the majestic water, the fish, the jellyfish swimming right under the window. At night time, you can also get to the yacht deck watching the sky, stars and the sea.

Sightseeing Ha Long Bay from seaplane

If you have experienced the scenery of Ha Long Bay on the cruise without being satisfied, because you could not see the beautiful view of Ha Long Bay as in the film or advertising, so no way is more ideal than sightseeing Ha Long Bay from the seaplane.

Currently in Vietnam, Hai Au Airlines is the first private airline to provide seaplane service with luxury sightseeing services. The seaplane has 2 seats for pilots, 12 seats for passengers and spacious windows, allowing passengers to enjoy the beautiful view from the seaplane and capture the memorable moments of Ha Long Bay from The elevation ranges from 150 to 3,000 m above sea level.

Sightseeing Ha Long Bay from seaplane
Sightseeing Ha Long Bay from seaplane

Try out climbing mountain

Not only attractive by the charming beauty of blue water and romantic sea, Ha Long Bay with diverse rugged terrain is also a challenge for travelers who love climbing. If you are “a follower” of this adventurous sport, probably the thorny cliffs, the wonderful curved corner of the mountains, the rock and the caves in Ha Long Bay will give you a sense of longing to conquer them.

Try out climbing mountain
Try out climbing mountain

Explore the beautiful caves

Ha Long Bay is commended by tourists as the painting of nature, the perfect beauty which was given by the Creator. And in that natural painting, in addition to “water and rock” as many people often say, this place is also famous for its beautiful and unique caves. Each cave of Ha Long Bay has an interesting name, suggesting to tourists the curiosity to discover such as: Thien Cung Cave (Heaven Cave), Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave, Luon cave, Dau Go (Wooden Stakes) Cave, Hanh cave….

beautiful caves in Ha Long Bay
beautiful caves in Ha Long Bay

Visit the fishing villages on Ha Long Bay

Away from the shimmering and luxuriant light of the city center, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the coastal fishing village in Ha Long is a peaceful and fresh destination, an interesting stop for tourists. Recommend destinations for this experience can be Van Chai Ha Long co-operative in Vung Vieng fishing village, Cua Van fishing village, Ba Hang fishing village…. You can rent small boats at the Ha Long tourist pier.

Vung Vieng fishing village
Vung Vieng fishing village

Take the “double-decker bus” cable car

Recently on 25 of Jun, Ha Long cable car system was inaugurated and put into operation after 2 years of construction. The project is located in a complex of entertainment projects worth 6,000 billion VND stretching along Bai Chay beach to Ba Deo Hill (Hon Gai).

The tower at the area of Bai Chay was built with 188.8 m high, set the record as the tallest tower of the cable car system in the world. The tower at Ba Deo Hill is 133 m high. The cable car system has only two cabins, looking like “a giant double-decker bus” with a capacity of 230 people per cabin. Inside the large cabin have seats, handles, rails for guests. Cabin is surrounded by large glass windows to help tourists see the entire of Ha Long Bay from above.

Famous souvenirs in Ha Long Bay

Besides the delicious specialties which are typical for the sea, visitors come to Ha Long Bay should not forget to choose unique souvenirs that are made of many marine species and coal in your trip.

In the premium souvenir category, visitors can choose pearl necklaces, pearl handbags as gifts for beloved women in the family. Besides that, the beautiful small gifts are made of the marine species such as shells, snails…. being turned into necklaces, bracelets, key chains with a variety of designs.

Moreover, tourists in Ha Long can buy some handicraft items from coal, ceramics, and embroidery pictures. You can choose to buy souvenirs at Ha Long night market, Bai Chay commercial center or some other souvenir shops.

After the tour in Ha Long bay, you should not forget to give family, relatives, friends and colleague special gifts and delicious specialties.

What you should note

Things to be careful while traveling in Ha Long

You should not swim in the fall or winter because the weather is quite cold. You should bring a swimsuit, cool and convenient outfit such as shorts, t-shirts, beach sandals… Be careful before deciding to buy something on the bay because the price is not cheap and you can be cheated in the weight of goods. It is the best to buy tickets for visiting and limit to buy food, drinks and souvenir on the sea. For eating a snack, you can carry canned food or lightweight food.

Shopping tips when traveling to Ha Long Bay

Visitors travel to Ha Long Bay, in order to limit being ripped off in shopping; you need to note some experiences below:

– The sale to tourists often be made you pay too much money (very high prices), so you should boldly bargain for the item you will buy.

– You should buy seafood at the booth in the market, because it has been listed prices clearly there. You should not buy seafood from the street vendors, because most of them are traders pretend to be fishermen, and the price will be higher than other places.

– When buying goods you need to carefully check the product to avoid the purchase of poor quality thing.

Ha Long Bay Travel Guide
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