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Halong Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay (also "Halong Bay") is in northern Vietnam, 170 km (105 mi) east of Hanoi. The bay is famous for its scenic ocean karst topography and is often included on lists of natural wonders of the world, including the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Islands

The Ha Long Bay archipelago is made up of 1,969 islands, both inhabited and uninhabited. These can be accessed from various ports, though in the special case of

Cat Ba

you can also arrive either by car, motorbike or bus (via Haiphong) or combined bus/boat (from Hanoi via Halong City).
Ban Sen, a thickly forested, almost uninhabited island reachable by ferries to Quan Lan from Cai Rong.
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Halong Bay, Vietnam

Destination:
Ha Long Bay (also "Halong Bay") is in northern Vietnam, 170 km (105 mi) east of Hanoi. The bay is famous for its scenic ocean karst topography and is often included on lists of natural wonders of the world, including the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Islands

The Ha Long Bay archipelago is made up of 1,969 islands, both inhabited and uninhabited. These can be accessed from various ports, though in the special case of

Cat Ba

you can also arrive either by car, motorbike or bus (via Haiphong) or combined bus/boat (from Hanoi via Halong City).
Ban Sen, a thickly forested, almost uninhabited island reachable by ferries to Quan Lan from Cai Rong.
Cat Ba, the home of the endangered Cat Ba langur, a national park, numerous caves and the most popular destination in Ha Long Bay for tourists. It can either be accessed by local bus and ferry from Hanoi's Lương Yên bus station (recommended), by tourist boat from Halong City (a five hour "hard sell" ordeal; this is what the hordes of Hanoi package tourists do), or by local bus or ferry from Haiphong (less scenic). 
Quan Lạn, a historically significant outlying island with the beginnings of some tourism infrastructure and some beautiful beaches. Reachable by ferry from Cai Rong or also (reportedly) from Halong City.
Van Don, a large island that is well inhabited, little visited by tourists and connected by road to the mainland near Cửa Ông.

Understand

"Ha Long" means "Bay of Descending Dragons" (Chinese: 下龙湾; Xiàlóngwān), though prior to the 19th century this name was not recorded in any document or archive. When mentioning the present-day Quang Ninh Sea or Ha Long Bay, old histories often referred to them by the names of An Bang, Luc Thuy or Van Don. Not until the late-19th century did the name of Ha Long Bay appear on a French maritime chart. The Hai Phong News, a French newspaper of the time, had an article, Dragon appears on Ha Long Bay, reporting the following story: In 1898 a sub-lieutenant named Lagredin, skipper of the Avalanse, reported seeing a huge sea snake in Ha Long Bay. This was also witnessed by many of the crew. Thus emerged the European image of the Asian dragon. Whether this appearance of a strange animal resembling a dragon resulted in the name of Ha Long Bay is unknown.

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Halong Bay, Vietnam: Port Information


Some cruise liners dock at the commercial pier.
Many vessels anchor offshore, and passengers are transported to the Bai Chay Tourist Wharf by tender boats.
At the pier, you can rent a junk.
There are regular buses to Hanoi. Besides, you can take a taxi.

Get around Halong Bay, Vietnam


The islands can be accessed from various ports:
  • Cai Rong, a small port serving the northeastern archipelago.
  • Halong City, spanning a portion of the northern part of the archipelago. There are several ports here; at least one port exists that is wholly distinct from the tourist boat piers.
  • Haiphong, a large historic port city at the mouth of the Red River.
There are many taxis in Halong City. Besides, you can rent a car/motorbike.

 

What to see in Halong Bay, Vietnam


  • Bai Chay Beach - a large, beautiful, artificial beach. 100 meters wide, and over 500 meters long. Busy in the morning and late afternoon.
  • Bai Chay Bridge (Cầu Bãi Cháy), This cable-stayed bridge connects two parts of the city on two sides of the bay. You can get access to the top of it for sightseeing by the elevator located at the bottom. At night, it is decorated with thousands of colorful LED lights.
  • Quang Ninh Provincial Museum (Bảo tàng Quảng Ninh), Tran Quoc Nghien Street, ☎ +84 33 3823 921 A huge, modern architecture building which is presented natural - a cultural history of the region.
  • Hon Gai Roman Church (Nhà thờ Hòn Gai), Nha Tho Street (The only Roman Church in the city, built in 1933, partly damaged by American bomb). 

 

What to do in Halong Bay, Vietnam


  • Climb Bai Tho Mountain (Núi Bài Thơ), Long Tien Street (Ask any locals for the way to go to the top of the limestone mountain. It is located right in the middle of the city. From here you can have an amazing panorama view of the whole city. This mountain is also a historical place where the Vietnamese Army was hiding telecommunication equipment during American bombings). 
  • Indoor Ice Skating, Ha Long Vincom Center, near Ha Long Market, 9:30 AM- 10:00 PM. 
  • Cruise
  • Kayaking
  • Explore caves
  • Visit floating villages
  • Swimming
  • Sunbathing
  • Reading on board
  • Tai Chi
  • Sightseeing
  • Taking photos
  • Cooking class

What to eat and drink in Halong Bay, Vietnam


There are many restaurants opposite the beach offering mostly Vietnamese rice dishes and seafood. Local specialties include chả mực (Fried squid cake) su fish, found only around Halong Bay, shrimp and mussels. Western food can be found in hotels' restaurants.
  • Emeraude Café, tel. 033 849 266, on the Bai Chay coast near the Ha Long Post office. The only restaurant in the area that serves Western food.
  • Co Ngu Restaurant tel. (+84 33) 3511 363, Premium Villas, Halong Road, Bai Chay, Halong City, Quang Ninh. A wide selection of Western cuisine and Asian delicacies is served at this premier local seafood restaurant.
  • Four Seasons Restaurant, Ha Long Plaza Hotel, 8 Ha Long Road (This is the first four stars hotel in Ha Long. It offers the best buffet in Ha Long and one of the best seafood buffets in Northern Vietnam with both Asian and Western cuisine. The restaurant is inside the hotel but also open for public.), ☎ +84 333 845810 (info@halongplaza.com, fax: +84 333 846867).
  • Dung Anh Bakery, 150 Le Thanh Tong Street or 306 Cai Dam Road (French patisserie and pizza), ☎ +84 168 781 2667. 

Shopping in Halong Bay, Vietnam


  • Ha Long Vincom Center, Clock Pillar, Bach Dang Ward. 9:00 AM-10:00 PM. 
  • Ha Long Market, Nguyen Van Cu Street (Go for the seafood quarter, you will find unbelievable fresh seafood. They are swimming while you buy because fishermans just bring them from the port at the back of the market.). 5:00 AM-5:00 PM. 
  • Ha Long Marine Plaza, Hoang Quoc Viet Street. 9:00 AM-10:00 PM.

Safety in Halong Bay, Vietnam


It is best to avoid beaches and swimming until you get to the islands. Depending on the winds, the beach water can be a varying combination between a garbage dump and crystal clear water.

Language spoken in Halong Bay, Vietnam


Vietnamese is the official language. English is widely spoken in tourist places.
 

LOCAL TIME

6:56 am
October 21, 2019
Asia/Saigon

CURRENT WEATHER

27.62 °C / 81.716 °F
light rain
Tue

26.45 °C/80 °F
moderate rain
Wed

25.69 °C/78 °F
light rain
Thu

26.67 °C/80 °F
light rain
Fri

25.61 °C/78 °F
light rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

VND

1 USD = 0 VND
1 EUR = 0 VND
1 GBP = 0 VND
1 AUD = 0 VND
1 CAD = 0 VND

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