With a combination of over 1,969 islands in a variety of sizes and shapes, divided into south-east area (belonging to Bai Tu Long Bay), and south-west area (belonging to Ha Long Bay), Ha Long Bay has been titled as World Natural Heritage for 2 times, in 1994 for its natural beauty, and then in 2000, for its essence in geography and geomorphology.
In terms of location, Ha Long Bay is situated in the north east of Viet Nam, comprising of Bac Bo Gulf’s partially western bank, Ha Long City’s sea area, Cam Pha City and a small proportion of Van Don District, Quang Ninh Province.
2. BEST TIME TO VISIT HALONG BAY
There are different times to cater for your specific demand of a perfect trip.
Should your main concern be weather, it is highly recommended that you take the trip from September - November and from March-May to enjoy the best of Ha Long’s temperature: dry and comfortable climate, the favorable condition for enjoying all cruises’ activities.
If your priority is the budget, then the time from May to September may be your choice since it is the low season when a good many discounts can be offered. However, take care of the downside of this time, as storms take place mostly from July to August.
In case you have no choice on time, Ha Long is just as perfect as in any period of year with warm sunlight and cool wind. Utilize such a natural advantage to have fun to the fullest by various activities such as swimming, scuba diving and canoeing.
3. THINGS TO DO IN HALONG BAY
Explore the City
Although some may not put much attention into city in Ha Long, it is indeed worth your visit. Take time to explore the city’s vibe by mingling with the local at Bai Chay market, a collection of local produce and cheap clothing. Otherwise, eating experience is brilliant as well since there are a lot of local restaurants offering fresh seafood in the indigenous taste.
Visit the Beach
Turn on relaxation mode since you are right here, in one of the most perfect beach retreats. Tuan Chau, Tiptop, Ba Trai Dao, Ngoc Vung and Soi Sim are among the greatest beach options for you to get ready for a sunbathing on the white sand and gazing at the crystal blue ocean unparalleled to any other areas.
Because there are so many islands, schedule at least one or at best, several days to discover the most remarkable ones and engage in not less intriguing activities like kayaking, scuba diving, and visiting caves and floating villages. Consider our best itineraries for your Halong Bay trip.
The most renowned caving destination in Vietnam must be Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, home to Son Doong Cave, the largest worldwide and Hang En, the third largest. However, in Ha Long, you can find grottoes and caves just as extraordinary as those mentioned above, nestled in jungle - covered areas.There are a few to name, for example Heavenly Palace Cave, Dau Go Cave, which can easily be accessible by boats and cruises.
Tour the Floating Villages
One of the most striking features of Ha Long is floating villages as you can catch sight of these little boat-attached houses which witness all daily activity of the aqua community like cooking, washing, sleeping and working, etc. Don’t miss out on the most signature villages: Cua Van, Vung Vieng, Cong Dam, Ba Hang.
Take an Excursion to Cat Ba Island
Comprising of up to 367 islands in various shapes and sizes, Cat Ba Archipelago is an essential complex in the south of Ha Long Bay. The most gorgeous island and the biggest as well is Cat Ba Island. Should you have time to visit, rent a bike to explore around in tranquility, or take a trekking and climbing tour in Cat Ba National Park. Furthermore, cruises are also available here.
Kayak and Scuba Dive
The scenes underwater are just as beautiful as what you get above. Scuba diving and snorkeling are recent additions to the activities you can do in Ha Long Bay.
Here it comes a fascinating enjoyment for those thriller-seekers: kayaking and scuba diving. Favored by natural conditions of crystal water and calm tides, Ha Long offers perfect paddling setting. The most ideal areas are Tree Peaches Islets, Dark and Light Cave.
Then, to explore the marine stun, take scuba diving and snorkeling, which enables you to relish virgin coral reefs and lively and colorful life under water.
4. THINGS TO BUY IN HALONG BAY
Not only attractive sightseeings but savory seafood is remarkable highlights of Halong Bay. There is a wide range of choices to opt for like crabs, prawns, snails which are cooked in various tasty ways to bring out freshness. Either at luxurious restaurants, cruises or street vendors can fresh seafood be served in high-quality. Otherwise, should you love to display your cooking skills, you can get seafood alive and fresh at a much cheaper price right from markets and fishing villages (Cai Dam market or Ben Doan) and make dishes on your own style.
Spirivalve and Seashell Jewelry
Perfect beaches offer a variety of sea creatures, whose shells can be used to make jewellery and little cute stuffs like key chain, desk statue, pearl bracelet, etc. which is widely sold at any souvenir shop and vendor in Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay or even floating villages.
Pearls and Pearl Art
Pay a visit to the Pearl Farm to observe the artistic and fine-quality production of cultured pearl, as well as select the best pearl jewellery back home. Although it may cost you an arm and a leg to purchase an authentic pearl bracelet, the experience itself is insightful and attractive.
Vietnamese Rice Grain Painting
Rice has been utilized to a new height to turn into masterpieces. Grains in different sizes and colors are well chosen, before going through process. Later, under skillful hands of local artists, rice grains are transformed into stunning paintings, which would certainly keep in in awe.
5. THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- Do well - plan your trip as there are so many attractions in Ha Long. Make sure you cover the most unique ones to have an insightful glimpse at Ha Long Bay. Contact us for the best itineraries.
- Do bring along only necessary things, not all your luggage with you on the trip to Halong Bay. You should leave them at your hotel because if you take the cruise on the bay, you will have everything you need onboard.
- Bring along sun block, a hat, sun glasses and comfortable footwear.
» Source: Asia Links Travel