Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a popular travel destination, located in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam.One of the great natural wonders of Asia, Halong Bay is the single most popular side trip from Hanoi.
Introduction to Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a popular
travel destination, located in Quang Ninh province,
Vietnam.One of the great natural wonders of Asia, Halong Bay
is the single most popular side trip from Hanoi. The beauty of
the bay and its 3000 islands is so awesome that an excursion
there should be considered an essential part of any visit to
Northern Vietnam. A one or two day trip also makes a delightful
and inexpensive romantic getaway if you meet someone special.
Halong Bay is center area was regognized as a world heritage
area by UNESCO and covers an area of 434 square. Km,
including 775 islands, of which 411 are named (designated as
such in 1994). Of the more than 700 islands and islets in this
area, only a few are habitable. Some islands were originally
named by local fisherman, usually based on their shape. You’ll
find the likes of Tea Pot Island, Mother and Child Island, and
Stone Dog Island in Halong Bay.
Despite what geologists may claim, the bay was actually created
when an immense dragon plunged to Earth here before recorded
history. Its mighty tail carved the great stone seabed violently
before the creature flew away to the place where legends are
born. This fable does not seem so far fetched as you sail among
thousands of limestone outcroppings, which look like so many
blades thrust deep into the mist from below the sea. Many are
barren, weathered and rocky. Others are cloaked in vegetation so
dense that it is impossible to see the stone beneath. At dusk, they
all take on mysterious shades of gray, mauve and olive.
The water is warm, clean and clear, so swimming is always a
pleasure here. Be prepared with swimwear and a towel.The
climate of Halong Bay is tropical, being wet and hot. It is
devides into four main seasons: winter is from November to
March of following year, the temperatures drop to between
15oC – 20oC. Summer is from May to September, the
temperatures increases to between 26oC-27oC Two others
seaons: Spring and Autumn, climate is cool. The annually
average temperature between 18oC – 19oC. On most boats it is
necessary for you to bring your own beverages, even though the
crew may cook your lunch aboard
A visit to Halong Bay about a 4-hour drive from Hanoi usually
includes an overnight stay (though it can be done in one very
long day). Given the logistics, the trip is best done through an
agent or with a group. When you book a tour with an overnight
stay, you’ll probably cruise on a junk for 4 to 6 hours along the
bay, stopping to explore two or more grottoes and other sights
along the way. You might pause for swimming or kayaking,
depending on the operator (some offer just cruising; others have
extensive adventure agendas). Overnight trips can cost anywhere
from $16 to upward of $150. It depends on whether you hire a
bus or a private driver, where you stay, and what you eat. Sinh
Café does a fine job on the low end, but don’t expect much more
than the ride and a surly guide. Good luxury options abound .
The best time to visit is from May to October. Though the
weather’s at its hottest, it’s your best chance for good visibility.
Note that entrance to the park (usually included in day tours)
costs 30,000 VND.As Halong gets more and more crowded
with Halong Cruises, some companies are branching out with
tours by boat to Bai Tu Long Bay, just north and east of Halong.
The area is a busy fishing zone, and the scenery is not quite as
dynamic as in Halong, but many visitors appreciate the absence
of huge tour groups.Travel agencies in Hanoi offer an overnight
trip, including all transportation, two days of sailing on the bay,
accommodations in a modest hotel and good meals. If you have
an extra day, you can add a night the wildlife sanctuary on
nearby Cat Ba Island.
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