Not only having a unique natural landscape, but HaLong Bay in Vietnam also impresses visitors with the diversity of the flora and fauna system and the unique local culture. Recently, transportation and accommodation in HaLong have strongly invested and developed facilitating this destination more and more attractive.
Legend has it that this bay is the place where the Mother of Dragon and her children descended to help Vietnamese people defeat invaders. The islands within the bay were considered as the pearls of the Mother Dragon and her children used to block the invaders’ attack direction. After defeating invaders, due to the love for hard-working Vietnamese people, the Dragon Gods decided to stay here to protect and support the locals.
Accordingly, the position where the Mother Dragon descended is the recent HaLong Bay while Bai Tu Long Bay is the descending place of her children. And Tra Co peninsula is the location where the Dragon flapped his tail.
This legend also relates to another Vietnamese legend named "Con Rong - Chau Tien” (The Legend of Dragon King and Fairy’s descendants) which has some interesting and suitable answers to the inherent natural scenes of the Bay.
Source: Ytb Vietnam Booking
Ha Long culture (ancient name: Danh Do La) is one of the four most ancient cultures in Vietnam with the discovered relics having the age of 3,000 to 5,000 years. A typical feature of Ha Long Culture is the development of ceramics and stone tools. The most prominent trace is the porous pottery products using the materials from shell, sand, soil, and having patterns in wave shape.
The living area of ancient Ha Long inhabitants not only in HaLong Bay but also spreads from Mo Dong - Con Bo Mound (Phu Tho province) - Tiger mountain, Goat mountain (Nam Dinh province) - Man Bac (Ninh Binh province) - Hoa Loc (Thanh Hoa province) to Fujian (China).
If you want to explore more about the culture and life of the ancient Ha Long people, you can visit Tien Ong Island - which is known as the "roof" of the ancient Ha Long people. The cave is about 1,000m2 wide containing a lot of stalagmites and stalactites divides the cave into two extremely beautiful parts. Inside the cave, it is cool in summer and warm in winter due to the southeast-facing entrance that reduces the influence of winter cold winds.
There are three reasons why tourists should visit this bay after coming to Hanoi, Vietnam:
- Wild and primitive nature with many attractive and diverse tourist destinations: gorgeous beaches, spectacular limestone mountain systems, lively coastal fishing villages, amusement parks, spiritual-cultural sites, and so on.
- Diversified accommodation and tourist services: The resorts on the mainland range from 2 to 5 star standards, which has a capability of meeting the needs of 10 million visitors each year. Homestays with unique design space, friendly staff, and reasonable price are great options for travelers and backpackers. The cruise-staying services are highly recommended to all tourists who have a desire for unique experiences with all-inclusive services such as food & drink, room, relaxing activities such as night squid fishing, on-boat party, sunrise and sunset watching, kayaking & swimming.
Banh Cuon with fried chpped squid is a typical food in HaLong Bay - Source: Quan Nguyen
Excellent and diverse cuisine: The rich marine resources have a great contribution to Ha Long cuisine creating an endless list of famous seafood dishes.
Ha Long has always been a top tourist destination in Vietnam to international travelers with more than 7,616 positive reviews on Tripadvisor such as:
“One of the places that is worth your journey when coming to the North of Vietnam. We had a great and memorable experience here. (review from account: 64 Glasgow account)”
“You must visit HaLong of Vietnam once in your life. It is a place with unspoiled and natural beauty (Khushbu Mehta account)”
“One of the best travel destinations for those who love nature. Food was served on the boat and they are very good. I had the best experience here (Kogirn account).”
There are more than 1,600 limestone islands formed about 500 million years ago with an average height of 50 - 200m in distinct shapes and sizes in this bay. In which, the big islands often have mysterious caves, separate primitive marine systems, and private beaches. Some large islands are famous for theirs diverse nature, unique stalactites and stalagmites that should be visited such as: Ti Top Island, Soi Sim Island, Bo Hon Island, Rang Dua Islands, Quan Lan Island, Co To Island, Bo Hon Island, and Ngoc Vung Island.
The climate of Ha Long consists of two distinct seasons of summer and winter, with an average temperature of 28oC in summer, while it is around 20oC in winter. The weather is very suitable for outdoor activities such as swimming, snorkeling, squid fishing, kayaking, etc. The average depth of sea water in the bay is from 6 to 10m. The most gorgeous beaches in HaLong covered by white sand & blue water are: Ti Top beach, Bai Chay artificial beach, Quan Lan Beach, Hong Van beach, Ngoc Vung beach, Ba Trai Dao Beach, Ban Chan Beach…
This bay is well-known as a home of numerous unique and magnificent caves. The top mysterious caves should be visited are Sung Sot Cave, Thien Cung Cave and Dau Go Cave. Me Cung Cave, Luon Cave,...
Thien Cung Cave
Thien Cung Cave located on Dau Go Island, Ha Long Bay, has a long-standing and beautiful stalactites system with many special shapes. When setting foot in the cave, visitors can listen to the harmonious sound of the sea breeze blowing over the cliffs with birds singing.
Sung Sot Cave
Sung Sot Cave, located on Bo Hon Island, is the most spectacular attraction in HaLong Bay. It has a total area of 10,000m2 with a lot of small rocky mountains, multiple-shaped rocky slots. The ceiling is fully covered by unique stalactites & stalagmites shimmering under multicolored lights.
Dau Go Cave
Dau Go Cave or Wooden Head Cave is also located on Dau Go Island, Ha Long Bay. Dau Go cave consists of three main chambers with different impressive stalactites systems, a large freshwater lake surrounded by a diverse flora system of green moss and fern.
Meza Cave - Source: Internet
Me Cung Cave (Maze Cave)
Just as the name Maze, the cave is a system of complex corners and compartments. A corridor of 100m, a small lake, a system of sparkling stalactite with unique shapes & size and the founded Melania shells at the entrance (important relics of ancient HaLong culture) make this cave become one of the most attractive and beautiful places to visit in the HaLong bay area.
Co Cave (Grass Cave)
Co Cave belongs to Co Island, HaLong Bay. This is also one of the few caves having brown stalactites which make it look like a small waterfall. Despite a small space, the magic of light has brought impressive scenes to the cave.
Thay Cave (Master Cave)
Entering the cave, visitors will be amazed by the stalactites having the shapes like books, ink slabs, brushes, pens, and tables. Next to the cave is a smooth and white sand beach having a length of 70m, which is very suitable for the exploration and swimming activities.
It is located on Bo Hon Island, HaLong Bay Vietnam. The unspoiled and harmonious natural space inside the cave with a small lake and limestone cliffs is a highlight feature that attracts visitors.
Dong Tien Cave (Fairies Cave)
This is the harmonious combination of Dong Tien Lake and Dong Tien Cave. The entrance of the cave has a typical shelf-structure model. Depending on the cave floors of the cave, people can partly predict the lowering and rising of sea level in the bay, which is about 1.6 to 2 million years ago.
Tien Ong Cave (God Cave)
Covering an area of about 1,000m2, Tien Ong cave is one of the important archaeological sites that still preserves numerous relics of the HaLong culture. Inside the cave, there are also countless beautiful and iridescent stalactites.
Besides the beauty spots and activities on the island, visitors can also explore lots of unique attractions on the mainland such as:
Having about 335 stalls within the area of 5,000m2, Halong night market promises to be a very attractive shopping and entertainment attraction. The space of the night market is decorated with bright light and is an interesting check-in place for you. Coming to the market, visitors can immerse themselves in the busy shopping space with local people. Travelers also can enjoy delicious & fresh seafood dishes and take some little souvenirs home for friends and family members. Location: Hoang Quoc Viet Street, Hung Thang Ward, Ha Long Marine.
- Opening hours: 17:00 - 23:00
Ha Long Park
Sun World Park amusement complex where you can challenge yourselves with adventure games and see the city from an amazing elevation through the Sunwell. The water park is also a good choice for a hot summer. This HaLong Bay attraction is located right in Bai Chay, Ha Long City. It has a large campus of 214 ha meeting the needs of visitors with lots of different activities.
- Location: Bai Chay, Ha Long City
- Opening hours: 9:00 - 19:00
- Ticket price: Dragon Park 350,000 VND (~ $15.08); Water park 350,000 VND/ person (~ $15.08)
Bai Chay Bridge
The bridge was officially come into use in December 2006 and has become a symbol of economics and development of HaLong. It is 50m high, 903m long, and 25.3m wide. Standing from Bai Chay Bridge, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of the HaLong bay and the city, especially at night when lights are turned on and form a colorful picture.
- Location: Cua Luc Street, Yet Kieu, Ha Long City
Quang Ninh Museum
The museum displays and stores the cultural values of Ha Long and Quang Ninh province. It is known as a black gem in the heart of the city. There are 03 floors in the museum: the 1st floor - displays large fossilized skeletons, images of marine creatures, sailing boats, etc.; the 2nd floor - preserves the historical values of the province, shows and depicts daily activities of indigenous people through many periods; and the 3rd floor - recreates the history of coal mine formation, from that, visitors will understand more about the mineral exploitation process of coal - "black gold" in Ha Long.
Quang Ninh Museum - top attraction in HaLong Bay Vietnam - Source: Kenh14 -
- Location: Tran Quoc Nghien Street, Tuan Chau, Ha Long City
- Opening hours: 8:00 - 12:00 and 13:00 - 17:00
- Ticket price: 40,000 VND/ person (~ 1.72 $)
Cai Bau Pagoda
Cai Bau Pagoda, also known as Truc Lam Giac Tam, is a spiritual tourist destination in Quang Ninh. It is one of the most beautiful coastal temples in Ha Long City. The entire area is built and decorated in bold Buddhism architecture, bringing the feeling of purity and peace. Standing from the temple courtyard, visitors can see the poetic sea scenery.
- Location: Village 1, Van Don District, Quang Ninh Province
- Opening hours: 6:00 - 22:00
Bai Tho Mountain (Poem Mountain)
With a height of more than 200m, from the mountain, visitors can enjoy the panoramic view of the Ha Long. The highest peak of the mountain, with the height of 168m, shapes like a lance pointing up to the sky. The path from the mountain foot is small and green with stone steps. From here visitors can see the Vietnamese flag.
- Location: opposite Hang Pot Street, Hon Gai, Ha Long City
You also can visit the floating fishing villages in HaLong Bay, see the daily-life scenery and daily-life activities of the local people. Fishing villages having the age of 100 years old with many households living are also worth your time. Their main activities are raising fishes and fishing in the bay. Some fishing villages of Ha Long Bay are:
Cua Van Floating Village - Source: Paradisecruise
Cua Van fishing village
It is surrounded and protected by the Va Gia mountain. Visiting Cua Van, visitors will witness the peaceful scenery, explore the daily life of the people, and try their best to experience numerous activities such as boating, fishing, netting, and sightseeing. You can visit caves via wooden boats transported by fishermen. This is the inhabitants of 176 households with over 750 people.
Cong Dam fishing village
This HaLong attraction is quite far from the mainland, so it is still unspoiled. Cong Dam is the place to preserve an outdoor geological museum with lots of stacked rocks having the age of 340 million years old. More than 120 people living in the village still retain the inherent traditional culture and living customs. Coming to Cong Dam village, visitors will also have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of coral reefs or to explore the underground lakes within the rocky mountains.
6 - The surrounding destinations
From HaLong Bay Unesco, vyou can also explore other nearby tourist attractions such as Bai Tu Long Bay (13.5km); Lan Ha Bay (2-3 hours by high-speed train); Cat Ba Island (2 hours and 30mins traveling by high-speed train).
Besides nature's beauty, historical relics,.., Vietnamese souvenirs especially handcrafted gifts with unique and catchy processes, also attract tourists a lot. This following article may be the best answer for the question “What souvenir to buy in Vietnam?”