About Halong Bay
Imagine 2000 or more islands rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and you have a vision of breathtaking beauty. Halong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’, and legend claims the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon from the mountains. Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, this mystical landscape of limestone islets is often compared to Guilin in China or Krabi in southern Thailand. In reality, Halong Bay is more spectacular. The bay’s immense numbers of islands are dotted with wind- and wave-eroded grottoes, and their sparsely forested slopes ring with birdsong.
To have the best time in Halong Bay, you should take a tour on Halong Bay Cruises. Beyond a boat cruise, visitors will come to explore the caves, kayaking or rowing boat activities, visiting floating fishing village and of course plenty of time to relax within breathtaking scenery of the bay.
When to go?
Ha Long Bay Annual Weather Table
It is the fact that Halong Bay is magical and beautiful in any kinds of weather. However the best time to visit is October to January. From May to September is also good since it is hot and clear sky for very good views. Tropical heavy rains, however, are frequent this period. February to April is often cool and drizzly, and the ensuing fog can make visibility low, but also adds an ethereal air.
How to get there?
Halong bay is about 175km east from Hanoi city and car is the best way to get there (The drive takes 3.5 hour). All the tours to Halong bay include coach transfer. If you want a private comfortable drive, you can book private cars easily from travel agents.
SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES
Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave) is situated in the center of Halong Bay’s heritage zone. The cave was found by the French in 1901 and called as Grotte des surprises (Cave of the surprise). Sung Sot Cave is a large cave with the size of 12.200 square meters. The cave has three compartments and high ceiling with lots of stalactites in various shapes. The ceiling’s maximal height is 30 meters. The mouth of Sung Sot Cave is about 25 meters above the sea level and you will walk up over 100 small steps to reach the entrance. Sung Sot Cave is typical for karst caves on Halong Bay and has high scientific value in the field of geology. Since this is one of the most beautiful caves in Halong bay, most of overnight tour cruises in Halong bay put this cave in their itinerary.
Thien Cung Grotto (Heavenly Cave) is situated on Dau Go Island (Wooden Stakes Island) in the southwestern Halong Bay and about 4 kilometers from tourism wharf. Thien Cung Grotto is at the height of 25 meters above the sea level. Visiting the grotto, tourists will feel like visiting an art museum with variety of sophisticated statues and reliefs. In the center of the grotto, there are four big pillars propping against the roof. Nowadays, entering Thien Cung Grotto, visitors can gaze party sceneries in the setting of stalactites and stalagmites inside. Thien Cung Grotto is considered as one of the most beautiful caves of Halong Bay and most of day tours cruise will visit this cave.
Ba Hang Floating Fishing Village
Floating fishing village is a beautiful feature of Halong Bay. Local fish men has been living here for many generations and floating houses and boats are their homes. Most of the tours take you to floating fishing villages and you can explore the area by yourself on Kayaking or sit down on rowing bamboo boat then the local will take you around. These fishing villages are very interesting since you can witness the floating lifestyle of local people. Tourists joining in the day trips also have chance to stop at some floating fishing villages where you can buy fresh seafood and ask the chef on boat to cook for you. Tourists who stay 2 nights on cruises will usually visit a local pearl farm village in which local farming oysters and cultivating pearls.
Pearl Farm Village
In Vietnam, there are few places locals farm oysters and cultivate pearls and Halong bay is one of those places. There is a small pearl farm village where locals farm and cultivate thousand of different pearls. Visit the pearl farm you will understand more how people collect pearl and these pearls are perfect souvenir from Vietnam. Most 2 nights cruise visit this pearl farm on their second day.
Tourists exploring tunnel cave by kayaking
Come to Halong bay you shouldn’t miss the Kayaking activities. Water in Halong Bay is very calm, making kayaking safer and a much better experience. Kayaking fee is normally included in the tour price and 30-45 minutes is fairly enough. If you love kayaking, please contact Mercury Travel for those Halong Bay Trips with longer kayaking time and more beautiful kayaking spot. You can also take the 2 nights tour on cruises for better kayaking experience because cruises will take you to Lan Ha Bay, a very beautiful and peaceful spot for kayaking. You can also explore tunnel caves on kayaking on 2nights tours as well.
There are nearly 200 islands in Halong bay but most of them are rock island and very few are inhabited. This Tiop Island is one of those and very popular in Halong Bay since many tour cruise stop by this island. If you can walk up over 400 small steps, you will reach the peak of the island where you can take amazing panoramic view of the bay. If you don’t want to walk up, the little beach on the island is a good alternative. Notice: good health condition is required for the walk to the peak.
Soi Sim Island
This is a little island but contain a very beautiful white sand beach. You can also follow the little trail to go up to the top for the view of the bay. The Peak of Soi Sim Island is not as high as Titop’s Peak but equally beautiful. Notice trail to the top is the path with no step; prepare good trainers if you want to hike up.
Ba Trai Dao Island
Both locals and tourist consider Ba Trai Dao island as the most beautiful part of Ha Long Bay. The island is located in Lan Ha Bay, close to Cat Ba Island. The area is far away from the Bai Chay harbor and normally approached by 2 nights cruise tour or boat trip from Cat Ba Island. The island has a small and beautiful white sand beach with pristine water and extremely peaceful since not many tourists or even locals go here.
If you are looking for a road less travel tour in Halong Bay then Ba Trai Dao Island is definitely a perfect spot. Join in 2 night cruise tour and on the second day, the cruise will take you there for full day kayaking. You can also access the area by little boat from Cat Ba Island. Contact support team of Mercury Travel for further information.
Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba island is 45km east of Hai Phong and 50 km south of Ha long City. At over 200km2, Cat Ba is the largest island in Halong Bay. The island is easily accessible and matches neighboring Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay for stunning natural beauty.
In April 2005, Cat Ba was officially recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. It also offers visitors the added options of relaxation, adventure and cultural exchange.
There are two main ways to get to Cat Ba Island.
(+) Take a 2 night tour to Halong Bay, one day stay on boat and the other stay on the island. Please contact Mercury Travel for further information.
(+) Take a bus to entrain of Tuan Chau Island. From the entrain, catch a taxi to ferry station on the island and then go on the ferry to Cat Ba island. When you get there, catch public bus or taxi to Cat Ba town.