Halong Bay is a beautiful natural wonder in northern Vietnam near the Chinese border. The Bay is dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1,500 sqkm. This extraordinary area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. For many tourists, this place is like something right out of a movie. The fact is that Halong Bay features a wide range of biodiversity, while the surrealistic scenery has indeed featured in endless movies. The best way to get to Halong City is by car, minibus or bus from Hanoi which is only 170km away. If budget is not a problem, an hour-long helicopter transfer is also available.

About Halong bay

OFFICIAL ENGLISH NAME: HALONG BAY

Administrative Division: Halong City, Quang Ninh Province

Area: 1553km2 and 120km coastline; covering over 3000 islets with water body

Population: about 1600 people living in floating fishing villages: Cua Van, Ba Hang, Cong Tau & Vong Vieng

Recognition:

  • 1962: ‘Renowned National Landscape Monument’ by Vietnam Tourism Authority.
  • 1994: UNESCO World Heritage Site by UNESCO
  • 2012: New 7 Wonders by New 7 Wonders Foundation
  • Member of Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World

Top attractions in Halong Bay

Visiting Halong Bay and you can experience very diverse natural landscape, varying from long sandy beach to thousand-year-old-lime karst. Halong Bay covers nearly 1900 islets of different size, some very large such as Thien Cung Cave or Surprise Cave, others as small as a few meters wide. Discover what you will see as you make your way to this natural wonder.

Dau Be Island

Dau Be Island

Being listed in one of the most beautiful islands in the entire Halong Bay, Dau Be Island is not a very sizable island which is mostly limestone. It’s about 22,863 square meters with the highest point of the island at the tip of a mountain that is 139 meters tall, but it has a lot to offer in its small package

Situated in the Lan Ha waterfront, 500 meters away from Hang Trai Island to the East and 28 kilometers away from Bai Chay Dock, the island is between Tra Ngu Island and Da Le Island, both of which are also quite popular with tourists.

What makes this island destination become such a favorite spot for tourists are because it is just simply gorgeous. It has the tall limestone cliffs that look like a massive wall, withstanding the waves and time with interesting and beautiful shapes and looks that are changed every time you visit by the continuous waves and wind that crashes into it. Another reason is the fresh green nature that is still thriving on the island even though the island receives a lot of visitors with many types of plants and foliage.

Lastly and even perhaps the biggest reason why people can’t stop coming to here is the lakes on the island. There are six lakes on Dau Be Island with Dau Be Lake being the most notable, the biggest and most frequently visited lake by visitors. The only way to get into Dau Be Lake is by kayaking and another form of small boats while the tide is at its lowest as the water level would drop. And you can pass through Dau Be Cave which connects Dau Be Lake with the ocean and once enter; it is your choice to enjoy the island to your heart’s content. Because there are many many things that you can do, keep on kayaking around the lake and enjoy the magnificent view, or maybe leaving your transport and jump down into the water and let every inch of your body to feel the water, etc.

Cong Tay Island

Cong Tay Island

Cong Tay Island is located in Bai Tu Long Bay, part of the tour around Ngoc Vung Island in Quan Lan, about 40km off Bai Chay Cruise Port. Ships and cruises normally run from Cam Pha to the island in about 90 minutes, about 30 minutes by speedboat.

Cong Tay Island is like the Cinderella in fairy tale. It is still mostly untouched and undiscovered by the destructive force of extensive tourism. It beauty lies in its simplicity with some built resort for weekend visits and relaxation. A hostel system, equipped with restaurants, lies along the beach front of Cong Tay Island. Red bricks pathways, running between 2 lines of coconut trees, pave the walk from the hotel to the beach. Along the beach, you can see hammocks readily hang under the trees, a perfect place to relax, enjoy the sea and read your favorite book. Tourists get totally detached from the real world, getting lost in a strange peaceful land for complete relaxation.

All utilities on Cong Tay Island are just enough to meet the bare minimum. Today, the hotel system continues to be upgraded, renovated to be more spacious with better service quality to meet the increasing demand of visitors.

Cong Do Island

Cong Do Island
Cong Do Island

Located in the southeast of Ha Long Bay, 25km off from Bai Chay cruise port, Cong Do Island is inside Bai Tu Long Bay. The island has an area of ​​23 363 km2 with 172 m high mountain. This is one of the many beautiful islands in the sea has wonderful natural salt lake, making it home to many species of marine life such as shrimp, crab, fish, squid, seaweed, algae.

Southeast of the island still has remnants of the old Van Don trading port, however faint, but it confirms that Cong Do islands formerly held key positions in commerce and trade with foreign countries. Visitors can easily find the ecosystem here is extremely diverse without any prior biological knowledge. Spanning from the edge of the island to the mountain top, there are interspersed species of vines, small trees and big trees with up to 30-40 cm in diameter.

Ba Mun Island

Ba Mun Island
Ba Mun Island

Ba Mun Island is an island belonging to Minh Chau communes of Van Don District of Halong Bay, lying parallel to the island of Quan Lan. The Island is also known as High Island Block. Ba Mun Island is about 15 km from the shore. The island has an area of approximately 1800 hectares with more than 20 km in length, narrow width, stretching from east to west. The highest mountain is called Mandarin mount (Quit mountain), with a height of 397 m. The flora and fauna on the island is very rich and there are many rare species.

Ba Mun Island is the only schist island with primeval forests in Ha Long Bay. On the island there are numerous rare types of timber. Some of them include Dinh timber, Lim timber, Sen Timber, Tau Timber. They are all trees standing there for many years, developing a huge circumference. Some grow so big that they require three to four people to hug around. Ba Mun Island is where many species of rare animals such as antelope, deer, monkeys, langurs and sea birds, migratory birds … are being protected. On 01/24/1997 Ba Mun forest has been recognized as Bai Tu Long national Forest.

Bo Hon Island

Bo Hon Island
Bo Hon Island

When it comes to beautiful islands in Halong Bay, Bo Hon Island is definitely worth mentioning. The island has not only beautiful landscapes but also has one of the largest island chain with many of Halong Bay famous caves like Sung Sot, Luon cave, swimming Tien Cave, Trinh Nu cave, Trong cave. These caves are famous destinations for tourists whenever they want to visit Halong Bay. Beside the magnificent cave system, Bo Hon Island takes your breath away with its series of high peaks, steep cliffs and consecutive mountains. They intertwine together, fitting perfectly into the horizon, making you feel like they are crafted by the most skillful craftsmen.

Bo Hon Island is also the home for many types of flora and fauna as well as wild animals. The island is inhabited by many species of plants, such as Banyan Tree, or orchid … Animals reside here include monkeys, deer, antelope … Though the number of wild animal is diminishing, Bo Hon Island is the sanctuary for those animals to live in. While having such diverse ecosystem, maybe Bo Hon Island is more famously known for its hidden cave system. Each cave bears a beautiful magic of its own, and is associated with many touching legends.

Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay
Lan Ha Bay

Located adjacent to Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is a peaceful bay in Cat Ba Islands system. Lan Ha Bay has about 400 large and small islands covered with green trees and vegetation. Limestone also makes up a large portion for the small islets in the bay. Nature is peaceful on the island. There are many calm water area suitable for swimming and kayaking around Sen Islet, Cu islet, Monkey islet. Stalactite caves such as Ham Rong, Do Cung or beaches at Tung Bear Cave, Cat Dua beach are some of other natural attraction in the area.

Lan Ha Bay has 139 beautiful and clean beaches with white sand. Gentle waves and calm sea make this a perfect place for swimming. Underneath the blue water, colorful coral reefs area such as Van Boi, Van Ha is worth a diving adventure. If you intend to learn about the bay, you will have to take a few days, but if you are short on time, you can ask boat owners to suggest a few destinations.

Cat Dua Island is the first stop on the tourist route in Lan Ha Bay. Most of the boats are not stopping here because fatigue but they come to admire what nature has bestowed on Cat Ba. The island is also called Monkey Island due to the existence of monkeys. They may storm out ready for snatching food from careless tourists. They can bite if someone provokes.

Yen Tu Mountain

Yen Tu Mountain
Yen Tu Mountain

Yen Tu Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the Dong Trieu Mountains in the north-eastern area of Vietnam, located within the area of Uong Bi Town, Quang Ninh Province. Besides being a famous natural landscape, Yen Tu preserves numerous historical relics and is also known as “The cradle of Buddhism in Vietnam”.

From the capital city of Hanoi, tourists may get Yen Tu by shuttle bus, car, or motorbike. If you are about to board a Halong cruise, an extra day to Yen Tu would be perfect for your trip to the coastal province.

On the way to explore Yen Tu, the first attraction to be encountered is Giai Oan Spring (Justifying Spring) with a majestic green stone bridge connecting two sides. This bridge is 10 meters long, which was built firmly in an antique architecture. Legends said that when King Tran Nhan Tong decided to resign from his throne to become a monk, his wives and concubines tried to persuade him changing his mind by suiciding into the spring. Mourning for them, the monk king built a temple nearby and named the spring “Giai Oan”.

Climbing for around 30-45 minutes, you’ll be able to reach a lush green courtyard, highlighted by vivid colour from different species of flowers of the a pagoda. The pagoda is surrounded by six enormous towers, amongst which the biggest one is to worship King Tran Nhan Tong.

Hoa Yen Pagoda is the biggest pagoda among the pagoda complex of Yen Tu Mountain, which is located on the height of 543 meters. Here, there is stood still a long row of Glyptostrobus trees, which are said to be planted during the time King Tran Nhan Tong at Yen Tu.

Climbing further to the height of 700m is Van Tieu Pagoda lying inside layers of white clouds, and Đồng Pagoda on an impressive height of 1,068m, which is made totally from copper. Both pagodas are dated back thousand years ago, and are very sacred to visit.

Standing on the highest peak of Yen Tu, one might to able to watch a panorama of the extensive North-eastern Vietnam, Bach Dang River, and especially the natural wonder Halong Bay.

Ti Top Island

Ti Top Island
Ti Top Island

Located in the heart of Halong Bay, which is only 8 kilometers from the Southeast of Bai Chay Harbor, Ti Top Island is regarded as one of the most attractive site for both international and domestic tourists to Halong.

The name Ti Top is named by the most respectful hero of Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh, after the Russian astronaut German Titop on the occasion of his first visit to Halong Bay in 1962.

Different from other popular tourist sites in Halong, Ti Top Island does not only possess breath taking romantic landscapes, but also has a heavenly beautiful beach called Ti Top which is perfect for any beach activity.

Although its size is not really big comparing to other beaches in Halong, Ti Top Beach is especially famous for its fresh atmosphere, clean water, and smooth white sand that create a great ambiance for tourists to relax. Thanks to all these, Ti Top Beach draws a huge amount of visitors during summer of special occasion.

In an attempt to serve the increasing number of tourists to Ti Top Island, there have been numerous high-end resorts, hotels, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, life-buoy renting, skydiving, or kayak facilities built recently.

Thien Cung Cave

Thien Cung Cave
Thien Cung Cave

Thien Cung Cave (Heavenly Palace Cave) is located in the southwest of Halong Bay, 4 km away from Dau Go Island, which is considered the most beautiful primitive cave of the Bay. The cave is 10,000 square meters with complicated interior structure, many floors, and high ceiling. The cave becomes famous thanks to a unique system of stalactites and stalagmites with different forms and shapes.

Exploring Thien Cung Cave’s craggy cliffs is no easy task. Going through a narrow door, you would be surprised by a large space inside the cave that the further you walk, the more beautiful formation of stalactites come to your eyes.

On the wall of the eastern side of the cave, an impressive picture of stalactites and stalagmites give tourists the most fantastic feeling ever. The travel guide would never forget to tell you legends or folk tales interpreted from the picture by the local Halong people.

Make full use of your imagination to create pictures of fish schools, flocks of birds, and the daily life of people from a giant natural rock pillar all naturally sculptured by stalactites inside your mind when you come to the center of the cave.

Above your head, on the ceiling of Thien Cung Cave, amazing rows of stalagmites drooping through million years that create colorful pictures and melodies thank to the light and the wind flowing inside the cave.

Leaving the cave, tourist would feel a lingering sensation like just finish a tour to a massive art museum created by the Mother Nature.

Surprise Cave

Surprise Cave
Surprise Cave

Located inside Bo Hon Island, in the middle Halong Bay, Surprise Cave is considered the most magnificent cave in this charming bay.

Most names of tourist attractions in Halong originate from very interesting stories and Surprise Cave is one of them. Actually at first the cave was named “Grotto de la Surprise” (The cave of Surprise) and recently, it has been shortened to “Surprise”. This title describes the very first feeling of tourists when they entered the cave with full of “wow”, “amazing”, and “unbelievable”.

At first, after few steps into the cave they tourists might think that the cave seems like a narrow and minuscule one, but with just few more steps into the cave, it becomes bigger and bigger. The tourists could not imagine how a tiny path could lead to such a giant, airy, and spectacular cave.

For travelers who have imaginative mind, the inner space of the cave can be seen as a large theater, a theater that was made by Mother Nature. The ceiling is decorated with stalactites like colorful chandeliers and the floor with plenty of rocks in diverse shapes of elephant, horse to tree, leaves, and flowers. The further tourists go into the cave, the more interesting shaped rocks appear. Some traveler says that the cave can also be called Cave of Unfathomable Depth.

Quan Lan Island

Quan Lan Island
Quan Lan Island

Quan Lan Island is located within the area of Bai Tu Long Bay, stretching on a total area of 11 square kilometers, from Van Don mountains to Giot Mountain.

The island lies on a very important marine gateway connecting Vietnam and other countries such as China, Japan, Thailand, and The Philippines. Spreading along the coast of the island are numerous white sand beaches and this is also the sea where fishermen get high quality seafood such as squids, butterfish, mackerel, prawn, sea cucumber, etc.

During the 11th Century, Quan Lan was a busy port for international trade between Vietnam and other countries. A lot of vestiges related to trading activities have been discovered here.

The outstanding tourist attraction of this island is Quan Lan Temple, which was built in the 18th Century with impressive architectural design with finely carved patterns, and is still preserved nearly 100% until now.

Swimming
Quan Lan has 3 beaches: Quan Lan Beach, Son Hao Beach and Minh Chau Beach. All three beaches have white sand and are quite pristine compared with other beaches near Halong Bay. Quan Lan Beach is the one that is closest to the pier yet also the most beautiful of all three. Go further into the island another 4km you will reach Son Hao and another 10km is Minh Chau beach.

Stay
Due to its remoteness, accommodation facility is slowly emerging in Quan Lan and the majority remains small hostels or homestays. They do not need to be booked in advance as they are readily available year round. Price varies from $10-40/room/night.

How to get there
You can get to Quan Lan either from Halong Bay or from Cai Rong Pier (near Cua Ong). Ferries from Halong would take about 1.5 hours while speedboat from Cai Rong pier takes about 45 minutes.

How to get around
Quan Lan remains a less motorized island than any others in Halong Bay area. To get around you can either rent a bicycle or take tuktuk (available for booking from most hostels).

Minh Chau Beach

Minh Chau Beach
Minh Chau Beach

Minh Chau Beach is a private beach located on Quan Lan Island, Quang Ninh Province, which is only 15 kilometers away from Quan Lan Beach. For those who want a long journey, a trip to Minh Chau Beach would be a wise choice.

The unique feature is the pristine white non-sticky sand that gives a comfortable sensation walking on. The beauty of the beach resembles the famous Snow White

On Minh Chau Beach, tourists would love to enjoy a variety of beach activities, camping, exploring the island, looking for rare sea animals of the island, or releasing your body and mind into a quiet and relaxing ambiance on the beach under the moonlight.

Tourists who are interested in visiting Minh Chau Beach can depart from Cam Pha District (Halong) and get a ferry for 9 kilometers to Cai Rong Town. Then, canoes would be the last transportation to Quan Lan Island, where Minh Chau Beach is located, for around three hours. I that three hours, tourists can also visit fishing villages and tropical green islands to enjoy the stunning landscape of the bay.

Besides the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent landscape and beach activities, tourists will be pleased with a lavish menu of delicacies from Halong Bay from high-end hotels and restaurants on the island.

Ngoc Vung Island

Ngoc Vung Island
Ngoc Vung Island

Ngoc Vung Island is a romantic place which possesses primitively beautiful landscapes with freshest and most delicious seafood of the bay at the lowest price.

The island is a part of Van Don District, Quang Ninh, which is 12 square kilometers. Cong Yen Port, the island main port, is one of the busiest port of Van Don during the 11th Century, and the vestige of the ancient castle of Nguyen Dynasty and Mac Dynasty.

From Halong Harbor, it takes 5 hours to get to Ngoc Vung Island. After setting foot on the island, there are a group of mountain bikes are ready for tourists because people on this island do not use car or motorbike. Moreover, biking around the island is a good way to enjoy every single aspect of this beautiful island.

Ngoc Vung Beach with a crescent moon shape winding 3 km along the casuarina forest attracts visitors by the fresh air and clean water. Additionally, seafood captured by the local fishermen is fresh, delicious, and surprisingly cheap. Recommendation dishes are geoduck, lobster, and sipunculus nudus.

Con Do Fishing Village is also an interesting place to explore where you would get a chance to drive a motor boat, or to learn about the daily life of the local fishermen.

Kissing Rocks

Ha Long Bay Kissing Rocks
Ha Long Bay Kissing Rocks

With thousands of islets of different shapes and sizes on its surface, there are countless stories about them in Halong Bay. Among those beautiful islets, there are two most special chicken shaped rocks, one rooster and one hen facing each other in the middle of blue water and gentle wind of Halong.

They are not only the symbols of Halong but also the symbol of a passionate love. While to some others, these rocks seem fighting each other and they call them Fighting Chicken Rock, people seem to prefer the name Kissing Rocks. The rocks that have been facing each other for probably hundred thousand years, like an eternal love.

Dau Go Cave

Dau Go Cave
Dau Go Cave

Floating on the emerald water, Đầu Gỗ Island (Wooden Head Island) is amongst the most famous tourist attractions in Halong Bay. Inside Đầu Gỗ Island, tourists will find Đầu Gỗ Cave a very interesting cave.

From afar, the cave entrance is a jellyfish look-alike 90 steps stair. Into the cave, a massive system of stalagmites and stalactites resembling stony waterfalls would make anyone feel like being one with the nature.

The cave has three main compartments. The first area has a curved shape which is filled up by natural light. The celling of this area is a giant oil painting describing primitive landscapes with rows of stalagmites and stalactites changing their color upon the intensity and angle of the light. Many tourists love letting their imagination go wild with all the light reflecting on those stalagmites and stalactites.

Passing the first area by going through a narrow entrance, tourists will get to the second part. It is a little bit lack of light, but it has a more intriguing ambiance of fuzzy picture formed by the harmonious combination of light and stalactites that stimulate your curiosity but also be a little bit creepy.

The adventure continues with a sudden discovery of the last massive. Here, there is a sacred fairy well that is said to be used by beautiful fairies descending from the heavenly kingdom.

Legends say that the name Đầu Gỗ (Wooden Head) originates from the victory of the Supreme Commander Tran Hung Dao (1228-1300) against Mongol invasion in the 13th Century on Bach Dang River by deploying booby traps of giant steel-tipped wooden stakes beneath the water. He found a away to hide all the stakes during high tides so that the Mongol could not see it. Later on, some of those wooden stakes flow to this cave and was discovered by the local people.

Đầu Gỗ Cave is proudly listed in the world famous tourism book Merveille de Monde published in France in 1938, which presents the most beautiful and worth visiting tourist attractions in the world, including Đầu Gỗ Cave under the name “Grotte des marveilles” (Cave of Wonders).

Cat Ba Archipelago

Cat Ba Archipelago
Cat Ba Archipelago

Cat Ba Island belongs to Hai Phong province, but it is only 25km from downtown Halong and strongly recommended to tourists in Halong Bay. The archipelago, a group of about 367 islands is not only one of the most popular tourism destinations in the north of Vietnam but also a national park, recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve Park.

Among these islands, the largest one, Cat Ba Island seems to be the most attractive to tourists with natural beauty. While some tourists come to this island to relax and enjoy some fresh air in luxurious resorts, some others prefer adventurous trips of Cat Ba National Park, Hung Son Cave, Phu Long Cave, and Trung Trang Cave.

Although speedboats connecting Haiphong and Cat Ba Island have been operated recently, a considered number of tourists still choose traditional ferry to reach the island. With 80 minutes travelling on the sea by ferry, tourists have enough time to enjoy the great landscape, as well as the relaxing airy atmosphere between the two beautiful coastal cities.

Bãi Dài Beach

Bãi Dài Beach
Bãi Dài Beach

Bãi Dài (Long Beach) in Vân Đồn District, Quang Ninh Province is one of the most beautiful beaches in the North of Vietnam. It is known for the primitive and poetic beauty that can be hardly found anywhere in the world.

Living up to its name, Bãi Dài (Long Beach) stretches for nearly 2km, with smooth and white sand along with clean and fresh water. The beach is especially crowded during summertime when everyone want run away from the scourging heat of a tropical country. There are many beach activities available in Bãi Dài. For those who prefer a quiet rest on the beach, lying down and listening to the melody of Halong Bay waves is not a bad option at all.

Other than breathtaking landscapes and relaxing atmosphere, Bãi Dài offers excellent services with a chain of luxury resorts, hotels and restaurants of 1,000 rooms in total, which are divided into 4 sectors: three-storey, two-storey, office building and Bamboo Village. Besides, tourists may find this beach more enjoyable with diverse choices of activities organized by trustworthy resorts here, such as beach volleyball, kayaking, Jet Ski, karaoke, spa, and sauna, etc.

Thanks to the romantic scenery, the wooden dock is the highlight of Bãi Dài is a perfect spot of professional photographers to make outstanding masterpieces. Many people find this place an ideal place for wedding photo-shooting.

Additionally, tourists can get a one day cruise from Bãi Dài to other famous tourist attractions of Halong like Bai Tu Long Bay, tropical green islands like Ngoc Vung, Quan Lan, Minh Chau, or sacred Cai Bau Pagoda.

Co To Island

Co To Island
Co To Island

Co To Island/Beach in Quang Ninh Province is probably the most beautiful and romantic beach of Vietnam with transparent blue sea, white smooth sand, golden sunshine, and green mountains and forest.

Tourists who have never been to Co To may hardly imagine how fascinatingly and charmingly beautiful it is. Visiting Co To, tourists would not only have a chance to become one with the nature in a relaxing and fresh environment of blue clean seawater, but also to visit primitive forests, the impressive lighthouse of Co To, Ho Chi Minh’s Monument, Co To Pier, fishing village and natural reefs and islets.

Co To Lighthouse is the symbol of the island, which offers the most beautiful panorama of Ha Long Bay. From the lighthouse, tourists will have a great view of a breathtaking picture of the Northern Gulf with unique formation of small islets on emerald water of the bay, the pristine white color of beaches, the lush green color of forests, and yellow rice-fields from a far. On the way to the hill where this lighthouse is located, tourists have an opportunity to go through a romantic forest with a variety of alluring flowers booming along the path, not to mention to melody of the forest composed by thousands rare species of birds.

In Co To, you might feel free to immerse into the clean water while watching flocks of seagull flying above or wandering around the beach to look for their foods. With many options of beaches in Co To, you should never worry about finding a good spot for a relaxing afternoon lying on the beach.

Tra Co Beach

Tra Co Beach
Tra Co Beach

With the extensive beach of smooth white sand and blue transparent water, Tra Co Beach is the border of a natural island which is created by the impact of waves and sea stream onto the shore.

Tra Co is located on the far northeast of the country, in Quang Ninh Province, bordering China, and is 9km away from Mong Cai Town. It is 206 kilometers from Hai Phong City to Mong Cai Town. However, some other prefer to depart from Hon Gai (Ha Long) for a shorter distance of 132 kilometers.

On the way to the beach, tourists may notice crowded villages living mostly on fishing activities on both sides of the way, a number of high sand dunes of 3-4 meters, stretching rows of casuarinaceae preventing sand storm for the local residents, and mangroves from a far.

Tra Co Beach stretches over 17 kilometers long from Got Tip in the North to Ngoc Tip in the South. Thanks to the huge size, the beach is capable of accommodating a large number of tourists at a time. Thanks to a far distance from the city and industrial zones, Tra Co atmosphere is cool and fresh that bears solitudes and primitive patterns. The year’s average temperature of Tra Co is 22.7 Degree Celsius. There are four months when it goes below 20 Celsius degree (December to March), and the .highest temperature recorded is 28 Celsius degree only in the summer.
Most tourists prefer Tra Co Beach because that there are very few shops, restaurants, and street vendors here. If tourists want some fresh seafood, they can find it easy and cost-saving from fishing boats anchoring on the shore at its freshest.

If tourists come to Tra Co at the end of lunar calendar May, they can take part in “Tra Co Festival”, which occurs from May 30 to June 6 of the year. During 6 days of the festival, all the quintessence of Tra Co is revealed to tourists.

Tuan Chau Island

Tuan Chau Island
Tuan Chau Island

Tuan Chau Island is a newly established tourism center of Ha Long City, which is only 8 kilometers away from downtown Ha Long. The whole area of this island is about 2.2 square kilometers, which consists of multiple sloping hills.

Today, Tuan Chau is really the most attractive site of Ha Long with numerous constructions for the sake of pleasing tourist. From the entrance of this tourism complex, tourists can see a chain of international standard villas. Going deeper into the island, streets of foods courts and five luxury restaurants designed with the ancient royal architecture are able to serve up to 1,000 customers.

Tuan Chau Beach is artificial, stretching over 2 kilometers long with white smooth sand and yellow sunshine the whole summer. Visiting Tuan Chau, you would never have to worry about your accommodation with more than 400 rooms of international standard at your service: private villa, luxury resort, or high-end hotel.

In Tuan Chau, tourists might also enjoy a variety of exciting activities like Jet Ski, canoes parachute, sea fishing, kayaking, mountain climbing, camping, or lavish services and entertainment such as dolphin show, seal show, circus, and martial art show 6 days a week (except Monday). Come to Tuan Chau Island, come to the heaven on Earth.

What you will see on a cruise trip Halong Bay?

Most guests who visit Halong will spend either 1 or 2 night on a cruise or junk – this is without doubt the best way to enjoy the scenic landscape of the Bay. Each cruise tailor-makes their own itinerary but in general, you will get to see the major caves and most important grottos of the Bay. 2 day trip is rather cramped as you get only 1 day to spend on board and the rest of the time is spent on traveling back and forth from Hanoi. 3 day trip gives you a better opportunity to see more of the Bay and worth considering if you have time.

2 days 1 night tour

On the first day, your cruise will start at noon and as the cruise sets sail, lunch will be served.

In the afternoon, you may have a chance to stop at several famous sites, such as Luon Cave, Đầu Người Island (Human Head Island), Con Rùa Island (Turtle Island), and Cổng Trời Island (Heaven Gate Island). At one of the stopping points, tourists may also take part in exciting kayaking or swimming activity. However, there might be a small additional fee depending on the tour package you register for.

Dau Be Island

Coming back to the ship after a long day, tourists would be welcomed by more relaxing activities like massage, Jacuzzi (for luxury cruise), and a delicious dinner on board. Many cruises also organize cooking demonstration where you will learn to make Vietnamese food. Some cruises offer tourists outdoor BBQ party on the sundeck, which is a great way to spend time with friends and families. After that, you may choose to stay at the bar with lots of qualified wines, playing cards with friends, watching TV, or trying your luck with squid fishing.

When you wake up the next morning, your breakfast is ready to serve with an early morning Tai Chi class on the sundeck to get yourself into the flow of the nature. On the second day, you are scheduled to visit more famous tourist attraction, such as Titop Island or Sung Sot Grotto (Surprise Cave). The whole trip ends by a tour back to the harbor after that, so don’t forget to take some nice pictures of the bay on the way.

Surprise Cave
Surprise Cave

3 days 2 nights tour

Much similar to the previous itinerary, your cruise trip starts with a brief session about the itinerary and safety instructions on boat. The tour usually starts from 11:00am – 12:00am, so that you can have a tasty lunch while observing the stunning landscape of Halong Bay.

The cruise continues going around the bay until you reach a tourist spot, usually a famous beach or limestone cave such as Titop Island, Con Rùa Island (Turtle Island), or Cổng Trời Island (Heaven Gate Island), then anchors for the night there. You will get enough time to enjoy water sports and activities like snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking in the green water of the bay. Depending on your cruise, you might enjoy BBQ party on beach, sundeck, or in the on-board restaurant.

Ti Top Island
Ti Top Island

On the next day, the journey starts with Tai Chi class in the early morning and breakfast. You have the whole morning to visit other attractions of the bay, and most cruises will transfer you to a smaller day boat so that you can go down the more narrow path of the Bay. You can spend the rest of the day with your friends and family exploring the sea. A delicious dinner is ready anytime when you come back.

For the thirday, you will often get to see Surprise Cave after breakfast. Brunch will be served as the cruise slowly heads back to the harbour.

Where to shop in Halong

Shopping is one of the most popular activities when one travels. In Halong Bay, shopping is not about big malls with branded items. Expect a different shopping experience when you are in the area. The following places are a good  starting point:

Halong Market

Being constructed and officially operated in 2003, the new Halong Market is one of the most attractive destinations in the city that draw a huge number of local and international tourists coming for shopping. The market is located in the center of Halong City at Bach Dang Street, and considered the largest markets of this coastal city. Products which are exhibited and sold here are diverse in range from normal to luxurious goods and pretty competitive in price. Customers are easy to find anything here, from clothes, accessories, and electrical devices. Food and drinks are also sold in small restaurants in the market. Moreover, this is also one of the places that sell specialties of Halong City, such as dried squid or seafood, with most ensured quality and reasonable price. Halong Market opens all 7 days a week, from 6.00 am to 6.30 pm

Halong Night Market

Halong Night Market
Halong Night Market

For various tourists who visit to Halong City, Halong Night Market is a place that they should not miss out. The market is a group of more than a hundred stalls which sell diverse types of products, such as handicrafts, handmade accessories, clothes, and other dispensable items such as swimwear, lotion, or hat. Tourists tend to come to this place for purchasing unique products of the beach city like necklaces made from seashells, snails, wooden small boats, or T-shirt with images of Halong Bay on. And the great things is that sellers here are friendly with advance English skill, so that tourists should not be worry about bargaining, posing, and tourists can have a nice chat with them about this charming city. Halong Night Market opens 7 days a week, from 6.00pm until midnight

Bai Chay Commercial Center

Being established on the base of a minuscule market at Vuon Dao Street, Bai Chay Commercial Center is one of the largest and most modern shopping center in Halong City. Products here are diverse from regular to deluxe goods, and price range is a little bit higher than other markets in the city. However, this extra money is paid for better services, as well as ensured quality of each product.

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