Ha Long


Seen from above, Ha Long Bay resembles a light blue handkerchief dotted with emerald gems; sometimes clustered together, sometimes isolated. The clever artistic hand of creation has made thousands of stone islands simulating familiar personages or animals. Like the constellations of the night sky, it’s possible to find a familiar form in every island of Ha Long Bay: one brings to mind a pair of chickens bobbing on the spacious water (Trong Mai Island); another is like a giant tortoise with half-closed and sleepy eyes (Tortoise Islet); another is like an old monk joining his hands in prayer to Buddha with his face overlooking the sea (Monk Islet); yet another is like a giant incense-burner standing in the middle of the sea which used to pray heaven and earth (Incense Burner Islet). It is a safe bet that many other islands bearing familiar forms remain undiscovered in the mysterious bay.

The sea of Ha Long is deep blue water throughout all four seasons. In spring, sailing amidst the waves, the stone islands look to be bobbing on the water. As summer approaches and the sun is rising on the far horizon, they appear to awake in unison and rise from the blue depths. The whole bay is bright red, and then turns to blue as the crests of the waves run together towards the shore. Orchids and fig trees, growing from fissures in the stone, bloom with snowy flowers.

As a boat makes its way through this forest of islands by ways of meandering channels, sometimes stone seems to be spread in front of you; forming a wall heeding further progress. Once nearer, the wall appears to crack open as if letting your boat pass. The scenery disappears behind you as yet another panorama opens to your view. 
The winding route seems to be endless, but the beauty of Ha Long Bay does not consist only in the forms of its mountains, islands and the colour of its waters, but also in its infinitely rich system of grottoes and caves; concentrated mostly in the middle of the UNESCO-protected area. Heavenly Palace Grotto bears a modern and refined trait, while Driftwood Grotto is ample and grandiose and Surprise Grotto appears deeply secretive. There are many beautiful examples, closely linked with legends and popular tales, such as: Virginity and Male Grotto and the Fairy Grotto Lake. Each is a grandiose and refined natural architectural creation.

At sunset, when the mountains’ shadows stretch out long across the bay, the water turns grey-blue, before suddenly transforming to a crimson red as the last of the sun’s rays reach the far away islands. For one short instant, the whole scene mingles into one colour, and then all light is extinguished. After the moon climbs into the sky, the sea seems to be coated with silver, with the lights of Ha Long City reflected on the surface of the water.

It seemed that every islands, caves and beaches in Ha Long closely linked with the legend and popular tale of love, of the heroic song for safeguarding country... Visiting Ha Long Bay is a good chance to witness the romantic and attractive love story, which happened only in the legend.

Bai Tu Long Bay is located to the northeast of Ha Long Bay. Although the Bay seems less popular than its neighboring Bay of Ha Long, its beauty and attractiveness are undeniable and it boasts some of the World Heritage Site's most spectacular scenery, including beautiful limestone formations, rock arches, gin-clear water, virtually inaccessible lagoons, sheer cliffs, peaceful coves, eerie caves, secluded strips of white, powdery sand, and thousands of limestone islets. Like sculpted cartoon characters, these islets are fancifully named: Mat Quy Island (Monster Face Island), Swan Island, the Isle of Wonders and theIsle of Surprise. Local traditional junks glide over the teal-hued bay between the grottoes, which are densely carpeted in neon-green ficas, mangrove and spiky cacti. Pearl oyster farms are tucked into tight channels between the towering, limestone cliffs.

Things to do in Halong Bay:

Visiting floating fishing villages

Apart from its natural beauty, historical and archaeological significance, the Bay of Ha Long is also home to 4 fishing villages namely Ba Hang, Cua Van, Vong Vieng and Cap La with a total of 287 households and 1,283 residents of which Cua Van is the largest. These fishing villages have maintained both a tangible and intangible marine culture and pulled lots of travelers both at home and abroad.

It is interesting to see the rambunctious children flocking to “school”. Their bustling calling and their flopping rowing warm up the peaceful atmosphere of the Bay. Looking at the small boats driven by tiny oars going to school, and the radiant faces of the children, one feels confident in a vibrant future for the fishing villages.

Kayaking

Travelers to Ha Long Bay hardly resist the power and beauty of the site. However, if you come to Ha Long and don't take the opportunity to closely explore this marvel, you may miss some of the unique points of interest that make the bay a legend.

As an add-on to your stay onboard our junk boats, sea kayaking is not only a health-benefit and rewarding adventure, but also a fascinating experience and an incredible way to closely explore caves, lagoons, beaches; paddle up and visit fishermen in their woven bamboo boats.

Trekking in Cat Ba National Park

A trek to Cat Ba National Park will bring about a completely different experience as you’ll have a chance to see the panorama of Halong Bay from a mountain top, hear birds singing and see native medicine plants, caves where villagers sheltered in the war and beautiful butterflies.

Fishing at night

Available upon request, fishing has become a favourite entertaining activity of many travellers to Halong Bay after a delicious dinner with tons of local cuisines.  

How to get to Halong Bay:

It is hard to do it any cheaper on your own, but some travelers prefer to steer their own course. Traveling independently allows you to take more or less time in places, depending on the weather. The downside is that it is hard to arrange an overnight on a boat this way. 

Most of our guests have long favored private transfers to Halong Bay which normally take about 3 hours per way, cost a few more bucks but way more convenient and comfortable. 

As the number-one tourist attraction in northeastern Vietnam, Halong Bay draws a steady stream of visitors all the year-round. From February to April the weather in this region is often cool and drizzly. The ensuing fog can make visibility low, but this adds an ethereal air to the place and the temperature rarely falls below 10°C. During the summer months tropical storms are frequent, and tourist boats may have to alter their itineraries, depending on the weather.


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