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Tet 2017

Experience the most attractive tourist on Halong Bay

Halong Bay, literally meaning descending dragon bay, is located in the Quảng Ninh Province in Vietnam. The beauty of the bay is due to the thousands of limestone karats and isles in different shapes and sizes. It’s a popular travel destination in Vietnam. Most tourist don’t dare to skip this place; it’s a definite must-visit. During our visit to Hanoi, we also included a two-day tour to Halong Bay. In this post you can find everything you need to know about Halong Bay and your visit.

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Some facts about Halong Bay

Halong Bay is located in Quảng Ninh Province, near the border of China. Since 1994 Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and since 2012 one of the Seven Wonders of Nature. It’s a large area of 1,553 km2, including around 2000 islets and islands.

A lot of limestone islands have caves and grottoes. The majority of the limestones are vertical cliffs, with heights ranging from 50 to 100 meters. The limestones of Halong Bay have been in formation for over 500 million years in different conditions and environments.  It has taken approximately 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate.

The water in Halong Bay is less than 10 meters in most places, and contains a rich biodiversity of approximately 1000 marine animals. There is also wildlife on the islands, these include deer, mink, squirrels, monkeys, birds, lizards and antelopes.

The Legend behind Halong Bay

The name Halong Bay has quite the story behind it. It literally means descending dragon, which comes from a legend of this ancient land.

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According to the legend, when the land of Vietnam was formed, Vietnamese had to fight against invaders from the North of the sea. The Jade Emperor sent the Mother Dragon and her children to help the Vietnamese to defend the country.

The Mother Dragon and her children burned the enemies with their fire and giant emeralds. Peace came back to Vietnam, as the dragons won from the Northern invaders. During the battle, the emeralds from the dragon’s mouth were spread around the sea to create a defensive wall against the enemies. The wall of emerald turned into island and islets of different sizes and shapes.

The Mother Dragon and children stayed in the mortal world, turned into humans and helped the people of Vietnam. This legend is also part of the general belief that Vietnamese people are originated from Dragons.

How to get to Halong Bay

It’s quite easy to get to Halong Bay, as it’s a popular destination and basically all tour operators can take you there. As we booked a tour from Hanoi, everything was taken care of. If you book a tour as well (which most people do) you will most likely get picked up from your hotel and get a bus transfer to the pier and get a boat from there.

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It’s also possible to arrange a bus, taxi or other transportation to Halong Bay by yourself and fix a boat there. We have also heard about a seaplane, but that it’s very expensive.

Please check this website for some more information about getting to Halong Bay.

Best time to go to Halong Bay

What is the best time to visit Halong Bay? Because locating in the North of Vietnam, Halong Bay has 4 different seasons and almost at any time throughout the year you can visit Halong Bay.

Warm Spring

In the spring, there is still the possibility of rainy and foggy conditions but the fog is not as thick as in the winter. This is the time of flowers blooming and swallows flying over the bay. Besides that, the sun shines constantly all day, and the water is gentle and calm. With this weather, tourist can truly experience the best of Ha Long as they are cruising slowly around and staring at the breathtaking scenery.

Hot and Moist Summer

Summer will bring clear views of the stunning islands and pleasant swimming temperatures, the sun shines from very early morning until as late as 7 pm in Halong, which makes you feel the daytime is longer than the night time. This time also gives you the perfect chance to have sun-tanned skin and is an ideal time for cruising and kayaking. On the other hand, from July and August, there may be infrequent typhoons so you will be cancel or delay your trip.

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Cold Autumn

Autumn is also perfect time for couples or small families to have private life-time experiences together while sailing through Ha Long Bay. The average temperature is lower than 27°C, so you can enjoy the cool and pleasant atmosphere. From October onwards, it is the ideal time for tourists to take a cruise on the bay. The wonderful weather will enable you to enjoy all activities offered on board while making sightseeing as perfect as it could be.

Cold and Dry Winter

Winter officially arrives at Ha Long Bay in November and gets colder and colder in January and February. The highest temperature reaches to only 20°C, while the temperature can drop to about 8°C. It is possible to take a boat cruise in Ha Long Bay in winter. Although swimming is not suitable, you still will be had a lot of exciting activities in this season and you can also sightseeing the thick fog possesses a mystery beauty.

In conclusion, the best for travelling Halong will be from April to October because at that time, the weather is quite cool and nice. However, you can also come here in the winter months. The weather can be quite cold and cloudy, sometimes rainy but it will be the best time for private trip with a fanciful scenery of the islands between clouds.

How to get to Halong Bay?

About 170km away from Hanoi capital with 3 – 4 hours go by car, Halong Bay is easily accessible by different means of transportation.

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Shuttle Bus

This type of transfer is available for departing from Hanoi center only. The shuttle bus can be understood as “tourist bus”, leaving Hanoi around 08:00 and return at 12:00 from Halong Bay every day. If your hotel is located in Hanoi Old Quarter, you will be picked up from the hotel. Otherwise, you have to take a taxi to the meeting point. Shuttle bus costs from USD10 to USD30/person/one way.

Railways

You can choose service of Halong Express train departs from Gia Lam Railway Station to Ha Long, USD20/single ticket.

Helicopter

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You can also travel to Halong Bay on helicopter which takes about 1.5 hour and it is only possible from Hanoi. This service is exclusively run by Northern Vietnam Helicopter Company and it is quite a costly option to reach Halong Bay.

Seaplanes

In addition to the usual transportation, tourists from Hanoi also have a new choice for modern and luxury seaplane for travelling Halong Bay. The seaplane with 2 pilot seats, 12 passenger seats and spacious windows, not only saves travel time, but also help you comfortably see the beauty from plane, as well as record memorable moments of Halong Bay from a height of between 150 and 3,000 meters above sea level.

Shopping and price in Halong

Shopping is an essential part for any tourists. From shopping, you can learn more about local culture and society, as well as bring home some nice souvenirs for your friends and family.

Ha Long Market

Ha Long market, located on Bach Dang Street, in the Ha Long city center, is the largest market in Quang Ninh province. Built in 2003, Ha Long market has become a popular shopping place for locals and tourists alike. There are a variety of goods sold here.

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First floor: pearl, jewelry, embroidered paintings, mother-of-pearl mosaic paintings and electronics. Second floor: footwear, clothing, seafood and marine products. Food and drinks are also sold in small restaurants in the market.

Ha Long market opens every day from 6.00 a.m and 6.30 p.m. The market is often crowded on the weekend.

Ha Long Night Market

Night market is near Bai Chay Beach, open every day from 6.00 pm until late night. 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 Ha Long Bay. Price range is higher than other markets in the city.

Bai Chay Commercial Center

Located on Vuon Dao Street in Bai Chay Beach area. 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.

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Like Ha Long Market, Bai Chay Commercial Center opens every day from 6.00 a.m and 6.30 p.m

Besides that, there are many shop opened daily along the Bai Chay Road with various type of special high-quality products such as Halong Pearl shop, crocodile leather shop, wooden souvenir shop, coal souvenir shop...

In general, shopping price in Halong is not too expensive for famous destination. You can buy clothes, souvenirs with just a little bit expensive more than other local places in Vietnam. Eating at Halong restaurants is also quite affordable price. However, like many other destinations, you also need to ask about the price before deciding to buy or rent something.

¨Must to try¨ food

One of the memorable experiences is enjoy the local food. Halong is famous for variety cuisines with seafood that tourist not to be missed when travelling here.

Squid Sausages

Firstly, we cannot fail to mention Squid Sausages. This famous specialty is processed with fresh squid. What made special flavor to fried squid is the hands pounding technique, instead of grinding as many other places. After tasting spices, the patties are fried on a pan with boiling oil. It makes the squid sausage more crunchy and charming. Despite the relatively high price, 300.000 – 450.000 VND per kg, but tourists are still looking to buy in the market when they come here.

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Ngán

You also should to try ¨Ngán¨. You will be surprised with its name that means ¨boring¨ in Vietnamese. However it is considered as the most delicious dish in Halong. ¨Ngán¨ is a mollusk with bivalve like clams, it can be processed in various ways: grilled, steamed, cooked soup, fried with noodles or vegetables. ¨Ngán¨ can also be used to make wine. The wine which is processed by ¨Ngán¨ has its own scent from the sea. If you would like to buy fresh ¨Ngán¨ or wine, you can go to Cai Ram market, Vuon Dao market.

Sá Sùng

It is very strange when you are heard about Sa Sung – a kind of sea worn. It lives deeply in the sand and only in Quan Lan island (Quang Ninh Province). So this is a quite expensive dish in Halong Bay. Fresh ¨Sa Sung¨ can be stir-fried with garlic or dried, grilled, roasted to eat with drinking alcohol. In addition, it is also used to make spices for noodle soup.

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Snail

Another famous seafood dish in Halong is Snail. Halong has a variety of snail so that if you hear about it, you have to ask to repeat or need a pen and paper to record because it is hard for you to remember: hương snail (Flavor), đĩa snail (plate), vặn snail (twisted), Gai snail (prickle), ... Served with snail is the special sauces to make that dish more tasty.

Tu Hài

It is a pity when you travel to Halong without enjoying Tu Hai. If you have once enjoyed, surely that you will not forget the typical taste of this seafood. Tu Hai can be steamed, make salad, cooked soup, grilled….. The appetizer with steamed Tu Hai has cool and sweet taste and it can be said that this is the most delicious, nutritious dish.

It can be said that Halong is the place where nourish variety type of rare and precious seafood. When choosing Halong is the destination for your wonderfu. Do you know Halong is the destination that the famous Hollywood couple has chosen for their trip. So why you have not yet gone on Halong tours - One of Seven wonders in the world with your like them travel partnerl trip, so why not to enjoy many special seafood that has bestowed for Halong by the nature.
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Item Reviewed: Experience the most attractive tourist on Halong Bay Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nga Đỗ
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