Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Halong Bay, Vietnam | Kidadl


Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Halong Bay, Vietnam

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For the past two years or so, humankind has been forced to sit within the four walls of our homes.

The thin line between personal and professional life has been erased, and most of us sit for hours for our work. The single difference is that now we work from our homes and not the office premises.

As the pandemic approaches its end and as civilization is slowly returning to normalcy, the loss of recreation and traveling has to be compensated. Many people are more willing than ever before to travel and visit foreign places and make up for the lost time. So with that in mind, let's introduce you to Halong Bay, in Vietnam, one of the most exquisite and picturesque locations in the world. Some of the most famous islands in the region are Bo Hon Island, Cong Tay Island, Ti Top Island, and several others.

This place can satisfy your wanderlust like no other. We have lots of interesting facts about this place so the next time you're planning a trip, why not consider Ha Long Bay, Vietnam?

What makes Ha Long Bay, Vietnam such a great destination?

They often call Halong Bay the paradise of Vietnam. A popular travel destination of Asia, Halong Bay was also named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The bay is located in the Quang Ninh Province of Vietnam.

The name ‘Ha Long’ ordinarily means the 'descending dragons'. Halong, therefore, translates to mean the place where the dragon descends into the sea. Halong Bay is under the administrative control of Ha Long City and is located in the district of Van Don.

Some of the unique features of Vietnam include limestone pillars, blue crystal water, and isles in different shapes and sizes. The entry point in Halong Bay is Halong City. The bay is a comparatively large zone, running from Bai Tu Long Way in the northeast to the southwest of Cat Ba Island.

Ha Long Bay is a 600 sq mi (1,554 sq km) bay with 1,960–2,000 limestone islets. The bay's core is 129 sq mi (334 sq km) and is densely populated with 775 islets. The area's geo-diversity has resulted in great biodiversity. Ha Long boasts of an evergreen bio-system, as well as oceanic and seashore bio-systems. There are 14 unique floral species and 60 endemic species of fauna in Ha Long Bay.

It's said that when the people of Vietnam were attacked by invaders, King Jade of Vietnam called upon the family of dragons to protect them. These dragons spit out jewels and jade which formed the island and isles of Halong Bay and thus protected them from attacks by the potential offenders. These isles are now the picturesque locations of Halong Bay.

Today Ha Long Bay is known for its picturesque sight, exquisite locations, diverse wildlife and is a sight to behold.

Some very prominent destinations of Ha Long Bay include:

Cat Ba Island:- a UNESCO World Heritage Site and biosphere reserve, this island is home to 32 mammal species, including most of the world's 65 remaining golden-headed langurs. It's the largest island in Halong Bay. Approximately 70 bird species and over 1000 plant species, including 160 with medicinal potential, can be found in the park. If you're interested in hiking, Cat Ba Island is the place for you. Cat Ba Island has some of the best hiking trails on the island. The most famous is the 18km hiking trail which attracts many tourists. Waterfalls, limestone forests, beautiful caves are some of the other popular sites on the island.

Titop island: they named the island after Russian cosmonaut Gherman Titov. The Russian had visited Halong Bay back in 1962. The enormous towers of limestone protruding out of the water and surrounded by lush jungle make for a magnificent spectacle. Tourists famously use the island for snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, and many other sports activities. Come here for a quiet holiday.

There are four floating villages that are left and have been kept intact as a tourist attraction. These four villages are- Cua Van, Vung Vieng, Cong Dam, and Ba Hang.

Cua Van: this hamlet is nestled between mountains and peaceful waterways. They often list it as one of the best instances of historic communities, and there are currently roughly 200 boats today in Cua Van.

Vung Vieng: this village is around 25 mi (40.2 km) from Halong City, in the middle of Bai Tu Long Bay. This is a popular stop for cruise ships because of its gorgeous environment. If you wish to see methods of pearl harvesting, casting fishnets, or learn sailing, paying a visit to Vung Vieng is a must-do item on your travel itinerary. Besides pearl farming and fishing, tourism has also become a major source of income for villagers.

Cong Dam: its mountains, reefs, and underwater lakes make this one of the bay's smallest and oldest towns. Because of its beautiful beaches, Cong Dam is also a popular stop for tourists.

Ba Hang: this little community includes 50 households and sits on a calm stretch of water between two karst rocks. While it was once a fishing community, the people who presently work here are primarily employed in the tourism business.

Thien Cung cave: this cave is well-known for its complex network of stalagmites and stalactites in a variety of shapes and sizes. Don't forget to bring your camera because the display of many hues provides for a fantastic backdrop. It's necessary to trek to get inside the cave because of its location in the center of a mountain.

Bam Ha Lake: this lake comprises three big lakes connected by three cave tunnels, which is why it's called 'Three Tunnels' in English. The lake is encircled by towering mountains and is so remote that only a kayak or a Vietnamese sampan boat can get you there. Enjoy the clean crystal water and wild variety of fishes that are visible in the water. Langurs, parrots, flying squirrels are famous in this area.

Sung Sot cave: on Bon Hon Island, this cave is unique among various other caves in Halong Bay because it is one of Halong's largest caves. Because the chambers through which we reach the cave are large, roaming about and shooting fantastic shots is easy. It appears as though the rock formations are coming to life as the light shimmers across the water and creates flickering patterns.

Luon cave: this cave is one of the best kayaking locations in Halong Bay. Luon cave should not be missed if kayaking is a passion of yours. If you wish to explore Luon cave in addition to kayaking, rowing is a terrific choice. Visitors can witness ferns, cycads, Benjamin's fig trees, and many lovely orchids while sitting in a bamboo canoe rowed by a local.

Exploring Halong Bay

Now that we have listed the must-visit places of Halong Bay, you must also know methods and ways to explore these places so that you can see the best of Halong Bay.

Visit Ha Long City: many people often miss out on visiting the city of Halong, but the city is beautiful in its own right. It features a beautiful sandy beach which is located around forest-covered limestone hills. These exquisite sights should not be missed.

Visit the beach: it's incorrect to assume that Halong Bay doesn't have beaches. Halong Bay boasts some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The bay includes Tuan Chau beach, Ngoc Vung beach, Minh Chau beach, Ba Trai Dao beach and Titop beach. Swimming, snorkeling, diving, and beach volleyball are some of the best recreational activities to perform here. Come visit these beaches and enjoy the gorgeous view of the island.

Discover the caves: with all the cliffs and mountains, it's no wonder that Halong Bay has a lot of caves, and Driftwood Island is a great place to find some of them. Most of the cruises take the tourists through a subsequent visit to these caves from Luon, Sung Sot caves, Thien Kung caves. Most of the cruises allow you to enjoy and explore the caves.

Kayak and scuba-dive: the clean and crystal water of Halong Bay makes it a favorite place for divers and snorkeling lovers. Cong Do and Van Gio Islands are suitable starting sites for the same purpose because of their remote location, which means less boat traffic and a wider range of marine creatures. Cong Do and Van Gio are some of the best snorkeling and diving spots. The island is home to seagrass beds, which are the preferred living environment for sea turtles and seahorses, besides unique corals such as red and forest corals.

Experience the thrills of Sun World Halong park: this is the largest amusement park in Vietnam, so leaving without a visit to this vast park would be a shame! The Sun Wheel Halong, one of the world's tallest Ferris wheels, is in the Ba Deo Park and offers breathtaking views of the bay from its 64 cabins. Visit the park to enjoy its rides and witness unusual views of Halong Bay.

Halong Bay Tourism

Halong Bay boasts six million visitors yearly. It is, therefore, one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam and in Asia. Tourism is mainly to sightsee, but there is another cultural and spiritual significance of the place as well.

Sightseeing: Halong Bay consists of many islands, beaches, caves, and a wild variety of flora and fauna. Its clean crystal water, limestone island, beautiful skies, and a plethora of activities like snorkeling, diving, swimming, exploring, and several other recreational activities make it a prominent choice for those who like adventures and want peace and tranquility during the holidays.

Cultural tourism: not only does Halong provide tourists with a wonderful opportunity to enjoy natural beauty, but it also draws visitors who want to learn about cultural significance and values through the daily lives of the indigenous people. In recent years, tourists, particularly international tourists, have favored homestays or excursions to fishing settlements in the bay. Cua Van and Vong Vieng are popular sites on Ha Long homestay tours offered by several tour companies.

Spiritual tourism: Ha Long is the name for the descending dragon, which had saved the people of Vietnam from invaders. It assumes great significance and imparts sacred value to the land. Most people visit Halong Bay, Vietnam for the purification of mind and soul as well. Truc Lam Zen, the founder of a uniquely Vietnamese form of Buddhism, was born here. He is yet another reason for the attraction of tourists. The annual Yen Tu festival is also a major attractor of tourists.

Where to stay in Halong Bay?

After an exhausting yet exciting day of adventures, resting becomes important. Here are some of the best options for staying at Halong Bay:

Overnight on a cruise: if you are an ocean lover and don't want the beautiful beaches and islands out of your sight, staying on a cruise is a good option for you. If you prefer to spend your evening in peace, a cruise in the Lan Ha Bay area is the place to go. This is a brilliant choice for anyone wanting to avoid overcrowding at popular sites. Bai Tu Long Bay, popularly known as The Bay Less Traveled, is also one option to stay. Take a cruise for a night or two and enjoy the best time. Bhaya Cruises are some of the best in the business who are ensuring ecotourism in the area.

Overnight on an island: on Halong Bay there are around 1,600 islands. However, only a few of them can accommodate your overnight stay. Cat Ba Island, Ti Top Island, Co To Island, Soi Sim Island, and Quan Lan Island are a few islands that can give you the best overnight stay. Being on an island allows you to go night swimming, day trekking, and eat a lot of cheap seafood.

Overnight at a hotel resort: choose the right hotel for your stay on a comfortable bed and enjoy a restful holiday. Some of the best hotels include Novotel Ha Long Bay, in Quang Ninh, Muong Thanh Quang Ninh Luxury Hotel, FLC Halong Bay Golf Club, and luxury resorts that can give you the best experience during your stay.

Halong Bay is reeling under pollution woes

The Downsides To Halong Bay

The beautiful Halong Bay is not without its disadvantages.

Environment: Halong Bay has tragically become a victim of environmental difficulties and even fatal mishaps because of a lack of sufficient rules and safety requirements. The whole of Vietnam and particularly Halong Bay is reeling under pollution woes.

Poor wastewater management: the lovely panoramas at Ha Long are no longer flawless. Nearly 500 cruise liners are available at the seascape, creating a steady buzz of motor engines. Almost all of these cruises discreetly discharge untreated wastewater into the Bay. You can clearly see plastic and rubbish. Only 20 vessels have wastewater treatment equipment onboard, while the rest of the vessels dump untreated water directed into the bay daily.

Plastic pollution: the amount of plastic on the boats is astonishing, whether it's plastic bottles, single-use condiments or toiletries, or rubber gloves for the crew handling food. It's a no-brainer to realize that it has seriously degraded the quality of water. Most of the flora and fauna are on the verge of extinction.

Over-tourism: due to a large number of visitors round the year, the quality of the trip has been ruined. The peaceful experience one used to look forward to in the bay is no longer available. All the beaches, islands, caves are filled with people, which has led to a lack of attention and time for each traveler to experience the beauty of Halong Bay or to perform recreational activities.

Some Alternatives To Halong Bay

The popularity of Ha Long Bay means an exodus of travelers and tourists around the year. Two of the most popular alternatives to Halong Bay include:

Bai Tu Long Bay: this part of the region is largely unexplored by cruise ships. While an increasing number of people are making their way to this part of the bay, Bai Tu Long Bay remains largely off-the-beaten-path, owing to the difficulty of accessing there through the maze. Since Bai Tu Long Bay is largely unexplored, you can completely explore the island observing no crowd around you. That boats are not allowed to dock at Bai Tu Long Bay overnight has helped to reduce pollution. The most preferred activity in Bai Tu Long Bay is exploring the bay in a kayak. Visit fishing villages Vung Vieng and Cong Dam in Bai Tu Long Bay. Some beaches Cong Do and Co To are also around the Bai Tu Long Bay.

Lan Ha Bay: this bay is a more tranquil and less touristic alternative to Halong Bay. And because it's a long way from Halong City, there aren't many tourist boats that stop here, giving Lan Ha Bay a more private feel. It features its own collection of 300 or so karst islands, as well as a whopping 139 white-sand beaches. Cat Ba Island is the main attraction of this bay. One can choose the ideal location for swimming, a private beach BBQ, or an overnight camp and enjoy the spectacular sights in seclusion.

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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