Halong Bay - All you need to know

Ha Long means "where the dragon falls into the sea." According to legend, the islands were formed by a dragon that flew over this area and formed with its tail each valley. Then he fell into the sea and the valleys were flooded with seawater.

The entire area covers approximately 1,553 km². The center of the bay covers an area of 334 km² and is home to 775 islands. These islands are made of limestone and shale and are almost 250 million years old. Halong Bay covers an area northeast of Bai Tu Long Bay and the island of Cat Ba in the southwest. Ha Long Bay is one of the seven wonders of the world. Many visitors come here to enjoy the unique atmosphere of this beautiful place on a 1-3 day cruise between the enchanting islands in the bay.

 

HaLong Bay Highlights

Cruises include English speaking tour guides, hotel transfers, entrance fees, meals and entertainment on board. Here is an overview of everything you should know about cruising in Ha Long Bay. 

Ha Long Bay cruises vary depending on the season and weather. One of the most popular destinations in Halong Bay is Cat Ba Island which is located in the Lan Ha archipelago. Cát Bà is home to rare species, such as the Golden-headed Loon, which is native to the Cát Bà National Park. The national park occupies about half of the island area of 350 km². The combination of national park with endemic species and mighty limestone formations makes the island very worth seeing. 

Dau Be Island is 28 km from the port of Bai Chay and another island listed on most cruises in Ha Long Bay. Here is a popular bathing and diving place with beautiful corals, deep caves and six lakes. You can visit the caves at low tide with a rowing boat. Here you can watch golden monkeys and flying squirrels.

On Bo Hon Island You can find the most famous caves of Halong Bay. Sung Sot, Trinh Nu and Trong Cave are set against the background of mountains, cliffs and lush forests. 

Ti Top Island is 8 km southeast of Bai Chay Port. The island was named in 1962 after a visit by former Soviet Union astronaut Ghermann Titop. The beach is the main attraction where tourists can swim or relax. Along the Ti Top Beach are exclusive resorts, hotels, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. Take the 400-step staircase to the top of Ti Top Island and enjoy panoramic views of Ha Long Bay. These islands have been home to locals for over 5,000 years, mainly from agriculture and fishing. Ha Long Bay is now home to only a few fishing villages, namely Cong Dam, Cua Van, Viet Hai and Vung Vieng. Here, as a traveler, you can go kayaking, visit a pearl farm, go fishing with local fishermen or just watch their daily routine.

No trip to Halong Bay is complete without a visit to the limestone caves and grottoes. In most caves there are stalactites and stalagmites that are over 2 million years old to admire. Dau Go Cave is one of the most visited caves in the bay. You can admire stalactites and stalagmites there, some of which are over 20 meters high. The cave has three main areas that are lit with natural and artificial light. There are formations in the form of humans, animals and objects. At the end of the Dau Go Cave is a small pond with clear water. Locals claim that fairies use the pond to descend to Earth.

 

 

Kayaking at Halong Bay

Trinh Nu or also Virgin Cave called houses the statue of a woman. She was turned to stone after her death because she was unable to marry an old Mandarin. A local legend says that she fled from him because her father could not pay his debts. When the fishermen found their body, they buried it and built a small shrine in the grotto.

Sung Sot Cave has two chambers with a square outer chamber and a 30 meter high limestone ceiling. In Bo Hon Island the inner chamber formations resemble guards talking to each other. In the middle of the chamber there is another formation that looks like a general overseeing his troops.

The Kissing Rocks are undoubtedly the symbols of Halong Bay. The two rocks resemble a rooster and a hen facing each other. The locals believe that they symbolize eternal love.

 

Kissing Rocks Halong Bay
Kissing Rocks - Halong Bay

The right time to visit

There are two important events, including Tet (Vietnamese New Year in January / February, dates vary) and Christmas. On these holidays, the Vietnamese stay at home, so the Ha Long Bay is not crowded, cruises and roads are beautifully decorated. The 30th of April, 1st of May and 2nd of September are holidays in Vietnam and Ha Long Bay will be full of Vietnamese tourists. Ha Long Carnaval is an annual street festival that takes place in late April or early May. An occasion for Ha Long Bay to show its cultural charm.

The first peak season lasts from June to July, attracting mainly Vietnamese and Asian travelers. The period between December and February is the second peak season with tourists from Europe, America and other countries. The first off season lasts from April to May and the second from August to October. Prices in the second peak season are generally about 10 to 20% higher than in the off season and availability may be a problem. Book your cruise early to get the best seats.

 

Tropical monsoon and coastal climate, the weather varies in 4 different seasons in the Bay. Spring lasts only two months in March and April, and is at the same time the most beautiful season with cool to warm weather. The summer lasts from May to August with glorious blue skies and emerald green waters, ideal for circumnavigating the islands. In the fall of September & October you can enjoy the quiet atmosphere. The remainder of the 4 months is Winter, and is ideal for those who want to take it easy and slow and enjoy the magical and mystical beauty of Ha Long Bay. From May to June and August to September there are rainy seasons.

Halong Bay Boats

How to get to Halong Bay

Round-trip transfers are usually arranged as part of your cruise package. The nearest airports are the international one Airport Noi Bai (in Hanoi) or Cat Bi Airport (in Hai Phong).

From Hanoi or Noi Bai International Airport to Halong Bay

Ha Long Bay is just 180 km east of Hanoi, and generally a shuttle bus or private rental car is used to transport guests. The trip usually takes between three and a half to four hours, with a break of about 20 - 30 minutes half way. 

Direct bus from Hanoi to Ha Long city (My Dinh and Yen Nghia bus stops in Hanoi), terminus is Bai Chay in Ha Long. Two reliable online bus ticket suppliers in Vietnam, with whom I have had very good travel experience in Southeast Asia, are 12Go Asia and Baolau

The international Airport Noi Bai - located 30 km north of Hanoi - is 169 km from Ha Long Bay. The trip takes about as long as the drive from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, about 3.5 hours. If you have one private car and hire a driver, the cost is approximately $ 160 to $ 180 per vehicle, depending on the type of vehicle. 

From Hai Phong or Cat Bi Airport to Halong Bay

At only 88 km from Hai Phong distance, the drive from Hai Phong and Cat Bi Airport usually take about 2.5 hours. There are generally private cars or minivans booked. Depending on the type of vehicle, private transfers with driver are around 50 to 80 USD. Here you will find all bus connections Baolau and 12Go Asia offer.

From Ninh Binh to Halong Bay

Since Ninh Binh is about 216 km southwest of Ha Long Bay, the trip to Ninh Binh normally takes 4.5 hours. On private car is the best option for tourists who want to travel from Ninh Binh to Ha Long Bay. Alternatively, you will find here all bus connections Baolau and 12Go Asia offer.

From Ho Chi Minh City to Halong Bay

Ho Chi Minh City is located over 1,700 km south of Ha Long Bay and flying is the fastest, easiest and cheapest option. The flight time from Tan Son Nhat Airport is about two hours. You can either of the international Airport Noi Bai or fly to Cat Bi airport and then one Bus or book a private vehicle to Ha Long Bay. 

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Halong Bay

Map & Location

Eine Kreuzfahrt in der Bucht des absteigenden Drachen ist ein Muss für Reisende, die nach Vietnam kommen. Halong Bay ist eines der beliebtesten Reiseziele des Landes und als UNESCO-Weltkulturerbe gelistet. Die Bucht von Halong ist sowohl mystisch als auch eine unglaubliche Naturerfahrung, die jeden beeindruckt.

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