Vietnam’s Majestic Halong Bay!
Grand, spectacular, awe-inspiring, mysterious and majestic… these are just a few words that describe the grandeur and natural beauty of the Halong Bay, located in northern Vietnam, east of Hanoi. The bay is one of the top tourist destinations in the world for its picturesque ocean karst topography.
It is often counted among the natural wonders of the world. With more than 3,000 scenic islands rising out of the emerald waters, the beauty of Halong Bay is breathtakingly beautiful and timeless. You must see it to believe it.
Halong Bay is a pure artistic beauty, shaped by the hands of nature. This tourist destination was designated as a World’s Heritage Site in 1994. Tourists often compare them with the limestone islets in China and Krabi, but in actuality Halong Bay is much more stunning. The breathtaking islands are flanked by grottoes and beaches hewn by nature and the forested slopes hum with the sweet song of birds.
To get to Halong Bay, you will need to book a cruise on a Halong Bay ‘Junk‘ (local slang term for cruise boat).
Avoid getting ripped off, have a look at our article about recommended cruises in Halong Bay here!
Caves at Halong Bay
Apart from the spectacular vistas of the Halong Bay, tourists also come here to explore the mysterious and beautiful caves that are illuminated especially for visitors.They can enjoy hiking in the Cat Ba National Park and explore the untouched beauty of nature, or enjoy kayaking in the pristine waters.
There are some inviting beaches in Halong, and there are over 100 sandy strips in Lan Ha Bay. You can laze around the sandy beaches or take on active water sports if you are young or young at heart.
Apart from the caves and beaches, Halong Bay offers a lot more. You can discover some exotic floating villages by kayak boats. It takes just three hours to get to the nearby Van Gia floating village that gives you the opportunity to meet locals and experience their unique life style.
You can also take part in the local fun activities such as fishing. There are some local tour operators that organize 2-day trips to such villages. From Van Gia village, you can travel to Cat Ba Island and enjoy trekking to Cat Ba National Park or take a boat trip to the Monkey Island.
Photos of Halong Bay
Best Time to Go
Halong Bay is among the top tourist attractions in the northeast Vietnam and it attracts legions of travelers throughout the year. The weather is cool with a little drizzle from February to April. Though it is foggy at that time, it adds to the beauty of the place. During the summer time, there are frequent tropical storms causing tourists to change their itineraries. So, February to April is the best time to visit this part of the world.
Halong City – Gateway to Halong Bay
Though Halong City is the gateway to Halong Bay, the city does not hold a lot of promise for visitors. Visitors usually opt for the tours that include spending the night on a boat in the bay.
The city has some over-developed high-rise hotels and the beaches are not kept in the best condition. However, if you wish to stay in the city there are many accommodation options to choose from.
An Unusual Myth and a Threat!
Halong Bay has several myths surrounding it and there are some stories that have been fabricated by the Vietnamese themselves. The ‘term’ Halong can be interpreted as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’ in the local language.
According to the myth, Halong Bay was created by the dragon that lives in the mountains. As he takes a plunge into the sea, the area is flooded with water, leaving nothing but pinnacles.
The biggest threat to the beauty of the Halong Bay area is the souvenirs sold in the local markets. These souvenirs are made of the seashells, rare corals stripped from the sea floor, and stalactites and stalagmites. These materials are used to create paperweights, key rings and ashtrays that are sold in the local souvenir shops. I’d suggest that you not buy these items when you visit Halong Bay to help preserve the beauty of this tourist destination for years to come.
- Breathtaking natural beauty to unwind your soul
- Spectacular beaches abound
- You can enjoy fishing, trekking, kayaking, boating, etc.
- Locals selling souvenirs made of rare coral, stalactites and stalagmites
- Halong City itself is not so beautiful or friendly.