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Halong Travel Guide

Halong Bay is a place that literally defines Vietnam. The locals call it Halong Bay or The Bay of The Descending Dragon. To many tourists, visiting Halong Bay defines their Vietnam travel. In other words, if you didn’t include Halong Bay into your Vietnam trip, you’ve missed the heart of Vietnam. As such, it is a must visit place, a landscape that is worth your Vietnam visa. Locals have associated many false stories and legends to this region.

The place has fantastic sites in abundance and leaves tourists spellbound. Due to its unique beauty, it has gained a mythical status among both locals as well as tourists. If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, make sure you buy Halong tour packages. To better familiarize yourself with the place, consult your Halong travel guide. Here is more about Halong Bay and how to make the most out of your Vietnam trip:

Halong travel guide

Best Time To Visit Halong bay
Though most tourists plan their Halong Travel packages during the summer season, you’ll find the place buzzing with tourists even during winters. Firstly, because the place is too beautiful to ignore. Then, the place has a fair weather all year long. Even during winters, you’ll not see heavy snowfall in this part of the world. Travelling during winters is a little easy as you’ll not find stuffed hotels and resorts and arranging transport is a little easier. The summer season is like a rush hour where you’ll find tourists in every corner of the bay. Winters are also less hectic, so exploring distant places is not as difficult as it is during summers. Unlike seasons, during winters, you can find a decent accommodation in a five-star hotel at lower prices without much difficulty.

Getting There
Your Halong travel guide begins here. Getting Halong can be a little tricky but you’ll eventually be there. The most common way to reach Halong Bay is to fly to Boi Bai airport located 40 km outside the capital. After reaching there, hire a vehicle or a bus with a driver. Though it will consume more time, it is by far the easiest route to Halong Bay. Don’t go on a public bus it will take hours to drop you to your destination. On your way to Halong Bay, you’ll first see a junk of wood.

Going further down the north, you’ll see what appears like a wall of green emerald until it swallows you up. Behind the green, you’ll find the world that you may have heard in fairy tales. The jaw-dropping beauty of Halong Bay will capture your imagination. The heavenly peaks made of limestones, clearblue-green water, the calm breeze blowing across the terrain will get you feel as if you’ve stepped into the heaven.

Enter The Bay of the Descending Dragon
It’s true, the word Halong Bay means “The Bay of the Descending Dragon.”Legend has it that the dragon was sent by the Jade Emperor. The dragon descended from heaven and sprayed pearls over the water. These gems later turned into a thousand islands of Halong Bay. There is also a large curvature of the jumbled fortress that was designed by ancients to prevent the country from foreign invasions, especially from the Tonkin Gulf.

From The Air
Today, these islands and fortress have become a major tourist attraction. People come here through boats and ferries to sail past the rocky island formations, some of which stand as tall as hundred meters or more. Halong Bay has also declared a UNESCO heritage site which has increased its popularity. Moreover, you can also give the region a bird’s eye view by traveling in Hai Au Aviation’s Cessna Caravan airliner. The plane can carry approximately ten passengers and allows a panoramic view of the karst fest, spanning to 43,400 drowned limestone karsts. The stones are scattered in a wide area and are located around 170km away from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.

The Cruise Boat (Bai Tu Long)
Perhaps the most famous way to take a tour to Halong Bay is by a cruise boat. In fact, calling it boat wouldn’t do justice as its more like a cruise ship having all the facilities you would want. Upon climbing the cruise vessel, you’ll notice that all boats are colored white. This is due to a government stipulation which states that all boats be painted in white. A strange decision indeed, especially during winters when the white fog covers most of the Halong Bay area including the sea. Upon your cruise boat tour, you’ll first reach the Bai Tu Long, the outermost reaches of the limestone fort. In literal terms, the word Bai Tu Long means a place where dragon children descended from heavens. The region is quite isolated from mainland Halong Bay area with knobby peaks having untidy branches of limestone.

Vung Ha Beach
Upon cruising through the Halong Bay, you’ll reach the Vung Ha beach, a crescent shaped, isolated bay with castellated peaks and crouching outcrops. It is a perfect place to go kayaking so get ready with your boats and kayaking gear. Keep in mind that the water here can get fast enough through narrow corridors of water. Kayaking in this area can be extremely exciting, so you’ll need to do some practice before trying it for the first time. Though you can go kayaking at any time of the day before the sunset, doing it early in the morning is the best time to do it. Make sure to make the breakfast before going kayaking. Many restaurants offer great breakfast and dining services in the nearby.

The Fish Rich Vung Vieng
The village known for fishes but has some unique traits to it. For instance, to control the pollution, the government requires the fishermen to either carry the fish through land routes or into floating communities. You’ll find many unique things here, the bamboo boats being one of them.

Whether you go by sea, by road or by train, Halong Bay tour will be an experience for life.

Halong Travel Information

Things to do

Sung Sot Cave

Sung Sot Cave Halong BaySung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave) is situated in the center of Halong Bay's heritage zone. It lies on Bo Hon Island group, surrounded by the Bo Nau Cave, Me Cung Cave, Luon Cave and Ti Top Island. The cave was found by the French in 1901 and called as Grotte des surprises (Cave of the surprise).

Sung Sot Cave is a large cave with the size of 12.200 square meters. The cave has three compartments and high ceiling with lots of stalactites in various shapes. The ceiling’s maximal height is 30 meters. In the middle, there is a giant and beautiful stalactite pillar connecting the cave’s ground up to the roof.

The mouth of Sung Sot Cave is about 25 meters above the sea level. There is a stone in the shape of a horse and a long sword next to the entrance. The ancient legend has told that, after defeating the An Enemy, Thanh Giong flied to Heaven, leaving his sword and horse to reassure local people and dislodge demons. Currently, inside the cave, there are many natural images as the marks of that fierce battle. The trail of his horse became many little lakes and smashed rocks.


Tam Cung Grotto

Located in the center of Halong Bay, 5 kilometers from the Sung Sot Cave to the northeast, Tam Cung Grotto (Three Palaces Cave) is one of the most wonderful caves in Halong. Tam Cung Grotto is situated on the May Den Island – an island which is almost separate from the other islands. On the May Den Island, there are many precarious cliffs and lush forests.

The grotto has three compartments alternating throughout each rock gap. In all three compartments of the grotto, stalactites create many vibrant and wonderful shapes. A lot of lively stalactites look like human figures, flowers and animals.


Thien Cung Grotto

Thien Cung Grotto (Heavenly Cave) is situated on Dau Go Island (Wooden Stakes Island) in the southwestern Halong Bay and about 4 kilometers from tourism wharf.

Thien Cung Grotto is at the height of 25 meters above the sea level. Visiting the grotto, tourists will feel like visiting an art museum with variety of sophisticated statues and reliefs. In the center of the grotto, there are four big pillars propping against the roof.


Trong Mai Islet

Trong Mai Islet (rock of 'the kissing cocks') is a famous islet on Halong Bay. It has become a symbol of Halong Bay and also Vietnam's tourism. It can also be found with the name 'Ga Choi Islet' (rock of 'the fighting cocks').

Trong Mai Islet is located at the southwestern Halong Bay, about 5 kilometers from Bai Chay tourist wharf. The islet is about 10 meters high above the sea level. It has the shape of a cock couple rising from the blue sea. These two huge cocks have stood by the other for thousands of years. As the story told by the locals, Trong Mai Islet represents for faithfulness of love.


Dau Go Cave

Dau Go Cave (Wooden Stakes Cave) was found on the same name island, about 6 kilometers from Bai Chay wharf, Halong. This is the biggest and also the most beautiful grotto on Halong Bay.

Dau Go Cave was created in Pleistocene epoch around 2 million years ago. The cave is 27 meters above the sea level. The entrance is 12 meters wide and 17 meters high. Inside the cave is a huge space with the size of 5.000 square meters. The height of the dome is 25 meters.


Trinh Nu Grotto

Trinh Nu Grotto (Virgin Grotto) is situated on Bo Hon Island, the same location with Luon Cave and Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave). It’s about 8 kilometers from Bai Chay Tourist Wharf to the south.

The original name of Trinh Nu Grotto was La Virgin, a name in French named by French explorers.

Trinh Nu Grotto has three chambers in total. The tallest ceiling is about 4 meters high. The biggest chamber is the third with the size of 60 meters long, 20 meters wide. Inside the grotto are many stalagmites and stalactites in various living forms of people and animals.

For the locals, Trinh Nu Grotto represents the endless love. The ancient story has it that a beautiful girl fell in love with a young fisherman. While he was going far away to the sea for fishing, the girl was forced to get married with a rich man in the region. In order to keep the faithfulness with her lover, she ran away and waited him in a cave overlooking the sea. The time passed and she was petrified. Nowadays, when visiting the grotto, tourists will see a big stone in the middle. The stone has the shape of a girl with long hair looking forward to her love to be back.

Halong Transportation

Road:  From Hanoi to Halong by the following roads:

Hanoi - BacNinh - Halong: 155 km.

This is the shortest route from Hanoi to Halong, 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours and 30 by car.

Hanoi - Hai Duong - Halong: 170km.

This is a convenient route from Hanoi to Hai Duong, through the town of Red Star, Dong Trieu, Uong Bi, to Halong; the time is about from 3 to 4 hours.

Hanoi - Hai Duong - Hai Phong - Halong: 160km.

This is the route passing Hai Duong city, to Quan Toan (Hai Phong) turn along 10 Highway connecting to Highway 18A in Uong Bi town to Ha Long, the time is about from 3 hours to 3 hours 30 minutes.

Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) - Bac Ninh - Halong: 160km.

Road from Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) to Halong is very convenient, it is about 2 hours 30 minutes - 3 hours by car

Railway from Hanoi (about 190 kilometers)

The train (Hanoi-Halong)

The railway from Hanoi station to Kep (Yen Vien) to Halong, it comes from Yen Vien station (Hanoi) at 5 o’clock. It takes about 7 hours.

Currently, this route is being renovated, upgraded and it will become the most modern railway in Vietnam


Tourists who want to travel Halong by plane need to contact:

Northern Airport Flight Service Company

Address: Gia Lâm Airport – Ha Noi – Vietnam

Tell: 84.4.8271535

Fax: 84.4.8272780                   Email:       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Vietnam helicopter corporation

Head office:       172 Truong Chinh Road – Dong Da District – Ha Noi – Vietnam

Tel:                          84.4.8521773 / 8525.740; (069) 562.530

Fax:                         84.4.8521523

Email:                    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Halong Travel Tips

- Money exchange: you can exchange currency at the hotel where you live or go to Bank of Halong

- Post office: Cam Pha post office, no 1 post office, post office of Halong city.

- Bank:

Bank for Foreign Trade

Address: Bai Chay, Dist. Ha Long

Tel: 3844 749 Fax: 3844 746

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Bank for Investment and Development

Address: P. Bach, Hon Gai, Dist. Ha Long

Tel: 3823 680/3627 135

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;


Industrial and Commercial Bank

Address: P. Chay Dist. Ha Long

Tel: 3846 940

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Industrial and Commercial Bank    

Address: 120 Le Thanh Tong Str. Ha Long

Tel: 3825 713

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Maritime Bank

Address: 168 Le Thanh Tong Str. Ha Long

Tel: 3826 174 Fax: 3826 176

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development

Address: P. Cao Thang, Hon Gai, Dist. Ha Long

Tel: 3825 511/3825 310 Fax: 3825 504

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;


State Bank

Address: 172 Le Thanh Tong Str. Ha Long

Tel: 3629 110 Fax: 3827 609

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


- Internet: free internet at the hotel.

- Hospitals:

Provincial Hospital:

Address: Bach Dang, Ha Long

Tel: (033)3825482

Bai Chay Hospital

Address: Bai Chay, Halong

Tel: (033)3846557


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