Halong Bay is situated off the coast of Halong City (170km from Hanoi) and owns more than 3,000 islands rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. In 1994, it was designated Vietnam's second World Heritage Site and attracts a steady stream of visitors year round for the magnificent views of the bay and the relaxing boat trips.
What to expect?
Besides the breathtaking vistas, visitors come to Halong Bay for the perfect time spent on the boat to visit fishing villages and explore the caves. There also have interesting relaxing activities such as swimming, fishing and kayaking. Also, this trip can be combined with a trip to the largest island of Cat Ba, which offers beaches, hiking in the national park.
Nearby Ha Long City, Tuan Chau Island is a promising spot for relaxation. This island is being developed into a recreation complex with aquarium, circus, golf and resorts, and is becoming increasingly popular for Vietnamese tourists. Tuan Chau Marina in the southern part of the island is now the pier for few high-end cruise companies.
It is possible for visits to Ha Long Bay year-round. And winter months (from October to April) are said to be the best time although in months of December, January and February, the weather is often cool, drizzly and overcast with low visibility. During summer months (May to September), tropical storms are frequent and tourist boats may have to alter the itineraries depending on weather condition.
There is different scale of prices for overnight tours to Ha Long Bay but beware that we just get what you pay for. Price differences are based on the quality of the boat, food, accommodation, transportation, crew as well as other invisible elements. Frequent questions to ask before making a booking are the group size on boat and on car, cabin type (with or without A/C), included and excluded services in the package so that you know what to expect in advance.
Halong City, Quang Ninh is 55km from Haiphong and 160km from Hanoi. It takes about 3,5-4 hours by car from Hanoi to Halong via Hai Phong or Sao Do (Hai Duong).
You can get here by helicopter every Saturday from Hanoi.