One of my friends told me that I can't visit Vietnam without seeing Halong Bay. Halong Bay is one of those must see natural wonder places that should be on everyone's list when in Vietnam. It’s become a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its geological uniqueness as well as cultural and historical importance.
Some facts about Halong Bay from Wikipedia:
'H' Long Bay (literally: “Descending Dragon Bay”; Vietnamese: V'nh H' Long) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a popular travel destination, located in Qu'ng Ninh province, Vietnam. Administratively, the bay belongs to H' Long City, C'm Ph' town, and part of Van Don district. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes. H' Long Bay is a center of a larger zone which includes B??i T' Long bay to the northeast, and C??t B?? islands to the southwest. These larger zones share similar geological, geographical, geomorphological, climate, and cultural characters.
H' Long Bay has an area of around 1,553??km2, including 1,960 islets, most of which are limestone. The core of the bay has an area of 334??km2 with a high density of 775 islets. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The evolution of the karst in this bay has taken 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate. The geo-diversity of the environment in the area has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen biosystem, oceanic and sea shore biosystem. H' Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species.'
Halong Bay of Vietnam
I took my 2D1N Halong Bay tour with Tourist Information Center Travel for USD35. It is based in the Old Quarter in Hanoi. The package includes everything except drinks.
The mini bus picked me up from my hostel in the Old Quarter and we made our way out of the city over the Red River.
I was fetched around 8:00am from where I am staying by a mini-bus. It took about 4 hours + 20mins toilet break to reach Halong City Ferry Terminal. When we arrived around 1pm, we were boarded on a junk boat.
our junk boat
Our itinerary was as follows:
9:00am – 1;30pm: travel time from Hanoi to Halong City.
1.30pm – ??2.30pm: lunch on the junk boat
3:00pm ' 4:30pm: Visit the “Amazing Caves” (Hang Sung Sot).
Hang Sung Sot cave
5:00pm ' 6:00pm: visit the floating village
7:30pm onwards: dinner party
7:30am ' 8:30am: Breakfast on the junk boat
8.30am – 9.40am: kayak
10:00am ' 12:00nn: back to Halong City Ferry terminal
Halong City Harbour
12:30pm?? – 1:30pm: set lunch at Halong City.
1:30pm ' 5:30pm: took the transfer back to your hostel in Hanoi with 20mins toilet break in between.
View from Hang Sung Sot cave
Halong Bay travel tips:
– Prior to being picked up, remember to buy yourselves some water. Normally, in Vietnam, you could get a 1.5 liter mineral water at 7000 VND (USD 0.35 or Php15). The price is doubled when you reach the Halong bay harbor.
– Before closing a deal with a tour agency, ask them the types of food that they will going to serve so you get to know what to expect.