About AROUND HALONG
[Nội dung tiếng Việt - đang cập nhật]
Where to see?
Located in Northeast sea of Vietnam, under State's adminstration management of Quang Ninh province, (178 km far from Hanoi capital), Halong Bay is the iconic tourist attraction of Vietnam. Ha Long Bay was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 thanks to an area of around 1,553 km2 with thousands of unique limestone karsts and 1,960 - 2,000 isles in various shapes and sizes e.g. Thien Cung cave, Dau Go cave, Sung Sot cave. Most of which are 500 million year old limestones. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islets. Ha Long Bay is also well-known for beautiful wild and private beaches including Titop and Tuan Chau beaches.
1. Bai Tu Long Bay
Sitting to the northeast of Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay is the lesser known neighbour of the famous World Heritage site. Boasting hundreds of its own karst formations, Bai Tu Long Bay easily challenges the scenic beauty of Halong and yet far fewer tourists make the trip this far north- in effect, this part of the Halong region is much less populous.
Caves, grottoes, beaches and islands are among the top Halong Bay attractions, and Bai Tu Long Bay has plenty of each- without the crowds. Highlights of the area include the ancient Thien Canh Son Cave, the colourful houses at Vung Vieng floating village, the untouched paradise of Ban Chan Beach, and Cong Do area.
2. Lan Ha Bay
Not unlike Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay is a quieter, less touristy alternative to the main area in Halong. Lan Ha Bay has its own collection of nearly 400 limestone karsts, as well as a staggering 139 beaches scattered throughout.
Belonging to the larger Cat Ba archipelago, Lan Ha Bay is best explored by kayak or sail boat, both of which can easily be rented on Cat Ba Island. Taking to the waters yourself is the ideal way to explore some of the more secluded areas of the coastline and access the hard-to-reach spots that the cruises tend to avoid.
3. Vung Vieng Fishing Village
Floating villages are one of the most popular Halong Bay attractions, and of the four remaining intact, Vung Vieng Fishing Village is easily the favourite. The village’s colourful houses sit nestled in between a collection of towering limestone mountains, floating on their own in the vast, misty scenery.
Travelers tend to come to Vung Vieng seeking an ‘authentic’ experience and a glimpse at traditional Halong culture, which the locals here are more than happy to share through their assorted workshops and displays. Visitors can try their own hand at traditional fishing techniques, net weaving, and even learn a few things about pearl harvesting.
4. Cat Ba Island
The largest of all the islands in Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island< is a haven for landscape lovers and active travelers looking to get in amongst nature. As the largest island in the region, Cat Ba Island is also the main part of the larger archipelago of the same name.
Most of the island is comprised of the Cat Ba National Park, and so a vast portion of the wildlife here falls under the protection of the park. The area is filled with winding hiking trails- some gentle, some challenging- and a handful of truly impressive vantage points from which to view the entire island.
Cat Ba Island has become one of the top Halong Bay attractions not only for its staggering natural beauty, but also for its ecological work; the island is home to the world’s most endangered primate- the golden-headed langur (keep an eye out for them while you’re there, you’ve got about 70 chances to spot one!).
5. Titop Island
Titop Island has long been included on many cruises itineraries as one of the ‘must-see’ Halong Bay attractions, thanks to the view from the vantage point at the center of the island as well as the tourist-friendly beach down below.
The island itself is rather small, and these days due to the increasing numbers of tourist boats that stop here it tends to be quite full. However, arriving in the morning will give you a head start against the crowds, and ample chance to hike up to 400 odd steps to reach the viewpoint where you can kick back in the gazebo for a little while and enjoy the awesome views of the surrounding bay.
6. Sung Sot Cave
The caves and grottoes are among the most coveted Halong Bay attractions, and while there are 59 discovered caves already on the official registrar, experts reckon that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Sung Sot Cave holds a special place among the other 58 as one of the largest caves in all of the Halong Bay region.
The inner caverns are wide, tall, and surprisingly spacious, which makes walking around inside comfortable and easy. Stalactites and stalagmites adorn the cave’s interior, some of which meet to form full pillars and all sorts of interesting shapes; the locals will take any chance they can get to share the ‘legend’ of each one of these formations (dragons, demons, and dwarves all play a part, so get ready to be imaginative!).
7. Thien Cung Cave
Just a few short kilometers to the north of another Halong Bay attraction- Da Gau Island- is Thien Cung Cave, yet another of Halong’s legend-laden grottoes. This is where finding a good cruise guide comes in handy; while in Thien Cung, quiz them about the “Dragon King’s Palace” and find out all about the myth surrounding this cave.
8. Tuan Chau Island
The entire area only covers 2.2 kilometers, but despite its size, Tuan Chau Island packs a punch. A newly developed tourist zone just outside Halong City, Tuan Chau is one of the top Halong Bay attractions for those looking to enjoy some recreational activities and beachside resorts.
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is one of the island’s most important features, built in honour of the man himself who used to visit Tuan Chau on his holidays.
9. Ban Chan Beach
If solitude on a beautiful beach is what you’re looking for, Ban Chan Beach will tick all your boxes. Tucked away in a back corner of Bai Tu Long Bay, Ban Chan offers white sands, crystalline waters, and a break from the crowds of the main Halong Bay area.
Swimming, snorkeling, and beach volleyball are all on the cards here, but our top recommendation is to take out a kayak and cruise around the coastline a little bit- it won’t be difficult to find yourself a piece of paradise all for yourself.
10. Co To Island
Co To Island is a name only passed around by people who are “in the know”, as they say, and that’s exactly why it’s retained a sense of authenticity, isolation, and undisturbed natural scenery to this day.
Between the white sandy beaches, the turquoise water, the craggy cliff faces, the cheap and delicious seafood, Co To Island is so much more than just another Halong Bay attraction. Beach activities, trekking, and motorbike road trips are the list-toppers while visiting Co To.
What to dine?
Whenever visiting any tourism destination in any country in the world, most travelers spend a considerable amount of time exploring and enjoying the wild wonders of cuisines there. Travellers to Halong Bay are no exception, and for good reason. There is so much incredible gastronomy at this charming Bay, for foodies and newcomers alike. Favoured with the gifts of Mother Nature, Halong is famous for its variety of fresh and delicious seafood like crab, prawn, squid and snail as well as plenty of Vietnamese traditional foods. Travelling to Halong Bay, Vietnam without feasting on the following dishes would be a shame. Don’t miss out!
1. Cha Muc (Squid Sausage)
Cha Muc is the most famous food of Quang Ninh and also in the top 50 specialties of Vietnam. The main ingredient of Cha Muc, of course, is squid. However, according to local fishermen, the high quality dishes must use squid from the Halong area. The crunchy and delicate texture of this specific variety of squid, and the juicy flavour and attractive aroma of this dish goes perfectly well with Xôi (boiled rice, sticky rice) or Bánh Cuốn (a type of thin, steamed rice cake). This beautiful piece of culinary mastery is sold at many stores and stalls around the city and especially at Halong Market.
2. Sam (Horseshoe crab)
The meat of Sam can be processed into a lot of different foods, such as pudding crab, crab salad, sweet and sour crab legs, crab sauté with peppers and lemongrass, fried eggs and crab, steamed crabs, fried crab, fried crab’s cartilage, stir-fried crab and glass noodle. The endless menu of horseshoe crab is always awaiting the visitors in Halong, and it is ALWAYS fresher than you can get anywhere else!
3. Prawn, lobster and oyster
Halong Bay has many kinds of prawn, lobster, white pearl shrimp, or tiger shrimp. However, the most valuable and most delicious are prawn and lobster. There are two popular methods of prawn/lobster processing, steaming and breaded frying. However, steaming with using additional ingredients like beer or tubers lemongrass to remove the fishy smell is more preferable because people love to enjoy the natural taste it provides.
The best quality lobster and prawn are usually served on cruises, especially in top cruises. In luxury cruises such as Signature Cruise, Paradise Peak Cruise and Orchid Cruise, you would be definitely blown out by high class lobster dishes. It is always a wonderful moment to enjoy these dishes along magnificent scenes in Halong Bay.
Another well-known seafood in Halong Bay is oyster. Oyster is a nutrition-rich food and provides a plethora of energy for your body. Inside its hard-shell is blood-like red bowel, which carry the most delicious and nutritious part of an oyster. It can be eaten raw with a lemon slice or grilled with cheese.
Ngan is a type of hard clam. In Vietnamese, Ngan means tasteless but in fact it is quite delicious and carries a very delicate and pleasant aftertaste. If you are planning on visiting Halong, you may have many Ngán dishes like grilled, steamed, deep-fried with vegetables. Amongst all products made from Ngan, the most famous one is Ngan wine. You should not miss the chance to experience this unique seafood when you come to Halong Bay. You can easily find it anywhere from street foods style to seafood restaurants in Halong.
5. Banh gat gu
Banh gat gu is made from steaming rice flour mixture. When you eat it, the cake is dipped in a special sauce, along with a piece of caramelized pork. This sauce is really a star of this dish. Having an okay or amazing experience with this food all depends on the sauce. The feeling of cool, soft cake and juicy pork is an enchanting culinary experience.
This would be a nice choice after devouring many seafood dishes. The origin of this cake is in Hoa Binh Street Tien Yen Town, Quang Ninh but you can easily try it in Halong.
These foods will absolutely make you fall in love with Halong Bay, so you must be sure that you try them all at least once. Try your best not to eat them all every day! Eating nice foods, meeting awesome people, visiting one of world heritage sites and sharing memorable moments with your beloved, how could it be more incredible!! Let’s take a tour to Halong to give a try!
(Source: Halong Hub)