Hạ Long Bay was visually one of the highlights of my Vietnam trip. Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring 1500-2000 islands and islets in various shapes and sizes, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars.
Hạ Long Bay (also written as Halong Bay or Ha Long Bay) is located in the Gulf of Tonkin, in Quáng Ninh province, in northeastern Vietnam.
Lonely Planet: Halong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’. Legend has it that the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon that lived in the mountains. As it charged towards the coast, its flailing tail gouged out valleys and crevasses. When it finally plunged into the sea, the area filled with water, leaving only the pinnacles visible.
It’s often compared favorably to Guilin in China (photos coming soon!) and Krabi in Thailand - Lonely Planet called Halong Bay in Vietnam even more spectacular. It’s beautiful, but not it’s certainly a “tourist trap” so there’s tradeoffs.
Where is Halong Bay? Halong Bay, Vietnam, is 105 miles east of Hanoi, Vietnam’s largest city, and takes about 3 hours from Hanoi via bus.
Getting to Halong Bay: Fly to Hanoi, Vietnam, and book a tour. This will be easily the best way to do it and comparatively it’ll be hassle free. There’s a huge range in pricing and service – agents will promise the world and offer terrible service. Choosing a tour company.
Flying to Hanoi: The closest airport is Noi Bai International Airport, 25 miles (40km) north of Hanoi. If you can’t get a direct flight, head to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, and then catch a connecting flight.
More info at wiki-travel