Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay in Vietnam

Halong Bay’s limestone islands in the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam

HaLong 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.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

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.

Annika profile - Halong Bay, Vietnam
Annika profile
Kayaking in Halong Bay, Vietnam
We went kayaking while surrounded by breathtaking views

Halong Bay 1024x768 - Visit50

Halong Bay, Vietnam panorama

Halong Bay limestone
photo by Ms Saigon
Halong Bay from lookout
Photo by Lawrence Murray

Lonely PlanetHalong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’. Legend has it that the islands 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. 

Jumping off the boat in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Jumping off the boat – so much fun! (more of these to come)

Vietnam - Halong Bay - view from the boatSeveral of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves, other support floating villages of fishermen, who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of fish.

beautiful sunset in Vietnam - Visit50.com

Sarah's view from the boat
Sarah’s view from the boat
here's a photo of me from just outside a cave
my view from just outside a cave

magical Halong Bay - Visit50.com

Annika and Lisa
Annika and Lisa – view from the boat

It’s often compared favorably to Guilin in China (photos coming soon!) and Krabi in Thailand – Lonely Planet called Ha Long 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?  In Vietnam, 105 miles east of Hanoi, Vietnam’s largest city, and takes about 3 hours from Hanoi via bus.

floating school in floating village
This is a floating school in their floating village, Vietnam

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

Halong Bay, Vietnam limestone pillar

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