Halong Bay is among the most popular places of interest within Vietnam. It is not only great for a relaxing Halong overnight cruise on a traditional junk-style boat, but also for its stunning natural scenery and fun activities, such as swimming, kayaking and helicopter rides.
Here are a few of the reasons why Halong Bay is a must-visit attraction on the package holidays to Vietnam:
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Halong Bay was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and is appreciated for its all-round aesthetic beauty. Its thousands of limestone islets and emerald water create the picturesque scenery that shouldn't be missed on a tour of Vietnam.
The best way to appreciate the natural beauty of Halong Bay is on a boat cruise. They often take place on a traditional junk-style boat that is seen in many different sizes and price ranges. Also, the experience on the water can last for a short day-trip of about three or four hours to spending a night or two on board for the most enjoyable time on the emerald waters of the bay.
More visitors to Halong Bay on the Vietnam travel are looking to book the tour that gives the option to sleep on board for the night. This type of cruise is popular with all types of travellers, such as groups of families and friends, honeymooners, couples, families and singles. A cruise gives a great opportunity to do as little or as much as you want.
Halong Bay continues to be a favourite place for travellers at virtually any budget range. The most cost-effective tour packages are reserved for the day-trip, but the most memorable experience is achieved with a 2-day, 1-night stay which is likely to cost in the region of $99 to $130. However, the itinerary and activities can vary will the different tours, so it is worth making sure this meets the requirements before making the booking. For the most luxurious cruise on the bay, the price range is likely to reach about $165 to $250, which is still at an affordable price for many on the 2 weeks tour in Vietnam.
Many caves to explore
Many parts of Halong Bay include the limestone karst towers that help to create the exceptional beauty of the local area. They rise from the emerald waters with plenty of these pillars marked over time by erosion, which has lead to the creation of fascinating caves and arches. There are many caves to explore that offer stunning natural scenery with stalactites in many different shapes and sizes hanging from the tall ceilings.
The limestone karst formations are great to visit up close to see a completely different perspective. One of the best ways to get close is to get off the main cruise ship and take a short excursion on a bamboo rowboat or kayak. Also, there are many of the karst outcrops that are perfect for rock climbing.
Halong Bay is a fascinating place of natural beauty that can be visited at any time of the year. However, there are more favourable times than others with the peak season likely to be from March to May and September to November. If travelling early in the year – January to March the climate can be a little drizzly and cool which can lead to the eerie atmosphere with low visibility due to the ensuring fog. In the warm summer months – May to September - there is the higher risk of heavy storms and hurricanes which can mean the cruise is cancelled until the conditions improve. In November the sky is sunny and blue and often sees less tourist crowds to make a great time to visit. Even though the tropical storms may arrive from May to September, this is typically the low season, which means there are plenty of options to get the best prices and promotions.
Halong Bay beaches
One more of the area's top highlights are the beautiful Halong Bay beaches. They range in size from the vast expanses of sand to those that are tucked away and tiny. However, they all offer a relaxing place on the Vietnam holiday to spend time under the sun and enjoying the blue waters. Most of the beaches are easy to locate with several found close to the Bai Chay Wharf, which is a typical place to start the Halong Bay cruise. Any day-trip or longer trip will often include a stop at one of the many nearby beaches.
For travellers looking for a little solitude it will be necessary to travel a short distance from the main bay area. A great off-the-beaten-track option is Ban Chan Beach and likely to feature on the itinerary of an overnight cruise. This beach has the crystal-clear waters, while sands, and towing limestone outcrops. Other great Halong Bay beaches include Ba Trai Dao Beach and Titop Beach.
Visit floating fishing villages
A kayaking trip to one of the many fishing villages is a wonderful way to appreciate the life and culture of the local fisherman. This type of short excursion gives the option to see the fisherman go about their day-to-day business. Also, there may be the option to get involved and participate in local traditions like making fishing nets or fishing using traditional methods. A visit to a floating fishing village can make a great highlight on Halong Bay cruise.
Enjoy fresh seafood
Halong Bay has plenty of places to visit that serve a sumptuous seafood menu. Fresh fish is caught early in the day and ready to be served the same day at very reasonable prices. This part of northern Vietnam has a great culinary scene that can include fresh seafood like rich crab meat, octopus tentacles and plump shrimp. Many of the dishes are served in a delightful broth that consists of garlic and clam nectar, and also including a variety of garnishes such as lime juice.