Halong Bay is a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site, a bay with a huge number of islands, fishing villages and homes on stilts. There is 120 kilometres of coastline and every holiday in Vietnamin Vietnam that includes the North will devote some time to this wonderful setting. Vietnam travel packages seek to select Vietnam’s highlights and sailing in the Bay is certainly one of them. It lies just 4 hours due east of Hanoi, the Country’s capital which is one of the popular airports of entry for overseas visitors. You can get a Vietnam visa on entry at the airport and some nationalities are actually exempt for a specified period.
While many tourists might shop in the cities it is certainly good for local economies if the ‘’tourist dollar’’ is spent elsewhere as well. The locals live by fishing but tourism now plays a significant role.
What about shopping in Halong Bay?
Most of the alternatives are local markets, and they are a treat in themselves, even if you are just walking around, taking in the atmosphere and perhaps sampling the food from the small street vending stalls. Here are the local markets that you can visit:
• Halong Bay Night Market is in Bai Chay and is probably the first place to think about, especially if you have limited time. The locals sell a variety of goods from wood crafts and homemade bags and purses to clothes and accessories. The Market opens around 6pm incidentally.
• Bai Chay Commercial Market, known also as Vuon Dao Market is in the tourist district of Halong City. It is largely aimed at locals however, opening early in the morning around 6am and staying open over 12 hours. It is a great place to observe daily activity among the locals.
• Ha Long Central Market in Hon Gai over the Halong Bay Bridge. It is the biggest market in the area selling furniture, clothing, flowers and the local speciality, Squid Cakes (Cha Muc). It is open during the day, seven days a week.
• The Floating Market Halong is boats wandering close to tourist boats and the main tourist sites within the Bay. They will have fresh seafood on offer but the prices will be much more expensive than the norm.
• Binh Lieu Market is in the highlands of the Quang Ninh Province and it is where ethnic minorities are found selling their produce which will include their spices and forest honey.
There are a number of Vincom Centres in Vietnam and a recent one has been built in Halong. It is in Hon Gai District next to the Central Market. It is a mall with many international brands and caters for the wealthier members of local society as well as tourists. Shopping and entertainment are both catered for and there are movies and ice skating on offer as well as food.
While you tour in Vietnam you will see many things that attract you including things to buy. Even if it means an extra piece of luggage for the journey home, then spend your ‘’tourist dollars.’’