With its scenic limestone isles and ocean karst topography, Ha Long Bay is a popular destination for tourists and travellers in northern Vietnam. The bay is listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, and had been awarded as one of the new natural wonders of the world by the New 7 Wonders Foundation. When visiting Hanoi, you could easily make a side trip to Ha Long Bay (“Descending Dragon Bay” in English), which is about 170 kilometres east of the capital (around 2 hours by private car).
What makes the bay popular is its 2,000 limestone isles scattered all over the area. Some of these isles are shaped like animals such as duck, tortoise, and the famous fighting (or kissing) cocks. Aside from these, there are enormous caves found in many of the islands, showcasing thousands-year old stalactites and stalagmites. One of the most popular islands, Cat Ba, is even home to the endangered Cat Ba langur, a white-headed primate that is among the rarest in Asia.
The best way to visit Ha Long Bay is through a local tour company. Your hotel in Hanoi can help you arrange for this. Prices range from USD25 – 35 per person for big groups and USD70 – 80 per person for small private tours for a day trip (sumptuous seafood lunch included). There are also multiple day tours/cruise aboard traditional Chinese junk ships. Day trips to Ha Long Bay include exploration to one or two popular caves in the area.
teachers for most of the last 15 years... into educational technology, e-learning and quality assurance. builds scale models of cars and robots, and experiments in photography in spare time. loves to travel and explore new places with family.
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