Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Vietnam In Seven Days: Breathtaking Ha Long Bay

September 24th, 2010 by

Buying hand-sewn crafts definitely placed everyone in our tour group in a happy mood.  After filling our bags with unique souvenirs we decided to continue on our way.  The tour guide informed us that we were only about an hour away from our destination but it might take us a bit longer to get there because of the heavy rains.  Fortunately, it only took us about fifty minutes to reach the Ha Long Pier.

Photo credit

We immediately found ourselves in the midst of what appeared like hundreds of tourists, tour guides, and workers all trying to get on the right boats all at the same time.  The unfolding scene was organized chaos.  Everything was definitely confusing but fascinating nonetheless.  From here, our tour guide ushered us to a small boat that was to bring us to our main boat for our Ha Long Bay Tour.

Ha Long Bay actually means Descending Dragon Bay when translated.  It can be found in northeastern Vietnam and is surrounded by the Gulf of Tonkin, Cat Ba Island and to the north, China.  As one of Vietnam’s pre-eminent UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ha Long Bay is a very popular travel destination.

Photo credit

What makes Ha Long Bay special? Well for one, thousands of islets that vary in shape and size populate the bay’s 120 km coastline.  These small islands are made up of limestone and are concentrated in the southwest of Ha Long Bay and the southeast (actually Bai Tu Long Bay).  It’s also interesting to note that these islets, which are now covered by lush vegetation, have undergone about 500 million years of evolution.  Another extraordinary feature is the presence of numerous inland lakes on the islands themselves.  In fact, one can find up to six lakes on just one island!

Our tour guide told us that Ha Long Bay is one huge natural work of art (an obvious bit of hyperbole, to say the least).  If one looks closely, the islands take on unusual shapes and forms.  There are islands that resemble dragons, roosters, incense burners, elephants and people.  The shape of the island depends on the angle of the light source as well as your personal vantage point.

Photo credit

Hotels in Hanoi and other cities can easily arrange tours of Ha Long Bay to fit every taste and budget. Tours can last anywhere from one day up to a full week. Less expensive group tours tend to stop off at tourist traps to encourage the purchase of souvenirs (which can be just fine, if you like to shop), while more personal, intimate tours simply cut to the chase and invoke more cultural authenticity.

As for us, our hotel took care of all the arrangements for our Oriental Sails Halong Bay Tour. We paid a total of USD 100 per person for: pick-up from our hotel, land transportation to Ha Long, a visit to a souvenir shop, overnight stay onboard the Oriental Sails, meals for two days, cave exploration within Ha Long Bay, kayak excursion and land transportation back to our hotel.

For me, the best part of the Ha Long Bay tour was the opportunity to meet new people from different parts of the world.  We swapped travel stories over meals and chatted about various cultures during our free time on the boat. The new friendships that I made as a result are something I will forever cherish.

Note:  Back in 2009, New 7 Wonders Foundation included Ha Long Bay in its list of nominations for the World’s 7 Natural Wonders.

One Response to “Vietnam In Seven Days: Breathtaking Ha Long Bay”

  1. Vietnam In Seven Days: Caves Of Ha Long Says:

    […] a splendid night in Ha Long Bay on board the Oriental Sails, we went off to explore some of the area’s spectacular cave […]

Leave a Reply

About Travel Blog Travel Blog is your central source of news bits, amusing experiences, funny observations, and helpful tips and guides to travelling around Asia. For easier browsing, check the Categories section for topics you are interested in. Every month, we also highlight an Asian destination with quick links to the travel guide and best hotels in […]

read more »

Fishing for Love?

Romance in GuamRelease that romance by sharing a scuba dive or a zesty meal with your loved one in Guam! Surrounded by the North Pacific Ocean and Philippine Sea, Guam enjoys world renowned diving conditions in serene blue waters. Be consumed by the dance, festivals, cuisine and fantastic shopping that this island offers. Bellhop Picks:
  • Polls

    Top 5 Romantic Spots in Asia

    • Palawan, Philippines (39%, 182 Votes)
    • Boracay, Philippines (36%, 168 Votes)
    • Bali, Indonesia (31%, 143 Votes)
    • Agra, India (18%, 84 Votes)
    • Batangas, Philippines (17%, 79 Votes)
    • Male, Maldives (16%, 77 Votes)
    • Jeju Island, South Korea (16%, 75 Votes)
    • Sentosa Island, Singapore (15%, 72 Votes)
    • Krabi, Thailand (13%, 60 Votes)
    • Macau, China (10%, 49 Votes)
    • Halong Bay, Vietnam (7%, 34 Votes)

    Total Voters: 467

    Loading ... Loading ...