New terminal in Tuan Chau tourist port

Tuan Chau international tourist port has officially put the new station into operation.

Tuan Chau wharf

Tuan Chau wharf

The new station was built on the ground of the old station, which was invested, renovated and expanded with professional design, with the total floor area of over 8,000 m2, more than 1,000 seats and can receive about 3,000 visitors at the same time waiting for boarding the cruise to visit Halong Bay.

To meet the needs of tourists, as well as creating the best conditions for the implementation of service units working in the port, the port management unit has arranged the station according to functional areas. Specifically, the area for procedures are widely arranged with modern equipment, to meet the needs of the work force at ports such as inland waterway, Halong Bay Management Board, Port management…

Besides, the new terminal also has a supermarket, children’s play areas, health centers, tradition music performance, post office and travel information areas. To assist passengers about schedules to visit Ha Long Bay, the new station is equipped with large screen monitor, continuously posting information about services, provide drinking water machine, free cold towels for tourists.


Fly to Halong bay on a day trip

Halong travel

Halong travel

You are planning to visit Halong bay but your time is limited, the best way to enjoy the beauty of Halong bay in a tight time frame is by seaplane. You can save the cost by flying one way in stead of a return trip. Halong junk cruise.

Halong bay is famous as the top destination in Vietnam and travelers cannot miss it if you have a chance to visit Vietnam. A typical trip to Halong usually last 2 days 1 night or 3 days 2 nights, staying on board the cruiser. Travel time by car to and from Halong is 4 hours each way, it takes almost a half day to drive from Hanoi. In order to renew the itinerary, besides means by road travelers can travel by seaplanes, a new service launched in September 2014. Depending on your needs, conditions and amount of time you can take one of three choices below:

Option 1: Money is not problem
To save your time, you can book a return trip Hanoi – Halong – Hanoi, there are 2 trips a day departing at 9.00 and 12.45. Depending on your timing you can catch a taxi to Noi Bai airport, to Terminal T1 and do check-in procedures at counter 10, lobby A.

In the 60 minute flight Hanoi to Halong, travelers will have a chance to watch the panorama view of Halong bay on high at 500 – 3000 m. In your sight is thousands of limestone rocks jutting high from the tranquil blue water. The seaplane will then land at Tuan Chau island and return at 11.30 and 16.00 daily.
However you should not return right away but book a 4 hours cruise in Halong bay and have lunch on board, about 50 usd only and you will have a memorable experience with a Vietnamese style lunch in the middle of the bay, admire the caves and grottoes, kayaking among the blue lagoons.

Minimum time: 1 full day
Total cost: 800 usd (Road transfers, seaplane, food, cruise)

Option 2: Moderate cost
To save your expense, you can choose to fly one way from Hanoi to Halong and then return by bus, the itinerary is similar as above, but after landing you are free to schedule your time to explore and have fun.

Nearest place is Tuan Chau entertainment resort island, you can catch a taxi from Halong city to Tuan Chau island, buy entrance tickets 15 usd/person, there are many performances such as dolphins, crocodiles, water music…. You can also visit the outdoor entertainment area and test your ability with activities like windsurfing, canoeing, parachuting, watersliding motor…
Tuan Chau food area is also a suitable choice to have lunch without moving much, you can enjoy various dishes from 7 usd per person. At about 17.00 you can catch a taxi to the island’s entrance for a bus trip back to Hanoi, fares is 5 usd/person

Minimum time: 1 full day
Total cost: about 500 usd (Road transfer, lunch, seaplane)

Option 3: Saving
The best way to not have to spend too much money but still be able to admire Halong bay from on high is travel to Halong by road and book a tour by flight in 25 minutes. From Hanoi you drive to Tuan Chau island in 3 hours. The seaplane will depart and return to starting point at the end of the trip around the islands in Halong bay. There are 3 flights a day at 10.30 14.00 and 14.40. Depending on your arrival time in Tuan Chau island and flight schedule you can arrange lunch before or after the flight tour. For the night you can book a hotel or guesthouse in Bai Chay area, rates 20 – 25 usd/room.

Minimum time: 2 days
Total cost: 350 usd (Road transfer, lunch, seaplane)

Note: We recommend that you come early as the booking will close 25 minutes before departure time
Baggage allowance 20 kg per person
On holidays the seaplane may apply surcharge, you can change flight time but it is subject to availability.


Top 5 best attractions off the beaten Halong bay

Halong bay attractions

Halong bay attractions

Halong bay in Vietnam is the most popular destination in Quang Ninh province. However Halong bay is not the only attraction in Quang Ninh, if you have been to Halong bay before and want to see something else of if you have a few days and want to stay away from the touristy Halong bay I would like to list 5 attractions you must visit during your time in Quang Ninh. There is not much information about these places on the net however I myself have visited them and can guarantee you will not be disappointed to go there. Let’s move on

Hanh grotto
Tours in Halong bay One of the most interesting cave I have ever been to. Hanh grotto is located at the foot of Quang Hanh mountain in Cam Pha township and entrance is along the coast, I came here in 2008 when I visited a friend who lives in Cam Pha, the cave is low and to get into the cave you have to go by small boat and wait until the tide goes down, remember to bring along torch. Only adventurous explorers would think of visiting this cave, most other people including local residents never set their foot in it. Hanh grotto is about 2km in length. You have to calculate time so that you can quickly get in and out of the cave before the tide goes up
Precariously hang above the entrance of the cave is a little shrine named Ba Co, said to be very sacred and fishermen usually come here to pray.
Hanh grotto can by reached by renting a canoe from Hon Gai area or by road to Cam Pha, at the dock in Cam Pha you can hire a boat to the cave, and at the entrance there are small boats to bring you into the cave, it takes about 1.5 hours to visit the cave.

Vung Vieng fishing village
Little is heard about Vung Vieng fising village as it is in Bai Tu Long bay. Vung Vieng is aprox 20km from the mainland, located in a peaceful and quiet area this is one of the oldest fishing village in Quang Ninh province. I came here for the first time in 2005 and in the small village floating on the sea, simple life still goes on day after day. Vung Vieng still preserves it’s natural beauty of an old style fishing village. In Vung Vieng, fishermen made their houses by the edge of the islands, making a living by raising fish and selling to local people, the houses are made of wood, built on empty barrels tied together, in heavy rains or storms the boat will pull the house to another place. With the invasion of tourist vessels coming from the adjacent Halong bay I’m afraid Vung Vieng will soon lose it’s peaceful silence. Upon leaving the village, I caught the wave of the hands of the children and the smiles of people in the village.

Cai Bau pagoda
Built in 2009 Cai Bau pagoda is located in Van Don district, Quang Ninh province, Cai Bau was built on the ground of the old Phuc Linh pagoda, dated back to 7th century. the front side of the pagoda faces the ocean and it’s back faces the mountain. Cai Bau pagoda, aka Truc Lam Giac Tam, is one of two Zen Monasteries in Quang Ninh and is an attractive destination for Vietnamese Buddhists at the beginning of the Lunar Year. Cai Bau pagoda is in the Bai Dai tourism area and it has a peaceful, pure atmostphere. From the pagoda you can have an overview of Bai Tu Long bay. This must be one of the most beautiful pagodas I have ever been to, and to my pleasant surprise people visiting Cai Bau pagoda are treated to free vegeratian food and car parking. This pagoda is about 10km from Cai Rong port town, from Cai Rong you can go there by taxi or bus.

Ngoc Vung island
Among the 3 islands in Bai Tu Long bay including Ngoc Vung, Quan Lan and Co To I like Ngoc Vung the most. Ngoc Vung or Gem island about 35km from mainland. This is one of the few places in Quang Ninh that still has the wild and natural beauty of an untouched island, you can come to Ngoc Vung by high speed boat which departs 2 times a day from Hon Gai or Van Don districts however I would recommend that you take wooden slow boat so that you can enjoy the breathtaking sceneries of Bai Tu Long bay. According to legend, the island was named Ngoc Vung as there were a lot of precious pearls in the island glowing at night under the moonlight. The beach in Ngoc Vung is around 15km with pristine white sand, on activity I recommend is that you rent a bicycle and take an exploration trip around the island. There are a few family hotels and guesthouses on the island and staying the night at homestay in the village is a nice experience, people in the island are very friendly, they let us use their motorbike the whole day for free. Coming to Ngoc Vung island don’t forget to go fishing in the sea and enjoy cheap fresh seafood.

Bai Tho mountain
It would be really pity if you visit Halong bay without climbing up the Bai Tho mountain, especially if you are a photographer. The mountain is right in Halong city next to the bay. Bai Tho mount is about 200m high. The name Bai Tho (poem) came out in 15th century when the King made a poem on the wall of the mountain, praising the unique beauty of the Halong bay. Climbing to the top of Bai Tho mountain is a nice experience, the path is not too long however pretty steep, it took me 30 minuties to reach the mountain peak, from here you can have a panorama view of the entire Halong bay, and I can guarantee you can take the best photos of sunset in Halong bay from the top of Bai Tho mountain. At the foot of the mountain is Long Tien pagoda, built in the last century as a worship place for the national heroes.


Halong bay history

Halong Bay’s name refers to a dragon that descends, and it has long been a site of mythic significance to the Vietnamese. Dragons have long been sacred to the Vietnamese, who believe that they are descended from the union of the dragon god Lac Long Quan and a beautiful goddess of the mountain, Au Co. Lan Ha bay

Halong bay

Halong bay

Similar legends abound about the creation of Halong Bay. One ancient story tells of a powerful dragon that flew from the mountain to the sea, its fiery tail carving out valleys and gorges, before it dived into the sea. The splash caused the sea to flood the landscape, leaving only the tips of the hills peaking out as islands.

Another recounts the tale of the early Vietnamese fending off invaders who came by sea. To help them, gods dispatched a mother dragon and her young, who started spitting out pearls from their mouths. These pearls turned into the islands and pillars that jutted out from the sea, blocking off the passage of the ships.

Whatever the story is, Halong Bay and visit Bai Tu Long bay from Hanoi clearly emerges as a very special place unlike any other. And in fact, researchers and scientists have found that Halong was one of the earliest cradles of civilisation in Vietnam, thanks to its rich biological diversity of rainforests, mangroves and coral that supported vegetation and animals, making it a good place for ancient humans to live. Evidence of many ancient cultures and Vietnamese ethnicities have been discovered here, like the Soi Nhu, Cái Bèo and Halong culture, all which date far before 1500 B.C.

In Vietnam’s history, Halong Bay is also an important place. It is the home of the historical port Van Don, and a place where heroic ship battles took place to protect Vietnam against foreign invaders. It was here on Bach Dang River that General Tran Hung Dao planted sharp wood stakes in the water during a Mongol attack. These stakes punctured the hulls of Kublai Khan’s ships, causing them to sink in the river. In this clever way, the general kept his people safe from the relentless attacks of the Mongol army.

Culturally, Halong Bay is also very important as a place that inspired artists, poets and scholars who shaped Vietnamese culture and history. Poem Mountain is covered with carvings of poems celebrating famous Kings and legendary heroes and warriors. The famous scholar Nguyen Trai also immortalized Halong Bay in his poetry as a wonder of Vietnam.

Today, Halong Bay is inhabited by fishing families, numbering to about 1,600 across four floating villages located in quiet coves. These villages are centuries-old, lived in by generations of fisherman, who have never left Halong Bay, but enjoyed the protection of the mountainous isles from storms and rough weather. In this world, young children swim before they learn to walk, and at an early age, they start to steer and row their own little boats, made of bamboo baskets.


Halong bay introduction

If there is one star that shines more than the others in Vietnam, that is Ha Long Bay. A magical place whose visit can be made more beautiful, if possible, with a sailing boat.

Halong Bay is located in northeastern Vietnam, the Gulf of Tonkin and surrounded by South China Sea, is a series of islands, islets and limestone mountains eroded to form one of the most beautiful and unique designs in the world.

Perhaps this is the best highlight of Vietnam, although each place has its own attraction, it is true that Halong is really special and navigate around these islands of hundreds of years old is something we will never forget.

Halong in Vietnam

Halong in Vietnam

The islets jut out of the sea forming a maze of karsts, caves, tunnels, they are formed in the different shapes of human, animals and weird objects. In Halong, you can perform activities during the tour and walk among the islets on a kayak and look closely at sea erosion and years on the rocks. Halong bay is an ideal place to go kayaking, and the limestone cliffs provide a beautiful scene for rock climbers.

There are several ways to explore the bay on day or overnight trips, most travellers take Halong bay 2 day tour with 1 night on board the cruiser, travellers with 3 or 4 days are recommended to have 1 or 2 days to Catba island where you will enjoy an amazing island with a brutal nature park, home to endangered langurs. Cat ba is one of the few inhabited islands of Halong Bay and a great place to enjoy a few quiet days with good beaches.

Another stop is the Monkey Island, inhabited by a good number of monkeys that you can see up close. There are several roads around the island to make treks, but it is essential to wear good shoes, as a result of moisture the soil is slippery and can be dangerous.

There are several points where you will take the trip more economically. One of them is Hai Phong sea port city. To get to Cat Ba you have to take a fast boat in Hai Phong and in just over 30 minutes will arrive in this fantastic island, and from Catba you can travel by ferry to Halong bay in just 1 hour

Halong bay cruisers, this type of vessels, also known as Junks or dragon boats are beautiful traditional manufacturing buildings, whose main characteristic is its brown wooden works with curled roof like eastern pagoda. Furthermore, proudly wear a figurehead head of a dragon and two or three sails on top

Although referred to as Sailing Junks all boats are motorized, top floor of the boat is the sun deck for passengers to relax, take photos, Below deck, are equipped better than some hotels with well-appointed rooms and restaurants specializing in fresh seafood.

Travellers can take their halong bay cruises for an exploration of the site, all boats have a small canoe or “tender” to take visitors to small lagoons or beautiful caves in the area

As if all this were not enough, during the voyage you can make a stopover in several caves which you can access and view the bay from them. these caves are like caves typical of pirate movies that will not leave indifferent insurance.

However don’t expect you are going to take a peaceful trip to a quiet place as there are about 300 boats travel everyday and half of them anchor offshore, because of safety regulations all tourist boats stop travelling in the evening and have to anchor at some assigned spots around the bay

Spending the night on board is an unforgettable experience for travellers, The views are incomparable, especially sunsets and sunrises. Explore Ha Long Bay on a sailing boat has its rewards.


Visit Halong bay

Halong bay

Halong bay

Located in northeast Vietnam, Quang Ninh province boasts the heritage site Halong bay, one of the new wonders of the world. Halong bay is on the west coast of Tonkin Gulf, including waters of Halong city, Cam Pha township and part of Van Don island district. Halong is also home to biodiversity with typical eco system such as mangrove forest, coral reefs, tropical forest…with thousands of diverse fauna and flora.

Halong means where the dragon descends on earth, Halong bay is like an immense picture of mountain and sea, very spectacular and lively with about 2000 large and small islands, most of them are limestone. Hidden inside the mountains and islands are wonderful caves and grottoes, nicknamed as heavenly palace on earth such as Thien Cung cave, Dau Go grotto, Sung Sot cave, Trinh Nu, Tam Cung cave…

Coming to Halong visitors can take a scenic cruise on the bay, you will see the dim mist like in dreams, the crystal clear water like a mirror reflecting the islands in the distance. And travelers will come across the floating houses of local people, with the boats come and go at the harbour. All these things will certainly make visitors entertained.

Besides tourists can not miss Tuan Chau island, one of the most famous resort islands in north Vietnam and is one of the best in 1969 islands of Halong bay, also this is the only island inhabited in Halong bay. Tuan Chau is famous for the largest artificial coast of Vietnam. Guests can enjoy entertainment on the sloping shoreline with white sand beach of Tra Co in Mong Cai district. The beach and water games such as beach volleyball, soccer, surfing, canoes, high speed water motorcycle will give you a healthy holiday, interesting and impressive. Especially visitors will have a chance to enjoy delicious food at Vietnam cuisine garden. The garden was designed in unique style with royal architecture in Vietnam in 17th and 18th centuries.

Halong has a huge cave system, each cave has it’s own charm and attached with a legend. Travelers can take a rowing boat to visit Luon cave on Bo Hon island, about 14km from Bai Chay area to behold the stalactites and bamboo shoots formed over millions of years with a variety of shapes and sizes. You won’t believe in your eyes at the majestic and magnificent scenery, in front of the cave is Turtle islet, on the right is Heaven Gate, there are sheer cliffs, calm all year round like a green mirror, close to the edge of water, a bow entrance opens at the foot of the mountain.

If you prefer a pilgrimage visit you are recommended to Yen Tu pagoda, this is a pagoda complex with temples, shrines, towers and dense trees blended with natural scenery, scatter from Red slope to Yen Tu mountain. The beauty of Yen Tu is the grandeur of the mountains blending with ancient contemplative focus of temples and towers coupled with pine trees, bamboo along the roadside making pilgrims forget the tiredness of the journey.

In the evening tourists can visit Bai Chay night market to buy souvernirs for families and friends or enjoy special food for sales across the road. At about 9pm the area is busy with people going up and down, shopping and dining. If you want to have a panorama of Halong city at night you can pay a visit to Bai Chay bridge, the biggest suspension of it’s kind in Vietnam. Conversely if you want to have a view of the bridge you can go to the former ferry station and have a cup of coffee, watching the sea and city at night. In addition to the huge complex of caves, Halong bay also has other famous beautiful places waiting for discovery, you will certainly have a lot of great memories in this destination.


Halong bay travel chapter 3

Halong travel guide

Halong travel guide

Top in the list of worth visiting site in north Vietnam is Halong bay, travellers going to Halong Bay usually spend 2 to 3 days, overnight on board the boat, the boats are designed elegantly as a floating hotel, halong bay cruises range from cheap to deluxe, some boats are built in standard of a 5 star hotel, with all facilites like sauna, spa…

Active travellers would find halong bay kayaking a very interesting activity, kayaks are made of plastic, a kayak can carry 1 or 2 people, kayaking can be arranged at 10-20 usd/kayak, traveller can explore the limestone rocks on the bay by paddling through hidden lagoons, under mountain caves and going on little islands for sun bath

The best area to go kayaking is near Cat Ba island, there are small islands with white sand beaches which are ideal for kayaking, some resorts built right on the beach also offer this services free for guests staying at their resort, such as Ocean Beach resort or Monkey island resort

Cat Ba island used to be part of Halong Bay tours, and is a popular destination for backpackers and active travellers, going to Catba island visitors can take a trip to nearby islands, visit Catba national park, go trekking in the forest, long trek can take up to 7-8 hours, crossing Viet Hai fishing village, frog lake…

Beside kayaking in Halong Bay and Cat Ba island, travellers who love wild nature also visit Quan Lan island. Located in the Bai Tu Long bay, Quan Lan island is about 3 hours by boat from Halong Bay, travellers can catch a public boat from Halong city or from Cai Rong town, Bai Tu Long bay is by no means less beautiful than Halong, and the beaches in Quan Lan is just wonderful, Minh Chau beach is considered as the best one, other beaches like Viet My, Son Hao are also popular.

There are not many hotels in Quan Lan island, neither restaurants and shops, visitors have only a few choices, Viet My resort is built right on the beach, there are more than 10 wooden houses, in summertime it is always crowded with tourists, mostly local Vietnamese, however it is almost empty in wintertime, other choices are Ngan Ha guest house, a simple family hotel right in the center of village, the host is a very friendly woman and great cook, and their restaurant is almost the only choice in the place

Bicycling is a popular option for visitors, the concrete road from the town centre to Minh Chau beach is especially beautiful, during the ride visitors can take photos of local people working on the rice fields, catching Sai Sung, a kind of sea worms, along the way sand dunes and pine hills stretch out through the horizon.