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.



Customize your trip to Halong bay

Halong bay tour for couples and families Top in the list of Vietnam travel attractions, Halong Bay is a destination you should definitely visit in your trip to Vietnam. As the creator has made it magnificent masterpiece. Usually you have to spend a significant budget for a trip to Halong bay, however with my experience you can arrange a private Halong bay cruise with a moderate cost.

Halong bay junk cruise

Halong bay junk cruise

Halong bay is about 160 km from Hanoi and you can save the cost by catching a public bus which departs at Luong Yen or My Dinh stations in Hanoi, it takes 4 hours to arrive in Halong city. You can have a bit of comfort and convenience by renting a private car at the cost 75 usd one way. If you are going to do a private tour with family we recommend that you arrange a private car as you will be picked up at hotel at the start of your trip.

Tours in Halong: Arriving in Halong city around noon you can have lunch at one of the restaurants near the wharf, price is reasonable and you can order from the menu. In the early afternoon walk to the tourist port and rent a boat to visit the bay, note that you have to pay entrance fees separately, cost for a private charter boat is 80 – 120 usd for a 4 or 6 hour cruise, in summertime May to August price is probably higher.

There are 2 types of tickets to visit Halong Bay are day trip tickets for a cruise in 4 hours and 6 hours. The 4-hour ticket allows you to visit Heavenly cave, Dau Go grotto, Fighting cocks islet, and cruise around near the shore. For 6-hour ticket you can visit further places such as Amazing Cave, Titop island…

For those who take 2 day tour staying on board the cruise you will have more activities. There are many tour company offering private charter cruise with full service such as Paloma cruise, Helios cruise, Victory Star cruise. Spending the night on the bay is really a nice experience although price is much higher than the hotel stay.

Cruise itinerary Typical itinerary for the 2 day private Halong cruise is after arrving at the port you will check in the cruise, lunch will be served on board as the ship is cruising. About 3pm passengers will visit Amazing cave, spending about 1 hour in the cave and then continue the cruise to Titop island beach for swimming, towards the end of the day you will be taken to a deserted place for kayaking. The second day will start with a taichi excercise on the sundeck, after breakfast the ship will sail to Bai Tu Long bay that is a more wild and untouched area where you can visit Luon cave by rowing boat, stop and visit a floating village and other beautiful sites such as Stone dog islet, Swan islet…you will return to the port in another way, the last meal will be served on the way back. About 11.30 you will arrive at the dock. For the 3 day trip passengers will spend the whole 2nd day kayaking, rock climbing or other activities, some cruises will combine Cat Ba island in the package.

Charter rates for private cruise: – Standard cruise, 2 floors, capacity 48 people: 15 usd/hour – Superior cruise, 2 foors: 25 usd/hour – Deluxe cruise, 2 floors with air-conditioner: 36 usd/hour

Entrance fees to tourists sites in Halong bay From 2014 entrance fees to visit Halong bay have increased, In general sightseeing tickets to Halong Bay in the day time from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm is 6 usd, not including entrance fees to islands, caves… Entrance fee to one of the attractions that was invested by the state: Soi Sim island, Ti-top beach, Cua Van floating village…ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 usd/person. Fares fore passengers staying one night and visit Halong Bay is 16 usd, two nights is 23 usd. Children from 7 to 15 years old, elderly people aged 70 or older, poor people, people with disabilities will pay decreased 50%, children under 7 years old will be exempted from entrance fees.


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.


Fishermen in Halong bay row boats for tourists

Quang Ninh Province has completed the relocation of more than 300 households living in the core area of the World Natural Heritage Halong Bay to a new resettlement area in Ha Phong ward, Halong city.

Halong rowing boats

Halong rowing boats

However, the local authorities still allow people to make a living in the bay to ensure livelihood for the people who have contributed to the preservation of the unique culture of the fishing villages of Halong bay.

The rowing boats carrying tourists to visit attractions in Halong Bay has been formed and maintained through the activities of the floating fishing village in Vung Vieng

Mr Tang Van Phien, Chairman of the cooperative said rowing boats that serves tourists has been operating since 2008 with most members from Vung Vieng fishing village, especially in the early days of when Halong bay in Vietnam was opened to tourists, the backpackers going on cheap tours to Halong bay even stayed overnight on floating houses.

Therefore, the majority of people wishing Vung Vieng would later develop into a model of community tourism, with fisheries taken as the core of tourism development.

Vu Van Dong, from the old fishing village said his family has moved on shore, he is now back to Vung Vieng rowing boats for tourists so as to feed his family.

Although launched a few years ago, but rowing boat service to attract spots in the bay, visit the fishing villages has attracted many visitors, some companies offering Halong budget tours include a visit to the village a part of the itinerary.

This is one of the very effective ways to diversify tourism products of Halong bay and to keep visitors to stay longer and explore the unique beauty of the world heritage Halong bay.


Halong floating villages removed

Halong bay fishing village

Halong bay fishing village

According to a media meeting organized by Quang Ninh department of tourism and Halong city people’s committee, all households living in floating houses around Halong Bay will be removed in June, other news such as relocation schedule of families and houses to new resettlement area on land in order to make the environment clean a beautiful natural wonder of the world.

Plan to resettle the households and houses on Halong Bay was approved in 2012. By the end of April 2014 the city people’s committee has encouraged 147 households to voluntarily move, forced 5 floating houses to leave, and 325 families among 462 houses will be resettled in the fishing village of Ha Phong commune, 137 households were funded in the new inhabitation.

For hundreds of years, the fishermen in Halong lived on the sea, there are villages which has become famous as part of the Halong bay travel sites such as Ba Hang, Cua Van, Vong Vieng, Cong Dam…People live on floating houses, under the houses are fish cages raising seafood to sell to tourists, floating market has become an attractive indispensable part for visitors doing halong bay tours, many beautiful pictures about the floating villages of Halong bay has been taken by travelers.

Halong city has so far completed and handed over 364 qualified resettlement apartments in Ha Phong commune’s fishing village. The houses are terraced one floor with an area of 77.5 and 128 sq metres. There is also a system of schools, medical care centre to serve the academic and health care for people living on the area.


Quang Ninh responds to World Tourism Day

Quang Ninh People’s Committee has instructed the provincial departments and agencies to organize activities in response to World Tourism Day 27/9 with the theme “Tourism and Water: Protecting our future”

The Department of Culture is responsible for coordination with ralated sectors and agencies to organizes meetings in response to the World Tourism Day to promote and spread the profound significance of the theme “Tourism and Water Protection our future “, thus raise awareness of responsible tourism businesses and visitors in the protection of water resources, environmental protection, contribute to the positive image of Quang Ninh tourism, organize training courses on tourism and water environmental protection for staff of Culture Divisions in the provincial districts, townships, the travel businesses and people living in the neighborhoods of landscapes and historical sites.

Department of Natural Resources – Environment, in coordination with the related agencies will respond to the 2013 World Tourism Day through the development and implementation of environmental clean-up campaign planned by People’s committee for tourism encouragement in 2013

Located in the north east Vietnam, Quang Ninh is home to the World Natural Heritage of Halong Bay, millions of tourists take part in Halong bay tours each year. The World Tourism Day is a chance for Quang Ninh to promote it’s image to the world.

Halong bay in Quang Ninh province

Halong bay in Quang Ninh province

General Secretary of UNWTO Taleb Rifai said the message of World Tourism Day 2013: “As one of the largest economic sectors in the world, responsible tourism ensures business investments for the management of water resources in the value chain”

Accessible clean water plays a decisive role for tourism activities, from hotels and restaurants to entertainment facilities and transportation. More importantly, tourism activities in the points associated with water resources is growing. Many beaches, lakes and tourist attractions associated with water resources have become famous destinations in the world.


Halong rocks collapse

Heavy rains, strong winds from 2 consecutive typhoon that hit northern coastal area of Vietnam has made part of an islet in Halong Bay  overnight junk boat seriously collapse

Halong bay world heritage

Halong bay world heritage

Speaking with reporters, Ms Pham Thuy Duong, Head of the Halong Management Committee, said shortly after 5th typhoon, the staff of Management Department has examined and discovered part of the 649 rock had been blown off.

The island is located in the fishing village of Cong Tau region, between the centers of 3 and 4 Center of the Bay Management Department. Duong said the landslide in the 649 island caused by storms, not by mining for stone exploit.

Previously, the typhoon landed straight in Quang Ninh with the strongest winds in the storm were monitoredat level 8, level 9 (from 75 to 102 km per hour), shock level 11, level 12, and caused heavy rain largely.

Then, 7th and 8th August, the 6th typhoon affected Quang Ninh province. Although the typhoon did not landed onto the province however it caused strong winds and torrential rains in a large region including Halong Bay.

Currently Halong Bay Management Department sent their staff to the scene to monitor the situation. At the same time, the Management Board is inviting the Central Geological Institute to check the status of the island.

Halong Bay is one of the famous tourist destinations in north Vietnam, the bay was twice recognized as a World Natural Heritage by Unesco and in 2011 was voted as one of the New 7 World Wonders. The bay is composed by more than 2000 islands and rock formations. Halong bay is located in the Gulf of Tonkin, near the border with China. The formations are limestone, formed by thousands of years or tides going up and down. Halong is also home to precious animals such as yellow monkeys, langurs