Halong Bay Travel Guide

Seeking for a travel hub that is a mystical and magnificent feat of nature that never fails to impress? The one and only Halong Bay can be put into your list as a must-come spot when visiting the Northeast of Vietnam. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site twice, Halong Bay is under the management of both Quang Ninh and Hai Phong provinces.The whole bay is about 1,500 square kilometers, consisting 1,969 island and islets made from karst limestone towering like skyscapers throughout the bay. Halong Bay has two form of islands: limestone and schist islands, concentrated mainly in the southeastern region (belonging to Bai Tu Long Bay) and the southwestern area (belonging to Halong Bay). These islands aged more than 280 years of creating geology.

Halong Bay

Fishing village

Visiting Halong Bay is like stepping into a beautiful painting, where the sky harmonized with fresh green water, embellished by giant stone moutains. With so much to offer for travellers, Halong Bay promises you an overwhelmed feeling right at the moment you arrive at the place. From world leaders, celebrities, to Hollywood directors, Halong Bay has probably welcomed them all, which proved how much important of Halong Bay to the representation of Vietnam to the rest of the world.

Brief history:

Halong Bay is sulptured by tectonic movement throughout over 500 million years. Historical researches have shown the presence of prehistorical human beings in this area tens of thousand years ago.

The very first legend about Halong Bay explains its special name, meaning the “Landing dragon”. Legend has it that Vietnamese prayed for a miracle when they had to face invasions. Responding to the payers, Emperor Jade sent a mother dragon with her children down to protect the land. They were spitting out jewwels and jade which turned into islands and islets dotting the emerald green water to fight against enemy, which explains the beauty of such bay for the locals.

Before today era, the bay has a long history being through Soi Nhu Culture (18,000 – 7,000 B.C.), Cai Beo Culture (7,000 – 5,000 B.C.), Halong Culture (3,000 – 1,500 B.C.), Feudal period. Feudal period played an important part in one of the most glorious pages in Vietnam history, in which King Ngo Quyen stopped Liu Hongcao ships from colonizing battle nearby Bach Dang River by placing steel-tipped wooden stakes hidden in Dau Go Cave (meaning “Wooden stakes” cave). Bach Dang victory marked the end of 1,000 years of Chinese domination, opening up an independence age for Vietnam.


Name main history attraction:

  • Sung Sot Cave: Legend tells that after defeating the An aggressors, Thanh Giong (the Saint Giong) helped villagers chase devils and demons away from the village and flew to heaven. He left his stone horse and swore to keep protecting his people. Sung Sot Cave was where villagers keep all the vestige of arms and Saint Giong’s horse footprint, which has become small lakes with huge stones surrounded. The name “Sung Sot” (means “Amazed feeling”) would definitely describe how travelers feel towards Top 10 most beautiful cave on Earth. The cave was first found in 1901 by a French travelers and called Grotte Des Surprises (The Cave of Surprises) in a travel book established in 1938. Being one of the widest and most special caves of Halong Bay, Sung Sot Cave is located in the center of the Bay, inside Bo Hon island. Despite having a small gate, the cave amazed visitors by its giant inner space, which probably explains the surprising name.

Sung Sot Cave

Sung Sot cave

  • Ti Top Island: In the early years, the island was less known and called the “Graveyard” island. The name was in memorial of the death of a French cargo ship crew, who faced disaster nearby and buried on the island. It was kept until 1962, when Ho Chi Minh visited the island with a Soviet astronuat named Gherman Ti Top. He asked the locals to name this island after Gherman’s, from then, Ti Top island has become the symbol of friendship between Vietnam and Soviet Union. Unlike 2,000 other tourism spots in Halong, Ti Top does not only have beautiful nature view but also owns a fabulous sandy beach called Ti Top beach or Vang Trang beach (means the Moon beach, because the sandy beach looks like the moon hanging onto the island mountain). If you have only seen one picture of Halong bay, it is more likely taken from the crest of Ti Top island.
  • Dau Go Cave: History recorded an event when Dau Go Cave was the place where spear-shaped woodpiles were hidden by Vietnam soldiers to build a battlefield and destroy Mongol’s ships during the war against their invasion in the 13th This was Tran Hung Dao’s, known as Tran King, strategy for such underdog to win over huge Mongolian army. Dau Go Cave has a huge 5,000 square-meter-space inside. From outside, the cave’s gate is filled with emerald hue with the shape of a jelly-fish. Surprised by the beauty of Dau Go Cave, Khai Dinh King once wrote a poem praising it and engraved in the left side of the cave.

Culture (ethnicity, living custom, religious belief, special tradition and festival, etc.)

The area is less populated compared to other cities in Vietnam due to the fact that the government has moved all floating villages’ residents to the mainland for better living standards, leaving the whole bay for tourism. Halong residents are friendly and hospitable since their main income is driven from tourism, beside fishing. The locals can take tourists on squid fishing trips and many other local activities when coming to their floating villages.


(How many season - Weather of each season - Which is the best time for traveling)

Halong is located in the North of Vietnam with a tropical monsoon climate. Four distinct weather comes along with four season. The most popular period for visitors is from October to December, when the weather is not sweaty, the water is still calm as summers and the sky is most clearly blue.


The most common yet time-consuming option to travel to Halong Bay is by shuttle service booked through agents or private cars. The next option is through air transfer, from professional flights to seaplance services or helicoper, which provides you a scenic bird’s eye view of the bay. Another least popular option is to travel by water, which can only be done if you are on a trans-pacific cruise stopping in major spots. This option is mostly chosen by Chinese tourists coming from China.

There are many tour cruises which offer tourists a full serviced journey at comfortably. You can look for Ha Long Bay Cruise as a preferred option.


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