Ha Long Bay Attractions
Ha Long Bay is gifted with beautiful landscapes - the Bay itself is already enthralling place to be in, not to mention other attractions to visit for a day trip or overnight cruise. Following are some of the most charming spots for sightseeing in Ha Long Bay. Others are simply countless to name.
Vong Vieng Fishing Village
Located far away from the highly popular Cat Ba Island, the little fishing village of Vong Vieng is off the beaten path. With just about 50 families calling it home and a population of 300 residents, it is truly a great place to spend the day, relax and soak up the laid-back atmosphere.
Out of the four fishing villages in Ha Long Bay, Vong Vieng is the les touristy, a perfect fit for travelers seeking to experience local life. After disembarking the mother boat, you will be transferred by rowing boats or do kayak to enter Vong Vieng. The village offers a chance for travelers to experience the villager’s daily life as well as observe the traditional culture and customs of the fishermen,
These families have lived in this village for generations. They go about their daily lives, oblivious to the buzz surrounding the Heritage site of Ha Long Bay. Living far away from the bustling tourist attractions, the people at Vong Vieng is friendly and all smileys to curious visitors. It is interesting to take part in the making of fishing nets and processing fishes. The rambunctious children make up one third of the local population and their presence livens up the quiet fishing life.
Once you’ve set food on the peaceful village of Vong Vieng, be sure to stay overnight for the exciting communal activities which only unfold in the evening. Under the majestic moonlight, tourists sit on woven bamboo boats beside the crackling fire, breathe fresh air, and listen to folk song duets, drop flower garlands and colored lanterns for luck and watch the fishermen catching marine products. If you’re lucky to arrive at Vong Vieng during the annual Ha Long Tourism Week, you’re welcome to participate in the fishing village festival. Exciting activities vary from folk song singing contest, culinary competition, swimming competition and boat handling competition etc.
Tien Ong Cave
Tien Ong Cave is the newest addition to the vast collection of 2000 islets in the World Heritage Ha Long Bay. The name Tien Ong Cave is yet to ring a bell to many tourists, but the cave is on its way to become a star in Ha Long itinerary.
Covering an area of nearly 1,000 m2, the cave is spectacular for its sheer size. It is separated into two chambers by a tall rustic stone pillar. The cave door, after thousand years of direct contact with sea water, has been covered with a layer of emerald green moss, giving it a primitive charm. The system of stalactites inside Tien Ong Cave is nothing short of stunning compared to those inside the finest caves in Ha Long Bay, such as Sung Sot Grotto or Thien Cung Cave. They can take any forms and shapes, from peacock, crocodile or a mighty man. Recently they have been ornamented with well-manicured lights to look all the more magnificent. The grotto can be likened to a hauntingly beautiful museum built by Planet Earth.
Besides its natural beauty, Tien Ong Cave also draws attention from archaeological experts for containing stone artifact assemblages from Hoa Binh Culture that dated to 10000-2000 BCE. If you’re lucky to go with a knowledgeable and experienced guide, your trip will be even more eye-opening with fantastic history lessons of cave exploration. Tien Ong Cave was officially opened for tourism in 2010, satisfying both Ha Long Bay enthusiasts and archaeology buffs.
Day and Night Grotto
There are around 3000 islands and islets in Ha Long Bay, but the Day and Night grotto stands out for the mingling of a number of factors: the splendid mountain, the emerald green water and the floating clouds.
Day and Night grotto is not only known for the stunning limestone structure at every turn but also for the interesting natural habitat. On the cliff one still find traces of fossils of fresh-water snails, which prove that the cave was inhabited thousands of years ago. Monkeys run to and fro in groups, Benjamin fig trees shade the landscape and many orchids hang their sweet-scented flowers.
Not many attractions are blessed with such a stunning beauty and diverse ecosystem as Ha Long Bay, and the Day and Night Grotto rightfully deserves as a an inevitable part of the Heritage site.
Cua Van Village
Ha Long Bay is famous worldwide for its natural beauty, most tourists travel across oceans and continents to Vietnam for that reason. If you’re looking for cultural interaction, however, you can’t get better than the community of fishing villages there. Out of the four villages in Ha Long Bay, Cua Van village is the top attraction. Situated on a calm bay surround by mountains, 20km away from the tourist boat wharf, Cua Van village is a tranquil haven for travelers who want to experience the authentic lives of the local people. Another reason to pay a visit to the village is that it is also home to an interesting marine and coastal ecosystem.
As the largest fishing village in Ha Long Bay, Cua Van has a population of 733 in 176 households. They live on floating houses and call fishing their bread and butter. Cua Van can be considered the “wealthiest” village in Ha Long Bay. Their floating houses look spacious and clean. The well-off families even have tiled roof houses with radios, television sets, tables and chairs, etc.
When thinking about Ha Long Bay, the image that frequently crosses people’s minds is the surreal breathtaking mountains rising from the emerald green water. But Ha Long Bay is not all about world-class caves and grottos. There are local people who go about their daily lives with an optimistic attitude. Visiting the village, tourists have a chance to experience the villagers’ daily life as well as the traditional culture and customs of the fishermen, the often overlooked main characters of the World Heritage Area of Ha Long Bay. Observing the making of fish nets and fishing is good lesson for kids and an interesting experience for adults from other cultural backgrounds. Looking at the small boats driven by tiny oars going to school, the radiant faces of the children, and their rambunctious calling, one feels confident in a bright future for the fishing village.
In recent years, the locals at Cua Van village have been more engaged in the tourism industry in Ha Long Bay. Aside from fishing, many families also offer homestay and participate in environment awareness campaign. It’s no wonder why Cua Van has become a tourist attraction and has been present in the itinerary of almost all tourist agencies.
Hang Dau Go - Cavern of woodens
The cavern starts off with a sea star like entrance into a seemingly-endless-tunnel. The cavern features gorgeous lime karst, which have caught the attention of many historical figures from King Khai Dinh in 1919 to President Ho Chi Minh in 1962. Most cruise tours include the cavern of wonders on the second or third day of trip, making it a nice morning trek for guests.
Sung Sot - The surprisingly beautiful caves
It is rather easy for visitors to guess how Sung Sot took its name. Sung Sot, or Surprise Cave in English, amazes almost anyone who sets his or her foot here for the heavenly beauty. The cave is made up of karst shaped in countless form. As you walk down the path to explore the cave, you cannot help the endless imagination and association of these formations with real life figures such as tortoise, dragon, and sword. So let the imagination soar! A visit to Sung Sot cave is included in most cruises so you know you won't miss it.
Bai Tu Long Bay - a wildly enchanting place
If Ha Long Bay is compared to a glamorous beauty queen surrounded by reporters and followers, Bai Tu Long Bay is to an original and charming one without much public attention. Lesser known than its sister, Bai Tu long is another secret haven.
There are not yet many tours delivered, the beach remains pristine, and residents are more local fishermen than tourism service workers. Among all cruises deliver tours to Ha Long Bay, a few anchor in Bai Tu Long such as Santa Maria, Dragon Pearl and White Dolphin. These are smaller boats, offering a less luxury but definitely more tranquil feel as one tour the Bay.
Ba Mun Island and Primitive Forest
Ba Mun Island is a schist island belonging to the Minh Chau Commune, Van Ðon District. It stretches out parallel to Quan Lan Island, separated by the Ðoi Gate that runs in a north-east direction. It has the other name, Cao Lo Island. It is 15 km from the shore, 1,800 ha in area with more than 20 km long and narrow wide. It consists of a narrow stretch of earth and stone that runs east to west. The highest peak is Quít Mountain with a height of 397 m. The fauna and flora here are very plentiful. There are many rare species. It is the only island in Hạ Long Bay that is home to a primitive forest. There are countless species of plants and trees, some with giant trunks. This forest is also home to many rare animals such as chamois, deer and monkeys. It is said that many years ago tigers, panthers and elephants once resided on the island. In order to help preserve the forest, on 24 January 1997, the government recognized it as a national park.
Bo Hon Island
When speaking of the beautiful islands of Hạ Long Bay, one must speak of Bồ Hòn Island or Soap-Berry Tree Island, not only because of its splendid scenery, but also as it is one of the largest in the area. There are many grottoes located here, such as the Surprise, Luồn, Virgin and Male grottoes. There is also a concentration of high mountains with vertical cliffs like citadel wall; mountains follow closely make a huge beautiful water colour picture on the sea. There are various species of plants such as Benjamin fig trees, cycads and orchids... and animals are monkeys, deer and chamois. Perhaps, Bồ Hòn Island famous for the grotto system hiding inside it. Each of them has their own marvelous beauty and is related to the moved legends.
Cong Do Island
On the south-east side of Hạ Long Bay, about 25 km from Bãi Cháy Wharf, Cống Ðỏ is in Bái Tử Long Bay in the region which recognized as the World Heritage. It has an area of 23,363 sq. m, and its mountain reaches a peak of 172 m. The island features many lagoons, which are the residence of numerous species of sea-life, such as shrimp, crab, fish, squid and aquatic plants. On the south-west side of the island, there is a wide coral reef displaying a myriad of colors. Coral reef ecosystem is more than 700 m long and 300 m wide. It is preserved almost undamaged. In the future, there are plans for the development of a zone for scuba-diving. On the south-east side of the island, vestiges of the ancient commercial port of Vân Ðồn were discovered. This confirms beliefs that Cống Ðỏ Island once held an important position in terms of foreign trade.
Cong Tay Island
Located in Bai Tu Long Cong Tay Island is a spot in the tour around the Ngoc Vung, Quan Lan islands. It is about 40km from Bai Chay Tourist Wharf and takes 90 minutes from Cam Pha to the island by ordinary ship and 30 minutes by express ship. Cong Tay Island is compared with the Cinderella in a fairy tale. Cam Pha Coal, Construction and Wharf Company built the site into a destination for sigh-seeing and relaxation at weekend. Near the beach is a network of all-conveniences rest houses and restaurants. From the rest houses you can go to the beach on a red brick paved road lined on the two sides by straight rows of coconuts. You can relax by lying on a hammock under the shade of coconut while having a view of the sea or reading books. Cong Tay has becoming an attractive tourist destination. Rest houses and service facilities are being updated and completed to cater to the needs of tourists.
Dau Be Island
On the south-east side of Hạ Long Bay, Ðầu Bê Island is 500 m from Hang Trai Island to the east, and 28 km from the Bãi Cháy Tourist Wharf, in an archipelago comprised between the Trà Ngư and Ðá Lẻ islands outside Hạ Long Bay (seaport of Lan Hạ Bay). It has an area of 22,863 sq. m, and its highest peak reaches 139 m. When speaking of the island, it is impossible not mention to Ba Hâm Lake, a famous spot which people had known long time ago.
Ngoc Vung Island
Ngọc Vừng, or Gem Island, is a pretty site sitting between the Nét Islet and Phượng Hoàng (Phoenix) Island, in the Vân Ðồn District. From above, Ngọc Vừng looks like a beautiful velvet handkerchief with exquisite white edgings; it seems to float on the water surface. On the east side of the island there is a kilometers-beach with pure white sand. At the center is a luxuriant Benjamin fig tree; it was under this tree that Hồ Chí Minh stood and conversed with the population in 1962 during a visit.
Formerly, under the feudal dynasties, this island zone contained a great quantity of rare and precious species of mother-of-pearls. At night, fluorescent pearls would light up the whole region. So there are several islands having name “Ngọc” such as Ngọc Vừng (dazzling pearl), Minh Châu (Ngọc Châu)...
During the war against the US, the island belonged to a front of outward islands that served as protection for the eastern waterways.
It is also on the beach that many stone artifacts were discovered in 1937, opening a string of excavations and archaeological research aiming at providing some explanations of the mysteries of the ancient Hạ Long culture.
Quan Lan Island
Quan Lạn Island belongs to Bái Tử Long Bay; part of an island range on the outside of the gulf of Bắc Bộ. It has an area of 11 sq. km, and features eight populated hamlets. Quan Lạn Island stretch toward East – West from the foot of Vân Đồn Range to the Gót Mount with many high mountains to the east barring waves and winds, protect the villages. The island is situated on an important navigation route that connects China, Japan, Thailand and Philippines to Vietnam. Along two sides of the island are tens kilometers of sand beaches. This is the endless resource for glass making which the sea gives to man and it is also the extremely interesting tourism
Since the 11th century, Quan Lạn had been one of the centres of the ancient commercial port of Vân Ðồn, which was animated and prosperous at the time. Today, there are still many vestiges linked to the ancient commercial port.
This also explains why the island, lying deep in the sea, has the large pagodas and archaeological sites seen today. On the island there is the Quan Lạn Communal House built in the 18th century; exceedingly beautiful and almost entirely preserved. Next to it is Quan Lạn Pagoda (Linh Quang Tự), which is dedicated to Buddha and God Liêu Hạnh.
The pagoda also worships the statue of old Hậu, a local person who made lots of contributions to the construction of the pagoda. The statue features a gentle and cheerful old woman, which adds an original character to the pagoda. Beside Quan Lạn Pagoda lies Nghè Quan Lạn (Ðức Ông) Shrine, which is dedicated to Phạm Công Chính, a local people who participated in the historical Vân Ðồn battle against the Yuan invaders. He was later honored as a god. Quan Lạn has many valuable sea products such as octopuses, butterfish, mackerel, holothurian, shrimp, and sái sùng.
Tuan Chau Island
Ha Long, one of the World Heritages, comprises thousands of big and small islands. Each one has its own characteristic with various caves: Sung Sot Cave,Thien Cung Cave, Trinh Nu Cave. Tuan Chau Island is the only soil island of all. It is not only a place having beautiful natural surroundings: pine trees, lakes, beautiful beach…but also where President Ho Chi Minh chose to be the relax place of other State officials' and his when they came here in 1959.
On the total area of 400 ha, Tuan Chau has the population of 1500. As planned, the total area of Tuan Chau will be widening to 675 ha. It enjoys the advantage of having both road and river transportations. It is about 18 km away from National Highway No.1. This route is an important blood vessel of the robust Hanoi – Hai Phong – Quang Ninh economic triangle. It takes about 3 hours from Mong Cai ( 2 hours by boat) and 1 hour from Hai Phong.
Tuan Chau island’s name is the combination between ‘linh tuan’ (the patrolman) and ‘tri chau’ (district chief) because in the feudal time, the royal army set up a guard station here to patrol and defend the borderland. Prior to 1999, the island's residents suffered from a very modest living standard. There were no power network and no clean water. Roads were only trails and there was no mechanical means of transportation. Tuan Chau was a very poor town where fishing with very rudimentary tools is the only means of living.
The first project of great significance was to link Tuan Chau and the National Highway No18 by building a road. The work was officially started on February 28th, 1998. All company staff had to overcome numerous hardships to achieve this difficult task, which translated people’s dream into reality.
Tuan Chau has become well- known to both international and domestic tourists as an attractive destination with:
- a dolphin & seal club
- a circus
- a crocodile club
- an (artificial) beach with 4 km long.
- a Vietnamese culinary area
- a hotel and resort area of 5-star standard (200 rooms)
- a water recreation park with activities such as motor racing, canoeing, parachuting, water skiing, etc.
- Ha Long Bay sight- seeing services by canoe, boat, helicopter.
- a high tech water fountain with music playing, laser lighting and film projecting on water screens.
The Vang Island
The Vang Island is an eco-tourist complex situated in the area of Bai Tu Long bay, about 13 km from Cam Pha. Investments are being poured into the site. The beaches in the island are small but clean and charming. In the future a system of rest houses and tourist services will be built to meet the demands of tourists for relaxation during weekends.
Ti Top Island
Situated about 7-8 km south-east of Bãi Cháy lies the small Ti Tốp Island. It displays a beach shaped like a crescent moon, and sand that has been washed to a snowy white by the tide. On 22 November 1962, this tiny island had the honor of receiving a visit from astronaut Ghermann Ti Tốp, a hero of the former Soviet Union, accompanied by Hồ Chí Minh. To perpetuate the remembrance of their visit, Uncle Hồ named the place Ti Tốp Island. It has now become an attractive beach for tourists and has several of tourist services. Thirty-five years afterwards, on 27 June 1997, Ti Tốp returned to the island having his name. Deeply moved, he wrote in the souvenir book of the Management Board of Hạ Long Bay: "My deepest thanks to destiny, which has allowed me to come back to this tiny island.” It has become a beach attracting many visitors
Rều Island lies just 500 m from the tourist boats wharf. The Hoàng Gia International Joint Venture is implementing a project to turn the island into a resort complex with many kinds of services. At present, the island has a lot species of animals, including many rare ones. Rều Island is fast changing into an interesting holiday resort.
Explore Pearl Farms in Ha Long Bay
The pearl farm where people visit is owned by Ha Long Pearl Join Stock Company, who developed pearl handicraft from a traditional sea product to a valuable item.
The pearl farm is located in an isolated water area named Tung Sau, surrounded by undulating limestone islands. The pearl growing and handicraft system has been based on Vietnamese traditional experience and Japanese technology.
Visiting pearl farm, tourists witness the whole process to make a valuable pearl and expensive jewelry from the first step of growing and harvesting pearl from Ha Long Bay. Most of them are very surprised by the magical process to create the beautiful jewelry from the skillful hands of artisans. This is really a very interesting visit because not many people understand how the white and bright pearls are created. There are cages growing oysters in the water. Locals have many secret experiences in growing the oysters to have big and round pearls. Tourists can even observe the artisans working on their pearls after they are harvested from the water. They do sophisticated technique with their many specialized tools to create a perfect pearl. All are handmade in very intricate level. When watching the complete pearls in the same size, we cannot recognize the raw pearls when they are in the oysters anymore.
Quang Ninh Museum
Constructed and built just in 2013, the Quang Ninh Museum is the modern and stylish representation of what Ha Long was and what it is about in the present.
Designed by a Spanish architect, Mr. Salvador Perez Arroyo, Quang Ninh Museum is located on an area of nearly 24,000 square meters with unique architecture, charming space and plenty of valuable artifacts. The project has 3 blocks connected together by an overhead bridge system. Inspired by the iconic coal, a typical mineral of Quang Ninh Province, the work is a symbol on the most beautiful coastal road in Ha Long City. Especially, the building is assembled with 14,000 square meters of glasses that can be resistant to temperature changes. Thanks to bold architecture, the building is like a giant mirror reflecting the image of the world natural heritage Ha Long Bay.
As soon as entering the first floor of the museum, tourists will have the chance to admire a whale skeleton and sailboat models. This floor features tubular displaying columns made from modern materials such as steel frame, tempered glasses and especially the fabric covered with images of islands in Ha Long Bay combined with light projection technology creating water effects to make visitors feel like walking in a shrink space of Ha Long Bay. The second floor is designed similar to a wooden boat in order to introduce Quang Ninh Province through centuries of prehistory, proto-history, Bach Dang victory, Vietnam wars and Truc Lam Yen Tu Buddhism culture. In the third floor, tourists will visit spaces displaying economic achievements, cultural identities and cultural characteristics of Quang Ninh ethnics; images of visits of Uncle Ho Chi Minh to Quang Ninh in the past; and artifacts used in mining operations. All will help visitors experiencing the mineral industry in a realistic way.
Besides the museum building, the library is designed in a modern style, in which the first floor is used for storage purpose with over 100,000 books of all fields. The first floor consists of conference rooms, rooms for children, a screening room, a theater and a coffee shop. The second floor is composed of synthetic reading rooms, reading rooms for the disabled, and a synthetic warehouse with over 200,000 books. Connected with famous attractions in Quang Ninh such as Bai Tho Mountain, Tran Quoc Nghien Shrine, Long Tien Pagoda, Hong Gai church, Halong Marine Plaza, and especially Halong heritage, Quang Ninh Museum is considered as one of indispensible attractions in Halong tours. Currently, Quang Ninh Library and Museum opens from 9 am to 11h30 and 2 pm to 6 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. The work is contributing to the promotion and development of Quang Ninh tourism.
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