Ha Long Bay

8 Must-Visit Places in Ha Long Bay for a Rejuvenating Vacation

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Amidst the crystal blue waters, towering karst limestone pillars, and small islets of different shapes, resides the ethereal beauty of Vietnam – the Ha Long Bay. A mesmeric natural wonder near the Chinese border in the northern region of Vietnam, this place has around 1,600 islands and islets of limestone. It sprawls across an area of 1,500 square km; this beauty was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. There are some of the most extraordinary places to visit in Vietnam and Ha Long Bay is one of them; it makes tourists and even local visitors feel like the view is right out of a movie scene. Featuring a wide variety of biodiversity and surreal sceneries, this place turns your amazing vacation into an even more amazing one. The entry to the bay is through the Ha Long city. You can rent a car or take the minibus or bus from Hanoi city. The distance from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay is around 170-km away.

To explore the bay, the most preferred way is via a cruise or boats that go on a day trip. The experience is just marvellous as you can laze around on the cruises or boats while enjoying the breathtaking beauties of the limestone islands and islets. That said, there are some cruises from Ha Long Bay that drop the tourists off at the islands, where they can explore the beauties closely. Halong Bay has many floating villages, where you can interact with the locals, try the local dishes, buy artefacts, and much more. Apart from this, if you have a knack for adventurous water activities, you can consider kayaking near and around the limestone pillars. There are some caves that you can explore by kayaking; so, it is quite recommended. Listed below are some of the attractions in Ha Long Bay that you have to visit without fail: –

1. Sung Sot Cave

Known as ‘Cave of Marvels’, the Sung Sot is one of the largest and most beautiful caves in Halong Bay. It was discovered by the French and is very captivating to the eyes. It has some unusual rock formations that include a Buddha, a tortoise, and a phallus, which is illuminated by coloured lights. One of the most interesting facts of this Halong Bay cave is that the interior is magnificent and there are many stalactites and stalagmites formations as well.

2. Cat Ba Island

One of the most popular islands, located in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam is the Cat Ba Island. It is a popular tourist destination that has a plethora of hotels, restaurants, and mesmeric beaches, where you can enjoy and relax all day long. The island offers adventurous activities like swimming, kayaking, diving, trekking, snorkelling, and much more. You can also undertake caving and rock climbing activities on Cat Ba Island. Locals usually come here for fishing and if your luck is good, you can too try and catch a fish during your Halong bay tour. Despite the crowd and tourists visiting Cat Ba Island in large numbers, the beaches of the island are extremely clean and serene.

3. Virgin Cave

Also known as ‘Hang Trinh Nu’, this cave is yet another famous place to visit in Halong Bay. You must be wondering why is it called the ‘Virgin Cave’, right? Well, it has a fascinating but heartbreaking story – centuries ago, there lived a gorgeous young girl in Ha Long Bay, whom a rich old Maldarian man wanted to marry. She refused to marry the old man and then committed suicide at the spot of the cave. When you go inside the Virgin Cave, you will find a stone statue of a young girl with her long hair open in the middle. The Virgin Cave is considered a symbol of eternal love in the history of Halong Bay.

4. Dau Be Island

Known for its diverse flora like the palm trees, banyans, orchids; for fauna like the flying squirrels, golden monkeys – the Dau Be Island is a must-visit when in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. The island is also famous for the Ba Ham Lake, which consists of three ocean basins and a narrow cave that is filled with strangely shaped stalactites and stalagmites. The marine life on the island is dazzling and those who have a knack for snorkelling will fall in love with this place. Three inland lakes are filled with gorgeous corals; you can go for a swim or just explore the region on a boat during the Halong Bay tour. 

5. Dong Thien Cung Cave

One of the largest caves in this Vietnam bay, the Dong Thien Cung cave is also known as ‘Heaven Cave’ as it is considered to be a natural wonder. The cave is outstandingly beautiful and adorns magnificent stalactites and stalagmites that are shaped like birds, fishes, etc., and illuminated with fluorescent lights. The heavenly beauty of this Halong Bay cave is amplified by the three small but lovely ponds; you can click some insta-worthy pictures here for your gram feed.

6. Ti Top Island

Named after the Russian astronaut, Gherman Titov – the Ti Top Island is one of the most attractive islands in Ha Long Bay. Consisting of picturesque beaches, organised with chairs, beverage stalls, souvenir shops, and more – the beach is where you can spend some quality time with your loved ones or simply relax on your own. The island comprises the Ti Top Mountain, from the peak of which you can enjoy the panoramic view of the beautiful Halong Bay in Vietnam – it is a sight to behold. Other than this, you can also go for a swim, kayak, or snorkelling session here.

7. Hon Trong Mai

If you look at the Halong Bay map, you will know why Hon Trong Mai or Hon Ga Choi is one of the unique and most photographed pairs of islets in the region. The island is also called ‘Fighting Cocks’ island and contains a 12-metre long rock formation that looms over the water. The sunrise and sunset here are not to be missed. When the sun rays fall on the water, layering it with the beautiful hues of reds and oranges – the sight in front of you will be nothing less than mystical. Make sure to include this place in your Vietnam tour package.

8. Bai Tu Long Bay

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, an extension of the Ha Long Bay – the Bai Tu Long Bay is not to be skipped when you are in Vietnam. Located 30 km away from Ha Long Bay, in the North-Eastern region of the country, the Bai Tu Long Bay is full of limestone karsts, teal blue waters, and majestic cruises. However, this place is not as crowded as Ha Long Bay; so if you want to spend time alone, away from the hustles and bustles, Bai Tu Long Bay is for you. It has a national park, the Bai Tu Long National Park, which is the home to many colourful birds and butterfly species.

One of the best ways to explore both Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay is through cruises. You can book the Halong Bay cruise package at a good price online. Vietnam in itself is a beautiful place that the world is lucky to have. The people, the culture, the picturesque views, and the lip-smacking cuisine – everything about Vietnam is warm and interesting. And with Ha Long Bay in the picture, things get even better. So enjoy your vacation there and make sure to visit the listed places.

Travel Guide, Vietnam

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