Location: borders Cam Pha to the east, the Yen Hung District to the west, the Hoanh Bo District to the north and Ha Long Bay to the south with the coastline of 20km.
Access: three hours by car from Hanoi,
Main attractions: Ha Long Bay, a world heritage site with spectacular limestone formations, caves and beaches. Bai Tu Long Bay, about 60km from Ha Long, a new destination with the little-known beauty.
Ha Long City, formerly the Hon Gai Town, is the cultural, economic and political centre of Quang Ninh Province. The city is divided into two parts: East Ha Long and West Ha Long. The eastern part is an industrial zone where most of the province’s official buildings are also concentrated. The western part, also called amalgamating Bai Chay, a tourist area, with the much larger industrial and commercial area of Hong Gai, bustling with life, and is a good example of Vietnam’s emerging industrial cities. A stroll around the market and port is pleasant and informative. The most worth-visiting natural is Bai Tho (‘Poem’) Mountain, whose limestone peak is unexpectedly rich in bio-diversity and offers stunning views of the bay and the red backs of sea eagles swooping below. In addition, the city also bears religious significance with two attractive temples, one on each side of the mountain, and other temples, pagodas as well as historical relics.
Ha Long Bay
Halong Bay, 170km from Hanoi, means "Bay of the Descending Dragon" in the Vietnamese language. Ha Long Bay is one of the most magnificent scenic spots in all of Vietnam and was designated by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage in 1994.
It is a picturesque bay consisting of a dense cluster of 1969 limestone islets rising spectacularly from the clear emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, each topped with thick jungle vegetation. Washed by water and lapped by waves for hundreds of thousands of years, the bay owns mystical qualities and surrealistic scenery as the limestone basin has been carved into stalactic caves, crescent beaches with bizarre and awesome formations. Some of the famous creations are: Man’s Head Island, Dragon Island, Pair of Roosters Island, Incense Burner Island, Bell Island, Elephant Island, Wooden Stakes Cave, Pelican Cave, Virgin Cave, Cave of Awe, and so on… which all astonishingly resemble their namesake.
Viewed from above, the whole bay looks breathtaking as a splendid geographically works of art. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site's outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its high-concentrated biological diversity with many ecosystems of salt water-flooded forests, coral reefs, and tropical forests featuring thousands of species of animal and plant life.
It has been proven by scientists that Halong was one of the first cradles of human existence in the area at such archeological sites as Dong Mang, Xich Tho, Soi Nhu, and Thoi Gieng. It is also a region of highly-concentrated biological diversity with many ecosystems of salt water-flooded forests, coral reefs, and tropical forests featuring thousands of species of animal and plant life. Reaching the depth of about 20m into the ocean and one can admire the panorama of coral reef field stretching endlessly and colourful flocks of sea creatures.
Amongst the many ways to explore this legendary stone world, kayaking has been emerging as a new, exciting and adventurous way that can lead tourists to the most primary parts of the bay. Staying overnight on the bay is also a favourite of many visitors. One can greet the early morning sunrise on the deck, watching sun light shining on every island, waking up every grotto and gradually covering the whole area. The morning can be spent with a breakfast and a leisurely sunbathing on board, then the afternoon is perfect for some diving, swimming, fishing and even enjoy right away a seafood barbecue on deck. A romantic dinner embraced by one of the most spectacular sunsets in the world will warm up every sense and passion of yours, and the evening will be full of surprise with party on board and night squid fishing.