You are excited for a Halong trip and feeling like a fish out of water and interesting in this tour but you wonder what should be prepared to travel. Hence, I would like to share with you some notes when travelling in Halong Bay as a world natural heritage site.
1. Best time to travel Halong Bay:
Halong Bay is located in the north, there are 4 seasons in a year: spring, summer, autumn and winter. You could visit Halong at any time throughout the year; however, the best would be around from April to October and from December to February. It is cold and foggy in winter, drizzling rain sometime.
2. Prepare luggage:
You need to prepare before traveling things like: sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), shower gel, shampoo, eye drops, sunglasses, swimming goggles, bathing suits, shorts, short-sleeved dress shirt with cool stuffs, hats, sandals or flip-flop
3. Roadmap and Transportation to Halong:
– There are many means of transports for you to choose to go to Halong. It depends on preference and conditions. From Ho Chi Minh City, you can take a train to Hanoi, then go to Halong by coach or take a coach Sai Gon – Hai Phong then go Halong by boat or bus. Weak point is going to take you a lot of time. To save time, you can catch a direct flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi or Haiphong then ride to Ha Long.
– It is 170km from Hanoi to Halong and should take around 3-4 hours drive. At the bus station such as Luong Yen, My Dinh, Gia Lam have high quality coaches for Halong: Kumho Việt Thanh, Đức Phúc… In addition, there is a train Hanoi – Halong starting at Yen Vien station daily at 4:55 am.
– Fare to take a coach from Hanoi to Ha Long around 120,000 VND; motorcycle taxi from the bus station to Bai Chay tourism area is about 25,000 VND per person. If you go to Hon Gai, you can take up to 60,000 VND per person. If your group of 3 or more, you should take a taxi.
4. Good priced hotels in Ha Long:
– You can find many 3-star or 4-star hotels at Bai Chay tourism area. Average prices of 3-star hotels are 700,000 VND/room/night. To book a room easily with inexpensive price, you should come in weekday. At the weekend from Friday to Sunday, there are a lot of tourist come here, therefore, rates are up and full booked.
– Recommending some hotels: Van Hai Hotel (08 Halong street, Bai Chay); Heritage hotel (88 Halong street, Bai Chay), Ha Long Plaza hotel (08 Halong street), Ha Long Dream hotel (10 Halong street); Mithrin hotel (Hung Thang street), Ha Long Pearl hotel (Chay beach); Moon Light (Hung Thang street)…
5. Eating and Restaurant:
There are many restaurants from budget to luxury, from daily dish to excellent seafood for you to choose when visit to Ha Long. Here are some typical restaurant: Yen Nhuan restaurant (Cai Dam, Ha Long); Cua Vang (Golden Crab) restaurant (0333 819 919); Pho Bien restaurant (0333 640 968); Thang Long restaurant (0333 845 916); Tequila restaurant (0983 519 198); Mithrin restaurants inside Mithrin hotel (Hung Thang, Bai Chay); Panorama restaurant (168 Ha Long and Bai Chay); Son Ca restaurant (98 Ben Tau); Bien Xanh (Blue Sea) restaurant (08 Le Thanh Tong); Hai Ninh restaurant (zone 3, Peach Garden-Vuon Dao); Thien Ly restaurant (Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Cua Ong) … If you would like to enjoy Halong seafood specialties, you could try at Sea Food restaurant (Halong street); Thu Huong restaurant (Halong street); Noi Nho restaurant (Tran Hung Dao) …
6. Transportation and visit at Halong:
– To visit the city, you should use taxi: Taxi 886 – Mong Cai (033. 886 886), Ha Long (033. 62 62 62); Hon Gai (033. 84 84 84); Mai Linh (033. 628 628) …
– To visit Halong bay, you could book a reservation through travel agent or at the Bai Chay harbor (033. 846 592); Halong Bay Service Center (033. 844 631)
Price depends on time and type of boat. If traveling in a group of 10-15 people, look out for a small wooden junk. If you are single travelers, you should share junk with other visitors. In this case, hotel staff and travel agent could make it for you. Ticket price depends on route:
+ Route 1 is 80 000 VND/ticket/person: Thien Cung cave – Dau Go Cave – Dog Rock – Ba Hang fishing village – Dinh Huong rock – Fighting Cock rock – Hoa Cuong fishing village
+ Route 2 is 90,000 VND/ticket/person: Sung Sot cave – Ti Top Island (or Soi Sim Island) – Me Cung cave – Fairy Lake Cave (or Drum cave or Virgin cave or Bo Nau cave or Luon cave)
You can visit on the morning or afternoon depending on your schedule.
– Tuan Chau Island: You could swim at Tuan Chau beach or enjoy many performances: Dolphin, Crocodile, and Water Musical…
– At evening, take a walk or take a cyclo or a carriage around Bai Chay and enjoy the sea atmosphere. Price per 1 hour is about 150,000 VND for cyclo and 250,000 VND for carriage.
– It is interesting if standing at the Bai Chay Bridge and look down. You can go up there by lift. Price is 4,000VND/ticket/person.
– Bars along Bay Chay street
– Shopping at Night Market: Selling many kind of souvenirs that you can buy as a gift. Do not forget to bargain before buying anything here.