Halong Bay - World Heritage Site

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, May 26, 2016.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Halong Bay, 170kms from Hanoi, was made a World Heritage site in 1994.


    The bay has a 120 kms coastline, & is approximately 1,500 square kilometres with 1,600 islands & islets.

    These islands form a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars.

    Some of the bigger islands are hollow, with enormous caves,
    GTR - IMG_3723.JPG

    others have lakes, and other islands support floating villages of fisherman.
    GTR - IMG_3740.JPG

    A Halong Bay cruise is a 5-star trip & not to be missed if you’re staying in Hanoi.

    GTR - IMG_3702.JPG

    more to come..

    Last edited: May 26, 2016
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    As the most extensive and best known example of marine-invaded tower karst in the world Ha Long Bay is one of the world’s most important areas of Fengcong (clusters of conical peaks) and Fenglin (isolated tower features) karst.
    Abundant lakes, occupying drowned dolines, are one of the distinctive features of the Fencong karst, with some appearing to be tidal.
    Possessing a tremendous diversity of caves and other landforms derived from the unusual geomorphological process of marine invaded tower karst the caves are of three main types: remnants of phreatic caves; old karstic foot caves and marine notch caves.
    The property also displays the full range of karst formation processes on a very large scale and over a very long period of geological time, possessing the most complete and extensive exzample of its type in the world and providing a unique and extensive reservoir of data for the future understanding of geoclimatic history and the nature of karst processes in a complex environment.
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Ha Long Bay is home to 14 endemic plants and 60 endemic animals.
    Overall surveys have shown that there are 2,949 species of fauna and flora of which 1,259 are inland species, 1,553 are water species, 66 species of reptile and amphibian and 71 bird species.

    Getting out of Hanoi in the traffic & going to to Halong bay you wouldn't believe it would be so rich in wildlife ahead of you.

    Its a long bumpy slog with lines of buses & trucks all negotiating their way along the pathetic highway. It takes 4 hours just for the 170 kms. The mini bus makes one stop on the way at massive souvenir & restaurant centre. On arrival in the bay the you disembark from the bus, carry your bags to the dock beside the boat but aren't allowed to board. Walk along the dock 200 metres, then board a pilot boat to carry you carry back 200 metres to board the boat. Bureaucracry & safety first - what the heck?

    In the marina there are scores, if not hundreds of boats ready to cruise out into the bay for a night or two.

    Some of the boats are pretty impressive, but I'm more than happy with our selection - a small 8 cabin boat with just 12 pax on our tour.

    Scorpion Cruise boat


    A nice compact comfy boat for a romantic cruise
    without a crowd of people on board.
    Compare the above to this
    GTR - IMG_3705.JPG
    imagine being on one of those big crowded boats. Yuk!

    "Madam Champa's" romantic cabin

    Included in your cruise package accommodation + meals + kayaking + a cave visit
    The dining room


    outdoors there was unlimited seafood on the BBQ, sorry no photos.

    Some late night chilling on the open air deck


    a tad more to come.
    scotty007 likes this.
  5. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Wow Looks Great! Must go there one day!
    scotty007 likes this.
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Roughly In the centre of the bay is Bo Hon island with the Sung Sot – Surprise - cave.
    GTR - IMG_3711.JPG

    GTR - IMG_3717.JPG
    This is a huge cave with 2 chambers. The first, outer chamber is rectangular, with a 30metre high ceiling & is sometimes referred to as the waiting room.
    GTR - IMG_3714.JPG

    GTR - IMG_3721.JPG

    The second chamber is nicknamed the “serene castle,” has coloured lights to highlight its beauty & is big enough to be able to hold a few thousand people.
    GTR - IMG_3725.JPG

    GTR - IMG_3726.JPG

    GTR - IMG_3722.JPG

    Confirmation of the cave's capacity to hold a crowd
    GTR - IMG_3710.JPG
    no need to fear being alone in there.

    The view from the mouth of the cave
    GTR - IMG_3707.JPG

    Back on the boat you go & 20 minutes later you are kayaking in peaceful serenity on the emerald waters amongst the magnificent karsts - sadly no photos because no-one took a camera with them kayaking.

    And that's it folks.
    A Halong Bay Cruise. Not on a bike, but still highly recommended. Youve gotta do it - at least once.
    It's not expensive if you hunt around; but for me the trick is to get a small boat, not a cruise ship.
    The agent we used was Dawn at Threeland Travel in Hanoi. Dawn is an old friend of GTR & likes riding motorbikes.
    Check in with her for a good deal.
    The service we had from Threeland over a week was first class & very professional.

    Attached Files:

    scotty007 likes this.
  7. scotty007

    scotty007 Ol'Timer

    Very nice write up David, an enjoyable cruise, a definate must do for Vietnam, what an amazing place Halong Bay, would suggest that if you are going to do it that you take a couple of nights on the cruise, as one night wasn't enough, and as David said stick to a smaller cruise boat.
    DSC01833-large.JPG DSC01825-large.JPG
    Beers n cheers
  8. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Not easy for bikers to be comfortable doing regular tourist stuff but it does look an amzing place. As you say it would have to be a small boat with few people.....
    scotty007 likes this.
  9. hs0zfe

    hs0zfe Ol'Timer

  10. hs0zfe

    hs0zfe Ol'Timer

    scotty007 likes this.
  11. hs0zfe

    hs0zfe Ol'Timer

    I've been riding around Halong Bay for years. There is a hot spring pool in Quang Hanh nearby - at the fuel station on the right, turn right and go up for about 800 meters. It's on the left and costs 25,000 VND for all day use.

    My trusted Suzuki Viva 110 has a 6-digit number on the clock and is still going strong. You can buy a decent step-through for 7-9 million VND at a shop in CAM PHA. (I failed miserably, trying to get a deal elsewhere, TBH. Folks see you and the prices become absurdly high. And they push lousy Chinese copies etc.). It's a genuine recommendation and the shop has been treating me fairly for years.

    I like the step-through bikes for Vietnam. Rode from Uong-Bi to Mong Cai without sore buttocks.
    scotty007 likes this.
  12. hs0zfe

    hs0zfe Ol'Timer

    Halong Bay.jpg

    Having friends who live here makes a difference. I used to work nearby for many moons... From HAN airport, get on the bus#7 and get off at the bus stop by the toll station (the first bus stop). 8,000 VND. Cross the road and get a bus to Cam Pha or Mong Cai. It will pass through Ha Long. You can also get a taxi and pay 50,000 VND.

    Sim cards? You get them every where. Including at the airport. But they will expire after just 1 month without use.

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