I. Cat Ba island’s general information
Cat Ba island is a complex of 367 islands in the Northeast of Vietnam, which belongs to Hai Phong city. The biggest island, Cat Ba, is only about 25 km from the famous Halong Bay. Cat Ba island was recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO on Dec 2nd, 2004. It is the 3rd Biosphere Reserve in Vietnam after Can Gio mangrove forest (Ho Chi Minh city) and Cat Tien National Park (Dong Nai province). While Can Gio is a mangrove forest in the river mouth, Cat Tien is a dry-land forest; Cat Ba features a combination of tropical rainforest on Karst. It has mangrove forests, coral reefs, seagrass beds, especially a system of caves and lagoons. There are white-headed langurs that are endemic to Cat Ba national park. In other words, Cat Ba island fully converges the most typical ecosystems of Vietnam.
II. Best time to go to Cat Ba island
Generally, Cat Ba island’s weather is quite enjoyable all year round, making it an ideal place for outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing.
Taking any month of the year to go to Cat Ba island is up to your choice. Summer is from May to August is high season with hot temperatures. It is also the season of showers but no worries, as the rain will cool you down. During June and August, which is also a school break, Cat Ba island becomes a favorite destination for a family vacation. It is more crowded than other months of the year.
The best time to travel to Cat Ba should be in Autumn (from September to November) and in Spring (from March to May). During the time, the weather is more tolerant, calm and there are not so many tourists in the island.
In order to plan your trip to Cat Ba, it is essential to check the weather forecast beforehand. There are now many weather-forecast websites with high accuracy that help you to plan your trip efficiently.
III. Best attractions to visit in Cat Ba island
Lan Ha bay
Located on the southeast coast of Cat Ba island, Lan Ha bay is adjacent to the famous Halong Bay, with approximately 400 islands and islets covered by plantation. There are also tranquil lagoons and caves with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Geologically, Lan Ha Bay is an extension of Halong bay but stretches in a different province of Hai Phong. As a result, Lan Ha bay is as beautiful as Halong Bay, but visitors will find it more isolated and untouched with the additional attraction of numerous small white-sand beaches. It is accessible to organized cruising and kayaking trips from Cat Ba town.
1. Cat Ba island’s biggest floating village of Cua Van
The floating village of Cua Van (or Van Gia) is in a tranquil area of the sea surrounded by rocks, which is ideal for boats to anchor, especially when storms come. Thanks to the advantage, it has attracted many fishers to go and stay, making the village one of the biggest floating villages in the bay. There used to be more than 300 households with over 700 people living in the fishing village whose houses are close to each other. The children are taught by their parents how to row a boat and swim at a quite young age.
Since 2014, due to the local committee’s decision, most of the fishermen in floating villages have moved to the mainland for a more stable and safer life. Therefore, Van Gia fishing village now consists of only 12 rafts, including classrooms, cultural houses, and some new rafts suitable for fishers. They want to protect the environment for the famous natural heritage Ha Long Bay in general and the oldest fishing village in the world in particular.
2. Viet Hai village
Viet Hai village has become an ecotourism place thanks to the village’s peaceful beauty and villagers’ friendliness. It is a small valley nestled in Cat Ba National Park in an isolated location, which keeps it a typical traditional village in the Northern countryside of Vietnam. It’s one of the most visited places on any Cat Ba tour or by cruises in Lan Ha Bay.
Cycling tours from a pier in Lan Ha Bay through the jungle to the center of the village is an incredible experience for any nature lover. You will go under the forest canopy with a fantastic view of this scenic island.
Another perfect activity is to go trekking in Cat Ba National Park. From Viet Hai village, it takes you an hour to reach the Viet Hai peak. The 1-hour hike is quite tough, but the reward is big. Being the second highest peak in Cat Ba National Park, Viet Hai peak offers a gorgeous panoramic view of both Lan Ha Bay and Ha Long Bay. For trekking lovers, you can enjoy a 4-hour trekking route from Cat Ba National headquarter that is 20 minutes drive from Cat Ba town. The trek is strenuous as you go up and down several rocky hills through the primary forest.
3. Nam Cat island
Nam Cat island is a small island in Lan Ha Bay, about 5km southeast of Cat Ba wharf of Cat Ba town. It owns a beach about 500m long, wide and surrounded by many small islands creating a beautiful natural landscape of the islands. The island is under the management of Cat Ba National park. They offer overnight facilities for tourists, including six bungalows and three big dormitory sharing houses. From the Beo pier on the main island, it takes you 15 minutes to get to the island by boat, and then you can enjoy your time here.
4. Cat Ba’s Hospital Cave
Hospital Cave is located on Cat Ba island, next to the private road across the island, about 13 km from Cat Ba town. It was a secret bomb shelter hospital during the American War and a safe house for Viet Cong (VC) leaders on Cat Ba island. Built from 1963 to 1965 (with assistance from China), this incredibly well-constructed three-story engineering feat was actively used until 1975. This cave is about 10km north of Cat Ba Town, on the road to Cat Ba National Park entrance.
The cave traverses 17 rooms, including an old operating room (complete with patient mannequins) and a large natural cave used as a cinema (and even had its own small swimming pool).
5. Trung Trang cave
Located in Trung Trang valley, Trung Trang Cave is 15 km northwest of Cat Ba town. It is a narrow cave with a length of over 300 m. Over millions of years of geological tectonics, this cave owns thousands of natural stalactites with unique shapes, evoking visitors’ imagination. Throughout the cave, visitors will come to a cave cavity with stalactites glistening under the dim lights.
Trung Trang Cave has an ecosystem in the mysterious darkness inhabited by many creatures such as birds, bats, reptiles, and insects. The National Park uses a simple lighting system in the cave to preserve the characteristics of the ecological environment in the cave. The fuzzy virtual space has helped visitors to have an exciting experience.
At the end of the journey to explore more than 300 m of Trung Trang cave is a towering cave with many cubes as beautiful sculptures of nature. From here, visitors will enter a lush green space with many ancient trees and vines. Trung Trang Cave is often a highlight of the trekking journey in Cat Ba National Park. In general, it is also featured in the program of many cruises on Lan Ha Bay.
6. Cat Ba island’s Canon fort
Canon fort with two big canons was built in the 1920s by Vietnam Army on the island, which offers a beautiful view to Lan Ha Bay.
7. Ngu Lam peak
Another excellent viewpoint is the Ngu Lam peak, an ideal destination for adventurous travelers who want to see Cat Ba from above. At the altitude of 225m, it is one of the highest peaks in Cat Ba, giving you an overview of the island and island life. The whole picture of Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, is captured in your sight with the sea, islands, forests, and floating villages on the sea, gentle and peaceful. The steep trekking route from the mountain foot takes you about 1 hour to conquer, and you won’t feel regret.
8. Beaches in Cat Ba island
The sophisticated beaches Cat Co 1, 2, 3
Three famous beaches attract the most tourists when traveling to Cat Ba island. The common point of all three is not big and surrounded by green mountains, gentle waves, clear water, and little wind. They are connected by a small wooden bridge along the mountainside, which makes the scenery romantic. Cat Co 1 is the most bustling and fun atmosphere thanks to clear water, wide sandy beach. Those who like a quieter area will find Cat Co 2 beach more suitable. The beach of Cat Co 3 is less traveled than Cat Co 1 & 2 because it is quite deep and wavy, which is ideal for good swimmers. However, the tide will come up quickly around 6.30 PM, so you are not advised to swim here after the time.
Tung Thu beach
About 2km away from the center of Cat Ba town, visitors will reach Tung Thu beach, which has been opened since mid-2010. In Cat Ba island, Tung Thu beach is set up based on international standards with an outdoor stage on the beach, designed according to a unique concept. Tourists will find it more modern and fun once they come here.
Cat Dua beach on Monkey island
Cat Dua beach in Monkey island, which is about 1km long with clear water, could be found in the middle of the beautiful Lan Ha bay. To get here, tourists need to take a boat trip from Cat Ba town’s pier for about half an hour. There is also a small beach called “Cat Dua 2” which is smaller but more private and worth to visit thanks to its well-equipped facilities.
Van Boi beach
Located on a small island facing the island of Like Rua in Lan Ha Bay, Van Boi beach attracts summer tourists with all the beauty of a young girl in Spring. Unlike the bustle in Cat Co beach, Van Boi beach still retains its wild and natural charm. Small Van Boi Beach, enclosing a protruding part of a cliff, provides visitors with a quiet white sandy beach and shallow clear seawater. The water is so clear that you can see the bottom of the sand or bragging coral reefs and enjoy a few rays of sunlight shining down a large area in waves.
VI. What to do in Cat Ba island
1. Sight-seeing boat trip in Lan Ha Bay
Lan Ha Bay in Cat Ba also includes islands protruding from the sea and many cave systems that share similarities to Ha Long Bay. However, many tourists believe that visiting Lan Ha Bay is more interesting because the scenery here retains more wild features than in Ha Long Bay. You can arrange a half-day cruise for approximately 4 hours deep into Lan Ha bay to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. During the cruise, you can also combine visiting the fishing village or trying a kayaking trip on the beautiful bay of Hai Phong.
2. Swimming in one of Lan Ha Bay’s deserted beaches
Get yourself a cruise for a more in-depth exploration of Lan Ha bay, and you’ll reach deserted beautiful small beaches on islands’ feet such as Van Boi, Nam Cat, Ba Trai Dao (Three Peaches), etc. Those beaches have similarities of white sandy beaches, clear water, and less used by travelers.
3. Rock climbing
It is a type of adventure tourism that attracts adventurous tourists when coming to Cat Ba. The island offers dozens of climbing points on islands in Lan Ha Bay, such as Hang Ca, Nam Cat island, Ba Trai, etc., or on the mainland of Cat Ba town. The rocky cliffs, the feeling of conquering the cliffs is always a sport that brings strong feelings to visitors.
Among the climbing spots, visitors should choose one of the three places that are invested quite professionally with instructors, specialized climbing gears, ensuring safety for visitors.
The first is the valley climbing point in Lien Minh village, which is about 5 km from the center of Cat Ba town.
The second is the climbing spot on Tien Ong Island, located in Lan Ha bay, about 1 hour and 30 minutes by boat from Cat Ba tourist resort. The place offers eight climbing routes, which are easily accessible even at high tide. The topography and sea depth here are suitable for free-sea climbing. For those who love adventure, this is the ideal climbing point with low cliffs, simple climbing routes with an island with a small cave, and the rest is a cliff with large stalactites.
The last one is a newly-operated spot located in the center of Cat Ba town – Ang Tre mountain climbing point. This place is surrounded by green trees and steep green cliffs suitable for the climbing experience. It has three climbing paths, and the lowest is 7m, the highest is 23m with the terrain from easy to difficult.
4. Try Fresh seafood tasting at one of the floating restaurants
Cat Ba island is a marine tourist area, so the delicious dishes and famous specialties in Lan Ha Bay are main dishes made from seafood such as lobster, sea crab, seaweed, mussels at different types. Try yourself at one of the floating restaurants in Cat Ba island is also a pleasant experience. The fish farms underneath the restaurant are lively with fresh sea creatures ready for many delicious dishes for visitors to enjoy, such as Fried crab with salt, sea sam grilled, baked lobster with egg sauce, and wine-poached lobster, grilled shrimp, steamed shrimp, etc.
5. Kayaking in Lan Ha Bay
It is easy to hire a boat for a half-day cruise to see Lan Ha bay’s beauty with hundreds of Karst islands and islets. Be prepared with swimwear and ready to paddle in a quiet, tranquil area to learn more about the rocks’ formation.
6. Bike cycling to Viet Hai village
From Cat Ba town, it takes you about 1 hour by boat then hop on a bike to cycle for about 5km to visit the peaceful village of Viet Hai. The cycling route covers a long shady path along the coastal line and tunnel through the mountain.
7. Trekking in Cat Ba National Park
The National Park offers you a few trekking routes that one may select to fit their needs through the jungle. Below are the popular:
Cat Ba National Park to Viet Hai village: It’s a 4-hour tough trek followed by a 45-minute gentle walk from the village to the boat pier. You’ll need to catch a boat trip to return to Cat Ba island.
V. How to get to Cat Ba
From Hai Phong city to Cat Ba island
By Ferry: It is easy to get to Cat Ba from Hai Phong by taking the hydrofoil at Binh pier. It takes 45 minutes to get to the center of Cat Ba island.
By road: From Hai Phong city, follow the highway to Dinh Vu and continue to Cat Hai island on the new bridge. From the Got pier, you can either take the ferry to Cat Ba island or using the cable cars to Phu Long. It’s a brand-new cable car by Sun group, which has been in operation since May 2020. Its ticket booth is in Cat Hai station, which is close to the Got pier.
By bus: there are many options for the bus companies for you to choose from. They include Good Morning Cat Ba, Cat Ba Express, Daiichi Travel, Full Moon, Cat Ba Discovery, etc. All of the buses are equipped with comfortable seats, water, and wet tissues. These buses depart daily with three or four turns a day. Each of the turns is 2.5 to 3.5 hours apart. The earliest bus at 7.30 AM; and the latest is between 2.00 PM and 2.30 PM. The bus will pick you up in the Old Quarter area in Hanoi for a direct drive to the center of Cat Ba Island. The bus runs on the Hanoi- Hai Phong Highway to Got pier in Hai Phong. After getting off the bus in Got pier, you will take the ferry, or high-speed boat to Cai Vieng harbors in Cat Ba. From Cai Vieng, you will continue using the bus to Cat Ba town.
By train: Get a train ticket to Hai Phong station for about 2.5 hours. From Hai Phong City, follow our guide on how to get to Cat Ba from Hai Phong city above. This option will be quite attractive for those who like local experiences. Every day, there are four turns from Hanoi to Hai Phong. They ar6.00 a.m. a9.17 a.m. a3.20 p.m. p.m.,6.15 p.m5 p.m.
By cable car from Ben Got pier (Cat Hai island) to Phu Long (Cat Ba island): The longest cable car in Vietnam is Cat Ba cable car, which is 21km long. Since May 2020, the first part from Ben Got pier (Cat Hai island) to Phu Long (Cat Ba island) has been put into operation with ticket price at 150,000 VND (approx. 6.50 USD)
From Saigon or Danang:
It’s easy to fly from Saigon or Danang to Cat Bi airport in Hai Phong then follow our guide above.
From Halong Bay – Halong City:
You can take a 45-minute ferry trip from Tuan Chau (Quang Ninh province) to Gia Luan. Then get yourself a transfer to the center of the town for about 20 minutes. Please note that the last ferry leaves Tuan Chau at 3.00 PM.
Your trip to Vietnam might not be completed if you are yet to visit Ha Long Bay – one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Let’s check out why it’s worth visiting this bay with these 29 best things to do in Ha Long Bay and city, Vietnam!
1. Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave)
Sung Sot Cave should be on top must-visit destinations when you are in Ha Long Bay. It is the largest and also the most renowned, the most visited cave of all. The cave is around 1000 square meters consisting of thousands of stalagmites and stalactites. As the typical karst caves, Sung Sot has high scientific value as well. Located in Bo Hon Island, the center of Ha Long Bay, the cave is covered with a layer of countless “light beams” hung with glittering stalactites, “velvet carpet”, and stone statues. For such values, Sung Sot Cave is one of the favorite places to visit in Ha Long Bay.
2. Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island is the largest island in Ha Long Bay. It is home to plenty of hotels, restaurants, and bars. Located off the coast of Hai Phong City, it has clean beaches (named Cat Co 1 and Cat Co 2) which are ideal for sunbathing and swimming during the summer. And if you are not a fan of crowds, you can go to Monkey Island where the beaches are cleaner and quieter, and you can rent a kayak or charter a speedboat there.
3. Dau Be Island and National Park
Dau Be Island is famous for Ba Ham Lake which is a system consisting of 3 big ocean basins. Inside the cave, there are many stalactites on the ceiling which create odd shapes and dimensions. The island is home to many species of orchids, banyans, and palm trees. There are also many gold monkeys, bats, flying squirrels, birds, and flowers blooming throughout the year.
4. Me Cung Cave
Me Cung Cave (or Maze Cave), as fanciful and appealing as its name, is one of many famous attractions in Ha Long Bay. The entrance looks like a house roof that carves deep into the slopes of the island. Inside, you may get the feeling as if you are entering in a great palace of a Persian King.
With the light shining from the outer, the sparkling stalactites make the cave shimmer like in paradise. Besides, the blue waters of Me Cung lake inside the cave also create the picturesque beauty of nature.
5. Monkey Island
Monkey Island is a famous popular tourist attraction and most of the tours encourage visitors to visit this island. It is an ideal destination for swimming in the blue water. And, the existence of many monkeys is of course the highlight of Monkey Island. Here, the visitors will have chances to take photos or frisk with monkeys on boughs comfortably. Apart from the monkeys, the bungalows on the island will provide tourists with unforgettable moments.
6. Virgin Cave (Hang Trinh Nu)
Virgin Cave or Hang Trinh Nu has probably the most moving legend about love behind its name. Inside the cave, you can find a shrine which is dedicated to the woman who is a symbol of pure and eternal love. Legend apart, the cave is a beautiful and ideal stopover for any Ha Long luxury cruise. Entering the entrance located at the foot of a cliff, you will go through the tunnels of the cave which reaches the middle of the island about 2 km long.
7. Lan Ha Bay
Located to the south of Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha spreads over an area of more than 7000 ha. The bay reserves pristine scenery which has an intense concentration of limestone mountains. There are hundreds of beautiful, small beaches lying at the feet of mountains so there is no problem to find a good spot for an overnight camp or organizing a private beach BBQ. After a long day of exploration, Lan Ha Bay is truly a good place to relax.
8. Dau Go Island
Seemingly floating on the emerald water, Dau Go Island or Wooden Head Island, is a popular name among Ha Long tourist attractions which is famed for Dau Go Cave – a spectacular cave. The cave, from afar, looks like a jellyfish with a 90-step staircase. Discovering the inner beauty of the cave is a wonderful thing to do because it is extremely mysterious and surprising. You will feel like you are lost in a fairy-tale place that brings incredibly beautiful scenery.
9. Bai Tu Long Bay
Located in the East of Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay is an off-the-beaten-track destination that is outstanding with the beauty of karsts and limestone mountains. In Bai Tu Long Bay, you can kayak in Vung Vieng Fishing Village, snorkel in Ban Chan Beach, relax in Ang Du area, and learn the history of Thien Canh Son cave.
10. Poem Mountain (Nui Bai Tho)
Poem Mountain (Bai Tho Mountain) has got its name since 1268 when King Le Thanh Tong carved a poem on a cliff at the mountain. Thanks to the mountain side which overlooks the bay, Poem Mountain is the most ideal viewing spot in Ha Long Bay. Standing on the mountain and looking down, you will understand why the bay is called Ha Long. The air in this area is cool throughout the year so you can visit it whenever you want. It is where you can see hundreds of different plants growing on cliffs, enjoy melodious birdsong, and play with the goats grazing on the slopes.
11. Cua Van Floating Village
Cua Van is the largest fishing village in Ha Long bay which is situated at Hung Thang commune. The village lies in a calm bay surrounded by islets and limestone mountains. It is home to 733 people who mainly live by fishing. The fishing families all live on little floating houses which are anchored in the protected bay. Cua Van is voted as one of the most 15 beautiful fishing villages in the world. And it is an ideal place to get to know the daily life of fishermen who will teach you how to make fishing trap and fishing net.
12. Ti Top Island
Located about 14 kilometers from Bai Chay tourist harbor, Ti Top island is famous for a crescent moon shaped beach which has beautiful still blue waters and tranquility. Thanks to the calm waters and immaculate white sands, the beach is perfect for water-based activities like swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. There is also a bar where you can rent all kinds of swim gear or stop for a drink if you want.
13. Tuan Chau Island
Covered by pine forests, Tuan Chau Island consists of multiple sloping hills and two man-made beaches with white and fine sand. It is a memorial site as President Ho Chi Minh used to spend his holidays there. The island has many attractions like animal circus club, performing-seal club, cultural-sports center, a rural market, villas, and an ornamental fish lake,… It also offers plenty of activities for tourists such as Jet Ski, sea fishing, and canoe parachute,…
14. Quan Lan Island
In the 11th century, Quan Lan used to be in the middle of an important trade route between Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and China. Now it looks like a sleepy island more than a busy port. Despite being inhabited by locals, Quan Lan’s scenery remains mostly untouched with beautiful forest areas and 3 long white sandy beaches. It is also a great place for sampling local seafood thanks to the abundance of butterfish, mackerel, squid, and shrimp in the waters.
15 Activities & Things to Do in Ha Long Bay
1. Have Overnight on Board
Suggested for: those who want to get a brand new overnight experience
Why: An overnight on board is the best way to enjoy Ha Long Bay. You can look to experience the ordinary life of a fisherman at its purest. Friendly and hospitable locals will show you to cast a fishing net, paddle your own rowing boat, and go fishing like a real deal. Moreover, you can enjoy its famous seafood such as crabs, sea clams, and prawns.
2. Visit Cannon Fort
Suggested for: those who wish to take in the best of Cat Ba Island view
Why: From a place of vantage, you can see rolling hills, bobbing fishing boats, and karst formation which juts out of the sea. On the way to the cannon fort, you also have a chance to check out underground tunnels and a number of attractions such as gun emplacements.
3. Take a Cruise
Suggested for: those who truly want to see all of Ha Long Bay
Why: Signing up for a boat cruise is the best way to discover Ha Long Bay. With 2000 islands, you can choose where you want to go and what you want to see, from the most well-known to smaller islands. It is a memorable cruising experience for you to enjoy a buffet meal as part of the cruise or stay on the boat overnight as well.
4. Jump a Seaplane
Suggested for: those who want to see Ha Long Bay in a different way.
Why: If you are wondering how Ha Long Bay looks from above, just get on a seaplane tour. It is a totally unique experience within 25 minutes. The Ha Long sightseeing flight will let you see some of the 1600 islands and islets which are scattered across the Gulf of Tonkin, along with beaches, lagoon, and towering sea cliffs. There are both morning and afternoon flights, so you can choose a convenient time for you. The aerial view of Ha Long Bay will surely blow your mind!
5. Go Scuba Diving
Suggested for: those who expect to explore marine life
Why: By scuba diving, visitors will have a chance to see the great underwater world of Ha Long by their own eyes. You can explore various kinds of fish and pristine coral reefs at the bottom of Ha Long bay and touch them. It must be an amazing experience for you, especially for visitors who love discovery. You don’t need to worry about your safety because all facilities are regularly checked and match safety standard.
6. Climb on Rocks
Suggested for: those who are fans of sports and have a good health
Why: Cat Ba National Park is a great spot for climbing on rocks in Ha Long Bay. You can find some amazing hiking trails including 18 km trail climbing to the summit of the main peak. Climbing gives you a chance to see all the flora and fauna as you trek around and renting a guide for your trekking is better to get to know the history of the region.
7. Swim at Bai Chay Beach
Suggested for: those who wants to enjoy clean, cool waters at Bai Chay beach
Why: Bai Chay is a large, beautiful, and artificial beach which is close to the coast of Ha Long bay. The beach is an ideal destination for swimming with 100-meter-wide sandy beach which spans over 500 meters. In summer days, Bai Chay beach attracts plenty of local and foreign people to visit. Significantly invested, it is rapidly transformed into one of the most captivating beaches in Ha Long bay.
8. Shop at Bai Chay Market
Suggested for: Bai Chay market
Why: In Bai Chay market, you can find huge heaps of fresh fruits and vegetables, and plenty of seafood. In addition, you also can buy other local items such as clothing and textiles. This is a really good spot to stock up on souvenirs and sample some of the local produce in Ha Long Bay as well.
9. Cycle around
Suggested for: who wants to enjoy quiet atmosphere
Why: Most people think of water activities when visiting Ha Long Bay. But it actually has a lot more to offer. Cycling around Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba is relaxing and romantic. The scenery along the coastal road will make your cycling a wonderful thing to do in Ha Long Bay. To experience the best coastal scenery, renting a bike is the perfect choice for you. You can rent a bike for VND 20.000/ hour.
10. Sunbathe on Beach
Suggested for: anyone who wants to get tanned skin
Why: Ha Long Bay is said to be one of the best places for sunbathing on the beach in Vietnam with numerous beaches. With dazzling sunlight, beautiful beaches with calm tides, clean, and green water, you will feel very comfortable when enjoying sunbathing. To name some beaches, they will be Tuan Chau, Ti Top, Ngoc Vung, and Trai Dao. They are the best ones with beautiful views of the bay.
11. Dine in the Caves
Suggested for: those seeking for a brand new dining experience
Why: Dining in a Ha Long Bay cave is a must if you haven’t done this before. Now, several cruises offer this service in everyday. You can contact some agency to ask whether they include this experience in their itinerary. The dinner doesn’t only come with a candlelit dining experience but also admiring the miracle work of Mother Nature. This is something that you may never find in other places.
12. Go Night Squid Fishing
Suggested for: anyone who is a night owl
Why: Night squid fishing is a popular night time activity in Ha Long Bay. When you sign up for this activity, you will be provided with a fishing rod. When darkness falls, you can take in large shoals of squid swimming around in these waters. If you have caught the fish, you can enjoy a barbecue with these delicious creatures and the staff will show you the way.
13. Go Kayaking
Suggested for: who want to get relax time
Why: Kayaking is listed as a must-try thing to do in Ha Long Bay. It is an exciting activity to sit on a tiny kayak, paddle in the blue water, wriggle into the cave, and touch the stalactites. You can go kayaking to visit fishing villages and learn works of fishermen on the sea, and admire the limestone islands as well.
14. Go Snorkeling
Suggested for: those who want to admire the fascinating underwater world.
Why: For nature and adventure lovers, your trip will not be complete without snorkeling. You will marvel at colorful coral reefs and diverse creatures in sparkling sea life. This can be a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to immerse into an aquatic world, swim with the cuttlefish, and dance with the octopus. Note that the best time of the year to go snorkeling in the bay is December. And good areas to see the coral reefs are Cong Do Island, Trai Cave, and Van Gio Island.
15. Sleep on a Board
Suggested for: anyone looking for a new experience of sleeping on a board.
Why: The best thing about sleeping on a board is the “escapism”. You can feel the freedom of your own space, the sense of peace, and being surrounded by water. Besides, you also can enjoy the lifestyle on the board which is without any stress. Staying on a board also gives you the chance to watch the sunset and wake up to the sound of the wind and sea waves in Ha Long bay.
With above interesting places and must-do activities, we hope that you can choose some of your favorite things to do when visiting Ha Long bay. If you have any questions, please let us know.
One of the most fantastic and enjoyable parts of your trip is shopping, isn’t it? After spending several days in Ha Long and falling in love with its splendor, you definitely hope to get something to bring home, which may remind you of this amazingly spectacular bay with islets and caves. If you are wondering what to buy and where to shop at the most reasonable price in Ha Long Bay, check out this guide on shopping in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam below.
You may be wondering “Nah, squids are on every sea, nothing special here”. Let me tell you, Ha Long seawater is saltier than others, so squids here are popular for their special flavors. The two most famous forms are dried squid (Mực một nắng) and grilled chopped squid (Chả mực), which are assumed as must-buy things for Vietnamese people when being in Ha Long.
Dried squids are cleaned with sea water first, then dried under the sunlight, just for one super sunny day. They are pinky, half-dry, fragrant and crispy. It would be best to have them grilled or fried with vegetables. What a great dish it makes!
If you want something more unique of Ha Long, it would be grilled chopped squid. Not because the squids themselves are good, it’s also the dedication of the makers. The whole process including chopping, pounding, and mixing with pepper and dill is made by hand, as a result, Ha Long Grilled Chopped Squid boasts its own flavor and tastes which cannot be mistaken with those from any other place. The price will be ranging from 330,000 VND – to 400,000 VND per kilogram. Buy it home, just deep-fry it and the breathtaking scenery and taste of Ha Long seem to display in front of you.
2. Dried Sipunculus Nudus
Sipunculus nudus, which is about 10-centimeter long, ivory-white and chubby, is a kind of peanut worm living only in Ha Long. Despite their unattractive appearance, they are known to be extremely nutritious, fatty, aromatic, and delicious when fried garlic spikes or roasted, together with a cup of cold beer. Sipunculus are rare, so their price is comparatively high, about 4 million ($170) per kilogram.
Be cautious if the price is unbelievably low, and the sipunculid look pale, transparent-white or crumbled, they must have been either kept for a long time or fake.
3. Hoanh Bo Soaked Rice Wine
If you are a fan of wine, Hoanh Bo Soaked Rice Wine in Ha Long Bay is the one you should never miss. Hoanh Bo is the name of the forest whose specific leaves are taken to add smell to cooked and incubated glutinous rice without being pounded before. After a long enough time being carefully soaked in a jar, it turns into alcohol. Hoanh Bo homemade rice wine tastes marginally sour and sweet blended with extraordinary odor. It’s light, but might get you tipsy if you drink too much. Don’t worry, instead of getting a headache, your digestion is unexpectedly stimulated.
4. Seashell Jewelry
Besides seafood, what can take your heart away should possibly be seashell jewelry which looks simple but absolutely unique. When cruising on Ha Long Bay, you might see female vendors on umiaks or coracles with all kinds of little lovely items from seashells such as bracelets, key chains, or conch shapes. Ha Long area has an abundance of seashells, people just collect the most beautiful ones and use their creativity to make out these attractive nice accessories. The seashell with a variety of colors ranging from light orange to greenish and emerald will be a great gift for your relatives and friends.
5. Handicraft Coal Statues
You might not know that Ha Long is located in Quang Ninh province, which is nationally famous for its bountiful coal sources. Is it a great idea to buy something really Vietnamese, from material to appearance?
Handicraft coal statues are made of Anthracite coal, one of the hardest and toughest forms. The coal must be qualified and suitable in terms of the sizes of the final products. After that, it is perforated and hewn. It looks a bit like on wood or softer material, but designing coal is much harder to adjust because it is crunchy and tough. Only a minor mistake can make the craftsmen try in vain. The last step would be to make it looking not dirty and raw, instead, sparkling and valuable by applying a layer of transparent polish.
You can order the shape you want if you have enough time in Ha Long Bay. If not, the most popular ones definitely will not disappoint you. The most bought statues are Fighting Cock Isle, cranes, water buffaloes, eagles, Buddha statues, bronze drums and ancient Vietnamese junk boats, which are typical symbols of Vietnam in general. They are sold at a cheap price compared to the special Vietnamese-symbolizing statues you will get.
II. Where to Shop in Ha Long?
1.1. Ha Long I Market
In terms of shopping, Ha Long I market is the first name to mention as it is among the biggest wholesale markets in Quang Ninh province and offers all kinds of things. This 16-year market impresses buyers by how clean it is and how logically and neatly the stalls are placed. The first floor displays spectacular souvenirs such as jewelry, handicrafts, toys, pottery, embroidery goods, house appliances, kitchenware, and coal statues. The second floor is for clothing and seafood.
Seafood is sold at a reasonable price in a whole different outside section of the market. The most famous place is Thoan Cha Muc located at kiosks 36-37. Besides squid, there are newly caught fish, shrimps, sipunculid nudus, and crabs also available and fresh. You can also get to the culinary part of the market to fill your stomach up with the most common and traditional food of Ha Long such as horseshoe crab.
Buying from Ha Long I market makes sure that you get high-quality products, instead of buying from a random vendor on the street, especially for high-priced things like seafood. Despite being undoubtedly crowded at the weekend, it is absolutely worth 3 hours of your trip.
Address: Van Xuan Street, Bach Dang Ward, Ha Long
Opening hours: 2 a.m– 9:15 p.m every day
1.2. Ha Long II Market
This market is about 1km away from Ha Long I Market but easily accessible thanks to its location nearby the outside of the National Road 18. The goods are diversifying from seafood to sourvenirs, but the most prominent is seafood, especially dry seafood. Structured similarly to Ha Long I Market, but Ha Long 2 Market has 2 storeys only and the seafood selling area is not as large as the first one.
Editor’s Tip: You should buy dry seafood here because the quality is good and price is cheap.
Address: 433 Le Loi street, Tran Hung Dao ward, Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province
Opening hours: 8 a.m- 5 p.m
2. Hon Gai Market
Hon Gai market boasts typical features of a fisherman’s village. It is located right by the sea where people on the fishing boats come back after a night of catching fish and carry them straight to the market’s dock on the foot of Bai Tho mountain. Therefore, it is said that nowhere offers fresher seafood at and cheaper price than this market.
Editor’s Tip: It’s highly recommended to buy oysters, fish, squids, and shrimp here if you want to cook right away before leaving.
Address: Hon Gai Street, Tran Hung Dao Ward, Ha Long
Opening hours: 7 a.m – 9 a.m every day
3. Ha Long Night Market
The night market is always a great place to go to after sunset because you not only can see how differently noisy and lively a city can be at night but can walk and get yourself some souvenirs looking sparkling and beautiful. The market is located on attractive Bai Chay beach with hundreds of stalls in order, each of which is full of items widely ranging from ordinary to top-notch. You will be appealed by clamshell key chains, “I love Ha Long” T-shirts with Ha Long, and “The Kissing Cocks of Ha Long Bay” magnets. What’s more, jewelry, handicrafts, bags and seafood are nice options before you head out to a food stall and enjoy your supper. Coming here, you can dig into a variety of Ha Long specialties which becomes incredibly unforgettable during your trip.
Address: Ha Long Marine Boulevard, Hung Thang ward, Ha Long (near Bai Chay Beach)
Opening hours: 6 p.m – 11 p.m every day
4. Bai Chay Shopping Center
If you are looking for somewhere that you can go shopping for high-end products, it must be Bai Chay Shopping center. Developed from a small local market on Vuon Dao street, it is enlarged and invested to become a modern commercial area which is the favorite place for thousands of shopaholics. You have an endless variety of choices for everything, from something common like clothes, house appliances, electronics and little souvenirs to high-end items like handbags, sports shoes and luxury clothes. It will be a pleasant experience to shop here.
Address: Vuon Dao Street, Bai Chay ward, Ha Long
Opening hours: 8 a.m – 10 p.m
5. Early Ha Long Seafood Market
The reason why this is called early Ha Long Seafood Market is that it just takes place in the early morning only. The market is located right at Hon Gai harbor and specializes in newly-caught seafood by local fishermen. Not only is it the biggest seafood focal point of Ha Long city, but it is also a cultural feature of Ha Long fishermen.
Prior to dawn, fishing boats rush to the port and present all types of seafood right at the anchor area.
Editor’s Tip: You should buy seafood like crabs, sentinels crabs, cuttlefish and Mantis shrimp, here since their prices are very reasonable.
Address: Hon Gai port, Tuan Chau island, Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province.
Opening hours: 2 a.m 4 a.m
Shopping in Ha Long Bay is the last piece to complete your enjoyable and once-in-a-lifetime experience. Nothing can be more wonderful than after an amazing time you spend here, you can buy something as a souvenir that will remind you of this glorious bay and some gifts unique and Vietnamese to give your family and friends. If you have already done it, why not comment below and share it with others?
Consumer trends have indicated that most travelers go online to conduct travel research. Nowadays, more and more travelers prefer to book their vacations online. The arrival of online booking websites has made everything so much easier and more flexible for everyone.
If you are planning to dwell in the best views of Ha Long Bay, cruising is a wonderful choice for a dream holiday that matches any passengers’ expectations. The cruise industry is gaining popularity more than ever in the leisure travel market owing to innovative designs and a variety of destinations. To minimize the chance of falling for a booking scam, first-time cruisers should be aware of all the tricks and try to avoid.
Common Types of Scams
Many travelers may not realize that travel scams start right on their personal computers and smartphones. One of the most common scams you may experience is stumbled upon a fake travel website on the internet. The same scams can apply to other pages as well, like hotel accommodation, Facebook, and airline tickets. There are plenty of fake and imitation websites that look identical to the real ones which makes it almost impossible to tell the fake site from the real one. In most cases, cybercriminals will use a domain name similar to the original one by modifying some words.
Since cruises have become more accessible and convenient than ever before, everyone’s been eager to fulfill their ultimate dream cruise which exposes them as an easy target for cyber thieves.
Many individuals have received some sort of promotional emails, pop-ups, or online advertisements for a free cruise at least once in a while. In many situations, these scams come at very cheap prices to lure travelers who opt for the budget. When clicking on these ads, you might be transferred to an unsafe website that urges you to deposit a large amount of money to secure a holiday.
Booking a cruise online using an unsecured network raises higher security concerns. Sometimes convenience seems to outweigh the risks, especially with mobile device users. Using free public Wi-fi networks means that travelers are going to confront with the serious risk of personal account details being exposed.
In a survey by McAfee, a cyber-security company, 62% of users admitted that they have connected to public wifi in an airport while 49% use the hotel’s wifi. Public Wi-fi often lacks encryption which can protect the information sent from your device to the router. As you surf the web using unprotected wifi, a cybercriminal can monitor all your activity and wait for an opportunity to copy your info such as passwords, online banking, or financial data.
How to Avoid Scams
No one denies that the evolution of the Internet has changed the way we shop, bank, and communicate with the world. Scammers can be inventive and keep coming up with new tricks to rip off the innocents. Precaution is always better than cure and it requires just some effort and attention to protect yourself from these harms.
The smartest way to identify a website is by taking a couple of minutes to double-check the domain name. Make sure that the website has domains that end with .net or .org and provides authentic contact and address information.
Some websites appear to offer legitimate services but are only available through message or email. Typing errors, low-resolution pictures, and logos can also be indications of a scammer’s creation. Another way to check the website is to look for a padlock icon before the website’s URL means the site is encrypted. All payments should be conducted through a trusted platform to protect your data from hackers.
As the internet becomes our daily tool, travelers should carefully research before settling down with a cruise. Always choose a legitimate cruise if you are planning to spend wonderful days surrounded by the magnificent landscape and exotic islands. Run a background check if you have never heard of this cruise. You can research to see feedback from the passengers to evaluate the trustworthiness of the site on OTA channels.
For example, if you are looking for a cruise in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, you can do the first skim on booking.com. After customizing your categories, you can easily locate the best cruises for your preferences. Elysia Cruise offers a system from 3 – 5 star cruises in Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay. You can make decisions based on your budget and plan.
Nobody wants to be a helpless victim or has a disaster vacation. This is why potential cruise passengers should pay attention and watch out for all the tricks to book the best vacation that they’ve worked hard for.
Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO-recognized Natural World Heritage Site, has gained a name for the picturesque scenery of the coast and islands, but have you ever heard of Cua Van floating village as a precious gem to be found alongside the shoreline? If the answer is “No”, don’t hesitate to come by Cua Van for a visit at no time.
Cua Van floating village has been ranked among the most beautiful ancient villages on the planet. Within minutes, its distinctive cultural pattern and tradition are guaranteed to make a lasting impression on tourists from all over the globe.
Location: Hung Thang Precinct, Quang Ninh Province – attached to Ha Long Bay & Lan Ha Bay
I. Overview of Cua Van Floating Village
Cua Van floating village belongs to one of Ha Long Bay’s tourism development programs, including other famous tourist attractions like Ba Ham Lake, Tieng Ong Cave… To be more specific, the village is situated 20km away from Tuan Chau Island nearby, which is equivalent to an approximately 2-hour trip by boat.
For your information, Cua Van of former times used to be among the biggest floating villages in the Ha Long Bay residential area. Despite being in the middle of the sea, Cua Van village is not disturbed by the strong wind blowing in different directions. The main reason behind that is the surrounding cluster of islands which prevents the rush of air from completely getting through, acting as an important contributing place for boats to anchor themselves when a storm hits the zone.
In 2014, the authority started resettling families and residents to the mainland in order that they could reap more benefits from the flourishing economy and tourism development. However, a minority of Cua Van local people chose to remain offshore in the daytime, and earn a living by traditional fishing or running services for tourists.
1. Best Time to Visit Cua Van Floating Village
When is the best time to visit Cua Van fishing village in a year? The answer is from October to September next year. Especially, you are highly advised to avoid July and August due to the fact that in two months, there are usually a lot of tropical cyclones and depressions or rain and rough sea in Vietnam.
The period from October to September next year is also divided into two peak seasons, one for domestic tourists and the other for foreign tourists. The peak season of foreign tourists in Vinh Ha Long, in common, and Cua Van, in particular, is from October to April next year. Maybe this period in foreign countries is the winter vacation and new year holiday and tropical countries with higher average temperatures and cheap costs are ideal choices.
2. Highlights of Cua Van Floating Village
Why has Cua Van become so well-liked by not only domestic tourists but also foreign visitors? What are the unique features of the fishing village attracting a lot of tourists?
To be honest, everyone who pays Cua Van a visit would be struck by its beauty which is almost nowhere else to be found, not to mention the grandiose scenery of Ha Long Bay.
Leave the bustle and hustle of big cities behind and find yourself here immersed in tranquility. There are over 300 households in the area, living in houseboats tightly attached to each other so that they stand fewer chances of being blown by strong winds.
One of the most original characteristics of the Cua Van floating village is a whole host of small boats and rafts anchored in front of every house, embodying the spirit of fishermen who hope to bring a brighter future to their kids and family. The native residents of Cua Van are warm, hospitable, and friendly, always trying to make people feel welcome. If you happen to meet some kids, don’t forget to wave, they’ll be all smiles and happy to show you all the village’s hidden attractions.
Your trip to Cua Van would not be fulfilled unless you experience all the following stuff: enjoying the special cuisines cooked by the locals; joining in a variety of cultural activities including boat sailing and listening to people singing out at night, or go catching some cuttlefish.
Tell me if I’m wrong, but you should never find a better experience than enjoying the appetizing aroma of “marine barbeque” right on the high seas.
II. What to See and Do at Cua Van Floating Village?
Normally, it is advised to spend about 1 day and 1 night discovering Cua Van fishing village since there are many interesting things for you to experience to get unforgettable memories as priceless gifts.
Cua Van fishing village is nearly the farthest point in Ha Long Bay and it is the endpoint of almost Ha Long Bay discovering tours. After spending the first day getting a view of Ha Long Bay by boat or cruise, you will stop at Cua Van at the end of the itinerary, where you will have wonderful experiences at night and the next day.
1. Cua Van ‘Floating’ Culture Center
Cua Van floating culture center is a construction specialized for displaying and preserving traditional values of culture which originate from the long-standing fishing village.
This site introduces a whole host of educational, and cultural exchange activities, not to mention hundreds of archeological antique collections including ancient fishing tools that trace back centuries ago.
In addition, extraordinary sequences of documentaries and archival research pictures are consistently exhibited so that everyone can admire and get the gist of the village’s ancient image.
2. Daily Life of Local Fishermen
As aforementioned, despite the fact that the majority of residents have moved to the mainland, a number of local families chose to maintain their living here during the daytime. To most of the fishermen, the sea is regarded as their hometown, and the boat as their shelter, as if it was all a matter of common sense for the fact that they shared weal and woe and blended in harmony with the sea.
Their kids are used to swimming and sailing, even dealing with risks and danger from a very early age. Besides, strange as it may sound, the people of Cua Van often believe in spiritual practice or avoiding forbidden customs, such as preventing women from getting on the boat before heading for the open.
Apart from fishing, the local people also earn their living by providing kayak services or tour guides who know the village like the back of their hand and help you steer the boat properly. Surprisingly, kayak sailing is among the most requested services by foreign tourists, because it is so amazing scene that can help them to take incredible and one-of-a-kind pictures.
Hiring a kayak: 100.000 VND/h
Hiring a local tour guide: 60.000 VND/h
III. How to Get to Cua Van Floating Village?
Cua Van floating village is dozens of kilometers away from the coastline, which probably takes much of a boat trip to arrive here. There is a wide range of cruising boats for you to choose from, maybe included in some full-package tours offered by large tourism corporations. However, the 2 following ways are the most favorable to foreign guests:
If you decide to spend only 1 day visiting Cua Van village: Feel free to buy boat tickets directly at the wharf, or through telephones, or even some online registering platforms associated with the service providers.
If you’re into a longer trip that can last up to 2-3 days: You must have a detailed plan ahead of time, making sure that you (and your group) should get precise information on time and places, means of transport… As a result, many would prefer a full-package cruising tour of 3 days and 2 nights, considered to be more economical and money-saving than going on your own without any help from travel agencies.
IV. Extra Tips
Bring your power bank and some other everyday-carry tools to help charge your phone and deal with anything else if necessary.
Bring at least a flashlight, and power banks because electricity in the village is created from generators.
Pay attention to the additional fees when booking a full-package tour, some can charge you for their meals and drinks instead.
Make the most of your time and money by visiting the Vung Vieng floating village by taking a 20-minute boat trip from Cua Van and the Ham Rong Mountain nearby. Vung Vieng village is famous for its limpid stream of ocean water a fantastic experience to talk about for your entire life.
Bring mosquito repellent, anti-motion sickness medicine, cold medicine, and some usual medicine because if you get sick at night, it takes much time to take you to the hospital.
Do not give money or candy to children when you visit. Why? Since if you give them money, they won’t like to go to school. If possible you may prepare some notebooks, and pencils for them.
Of all of Ha Long’s caves, Sung Sot cave is the largest, perhaps the most renowned, and likely the most visited of all.
Among the 1,969 sunken limestone towers submerged in the indigo waters of Ha Long Bay are a series of ancient caves and grottoes – many of which remained unexplored. To date, there are 59 caves listed on the official registry (this includes the most recent discovery of 23 ‘new’ caves), all of which have a special belonging in Ha Long Bay’s distinctive ecosystem. Undoubtedly the most famous of them all is Sung Sot Cave, which has rightfully earned its near-legendary status among visitors to the world-famous bay.
Largely considered to be the center of Ha Long Bay, Sung Sot Cave is located on Bo Hon Island, a close neighbor of several other famous attractions such as Titov Island, Bo Nau Grotto, Me Cung Cave and Luon Cave.
Bo Hon Island is one of the largest in the area, its resident cave is also comparatively large. Located on the same island is Trinh Nu Cave, another example of the folklore that Ha Long Bay is laden with (if you fancy reading about the estranged lovers whose tragic story ended in Trinh Nu Cave with a dramatic death you can read about that here).
History & Formation of Sung Sot Cave
Sung Sot Cave was allegedly first discovered by the French in 1901, who took it upon themselves to name it “Grotte des Surprises”, or Surprising Cave, because of its ‘surprising’ beauty (although the name didn’t catch on until a good 40 years later). The cave welcomed its first visitors in 1993, a mere one year before Ha Long Bay would receive its first bestowment of World Heritage site status from UNESCO.
From 520-470 million BC, Ha Long Bay was subject to intense tectonic plate movements, along with severe rainfall and flooding which caused the formation of underwater mountains. Millions of years on, the Ha Long Bay area began to experience a period of extreme heat and drought.
The change in weather patterns is what eventually contributed to the emergence of the thick limestone formations that we can still see today. The steady erosion of these sea mountains eventually delivered to us the much-coveted caves of Ha Long Bay. The advancement of the sea and its effects on the formation of the caves can be seen on the ceilings, where a ripple-like pattern is often visible.
What You’ll See at Sung Sot Cave
There’s a small dock at the bottom of Bo Hon Island, where you’ll dismount your boat and begin the climb up 100 or so steps to the mouth of Sung Sot Cave. The cave covers a staggering 10,000 square meters (that’s twice the size of the White House if that’s anything to go by). The cave is about 30 meters high and sports a 500-meter long passage (good news for the claustrophobics among us).
The interior is separated into 2 caverns, the first of which is a small amphitheater type of space connected by a small passageway to the larger cavern next door, which is big enough to hold 1,000 people or more. The entire cave is bestrewn with stalactites and stalagmites, which serve as endless material for the legend and ‘lore of the area.
Appointing recognizable shapes, animals, and patterns to the formations within the caves has become a much-loved tradition within Ha Long Bay, and Sung Sot Cave is no exception. A generous stretch of the imagination is needed in a lot of cases, but it’s part of the fun of the expedition- and if you have a good tour guide who knows their stuff it will make all the difference.
During your trip to Sung Sot Cave, you are likely to be told that one of the stalactites greatly resembles a horse and a long sword (maybe if you squint, like, really hard…). You see it? Yes, of course, you do… That horse and sword belong to the legend of Thanh Giong (Thanh can be translated to Saint in English) who is a pretty famous figure in Vietnamese folklore, who left these items here to protect Ha Long Bay from evil demons.
Among the other ‘recognizable’ formations in Sung Sot Cave are mammoths, elephants, seals, flowers, and even a general gathering his troops.
Shaft of light entering through an opening in sung sot cave
Whether or not your imagination stretches far enough to see a mammoth, it’s hard not to be captivated by this place
How to Get There
The best way to see Ha Long Bay has always been by boat. Among the numerous cruise companies that tour through the bay, a pretty large amount will visit Sung Sot Cave. Get in touch with us if you want to book a cruise visiting Sung Sot Cave!
Designed by Spanish architect Salavador Perez Arroyo, another must-visit in Ha Long is the Quang Ninh Museum. It is part of a collection of museums located in the Hong Hai ward in Ha Long City.
The building looks like a giant mirror meant to reflect the beauty of Ha Long Bay. It showcases exhibits on Vietnamese culture, history, and nature in a modern and contemporary light.
The museum has three floors that represent the different stages of development of the Quang Ninh province; From ancient times to the present day, and from the mountains to the bay.
The first floor represents nature. There are four columns that are meant to serve as the images of mountains and a light show which is meant to reenact the shimmering of light coming off the water. Walking through the first floor feels as if you’re having a stroll in the beautiful Ha Long Bay.
On the second floor, you can find exhibits on the history of Quang Ninh. Archaeological findings are in display going back as far as prehistoric times.
The third floor is about the culture of the province and its people. Mining and coal has played a pivotal part in the development of the region and a lot of objects related to this industry are exhibited.
A visit is well-recommended to anyone interested in the history and culture of the Quang Ninh province. It offers a unique glimpse into the development and history of the region and of the daily lives of its inhabitants over the centuries.
Opening Times: Opening times are Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 15 p.m.
Entrance Fees: Tickets are 40.000 VND as of July 2019. Discounts are offered for students and children.
Address: Trần Quốc Nghiễn, Tuần Châu, Thành phố Hạ Long, Quảng Ninh (Maps and directions)
Ti Top island is located about 14 kilometers to the east of Bai Chay tourist harbor. It has a beach that is shaped like a crescent moon and is known for its tranquility and beautiful still blue waters. The sands of the beach have been dyed white by the ocean’s surf creating a perfect picture of paradise.
1. In A Nutshell
The island has a total area of 3,7 hectares (0,037 km²).
The island was named by the most respected hero of Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh, after the Russian cosmonaut Gherman Titov on the occasion of his first visit to Ha Long Bay in 1962.
With a summit height at 110 meters (360 ft), the mountain on Ti Top island is taking about 450 steps to reach its peak.
Ti Top island is regarded as one of the most attractive sites for both international and domestic tourists to Ha Long Bay.
2. The name
The island was named after the Russian cosmonaut Gherman Stepanovich Titov who, together with President Ho Chi Minh, visited the island in 1962. Titop island has since become a popular tourist destination and provides many services catered to tourists.
Because of the immaculate white sand and the calm waters, the beach is perfect for water-based recreational activities like swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports. There is a bar on the island where you can rent all kinds of swim gear and, of course, stop for a few drinks if you’re that way inclined!
Deckchairs are available but you will be asked to buy some food and/or beverages. If you take your own, then you will have to pay a little fee. The beach offers welcome refreshments in the hot summer months and even after sundown you can go for a walk and enjoy the moonlit beach for all its nocturnal glory.
After a refreshing day at the beach, please try some of the wonderful local seafood specialties. You won’t regret it!
4. Top 5 interesting tourism activities in Ti Top Island
Coming to Titop Island Vietnam, you can not only enjoy nature but also participate in multiple types of tourism activities as below:
4.1. Swimming at Ti Top Beach
Besides the beautiful natural scenery and charming mountains, Ti Top Beach, or Vang Trang Beach, contributes to the unique features of the island. The beach is not too big compared to the others, yet the island mesmerizes tourists with its pure white sand and clear blue seawater in the four seasons. Therefore, this place is definitely an ideal destination for your holiday getaway.
4.2. Viewing Ha Long Bay from above at the peak of Ti Top Island
Climbing on Titop Island is an activity that you cannot miss. By taking 400 steep steps, you can conquer the peak of the mountain, which gives you a chance to grasp the immensity and majesty of Ha Long Bay at a 100-meter altitude. In this way, you can see the various changes in this wonder according to the time of day.
4.3. Kayaking – An indispensable activity in Ti Top Island
Kayaking is an indispensable activity when coming to Ti Top. In this activity, you will control a tiny kayak on your own and wriggle through the caves to discover the beauty of nature. To avoid tipping over, you must know how to keep your balance and paddle evenly. The kayak rental price to explore Ti Top is about 150,000 VND/hour.
4.4. Taking towed buoys – A water-based activity to join with friends
Despite not being a new activity, taking towed buoys is among the most enjoyable activities in this wonderful island. Specifically, the buoy is tied to a canoe or a motor and is dragged across the water at a speed of 50 – 80 km/h. This kind of sport is very suitable for groups of young people, especially for company team-building purposes.
5. Some notes for your perfect trip to Ti Top Beach
To make your perfect getaway a reality, some information below will be helpful to you:
Ti Top Beach is relatively sunny in the summer, so sunscreen is necessary for you to not get sunburnt.
There are very few catering services on the island so you should remember to bring snacks with you.
You should not forget to take along a portable charger to save your moments with your devices.
To ensure safety on the way to the peak of Ti Top, you should mind your steps during climbing or descending.
Health Protocols for Your Vacation with Elysia Cruise Vietnam (Updated on June 8, 2022)
The health and safety of tourists is Elysia Cruise Vietnam’s highest priority. That’s why we developed health protocols and procedures to protect our customers while delivering the holiday experience you love.
1. Common regulations:
Tourists are recommended to adhere to The Vietnam Ministry of Health’s medical guidance – “5K Rules”, including face masks, physical distancing, disinfection, health declarations, no gatherings to safely travel in ‘new normal’ state of coexisting with Covid-19. Prior to the trip, our team will update the tourists all the information.
Infographic of “5K Rules” announced by the Vietnam Ministry of Health
2. International Tourists:
Foreign tourists who travel to Vietnam are no longer required to take SARS-CoV-2 tests or make a health declaration. Now tourists can travel freely throughout the country.
However, tourists should follow the Vietnamese government’s guidance on preventing the disease.
III. Domestic tourists and Expats in Vietnam:
All travel restrictions are lifted for domestic tourists.
Expats who have a valid Vietnam temporary residence card or visa issued by Vietnam Immigration Department can travel freely within the country.
To travel safely, a self-test prior to departure is highly recommended.
We’ve developed a comprehensive health protocol to keep our passengers safe while traveling with Elysia Cruise Vietnam. We appreciate your cooperation and look forward to offering you the best leisurely vacation in the world. These protocols will be updated and shared with tourists before traveling.
1. Pre-Travel & Arrival
Tourist and Travel Protocols
Before finalizing travel plans, tourists should carefully review our protocols and the recommendations of government health authorities. Tourists with international travel needs should ensure they understand all entry and airline regulations from their home country to the destinations they plan to visit.
Details continue to be updated regularly. Official websites and applications developed by government agencies and state management agencies in the tourism field are recommended.
2. During Travel
2.1 Masks and Physical Distancing
Tourists must wear face masks in indoor public spaces and sightseeing places before being seated in our main dining rooms and the buffet area during the whole vacation with Elysia Cruise Vietnam.
We recommend that tourists wash or replace their masks daily and choose a standard mask, ideally a good quality medical mask.
2.2 Health Practices
Tourists are encouraged to wash hands with soap or hand sanitizer dispensers at venue entrances and in crowded areas throughout our cruises and hotel. Public areas are cleaned more thoroughly and often with safe disinfectants proven to kill viruses quickly.
Our cruises are equipped with advanced HVAC ventilation systems. The systems are designed to replace the air in public spaces every 5 – 6 minutes. We always try to keep windows open in indoor spaces to ensure air circulation.
2.4 Medical care
We always keep in touch with local health centers and get ready to support tourists in a medical emergency. In the event of a suspected Covid-19 case, we’re well prepared with immediate medical assessments, rapid Covid-19 testing, and dedicated areas for temporary Covid-19 care. We will take follow-up methods according to the instructions of local medical centers to protect tourists’ health.