Ancient Vietnamese legend will tell you how a dragon, in its defence of enemy advances from the north, came to form the UNESCO world wonder of Halong Bay. Literally translated as “descending dragon”, Halong’s sixteen hundred rocky limestone islets that scatter the jade green waters are as “otherworldly” beautiful as their mythical formation reveals.
Around four hours drive from Hanoi’s city centre, the general hubbub there is in stark contrast to the tranquillity of Halong.
We spent two days in Halong Bay, staying overnight on one of the many cruise boats that dock along the shoreline, and share some tips for the region.
Traveller tips for Halong Bay
- All aboard: Check which route your cruise will take you. Most take the same one, visiting the same spots along the way. Opt for “waters less sailed” for a quieter experience.
- Travelling in “style”: The cruise ships that take tourists out to Halong are all much the same. “Luxury suites” may not be at ritzy as the name implies, but our experience was that the cabins were clean and comfortable for a night’s stay.
- Personal possessions: Turnarounds are quick and at some point, you’ll be asked to leave your luggage in a communal area so your room can be made up for the next guest. Something to consider if you’re lugging anything of particular value.
- Smooth sailing: The drive from Halong is around four hours, though the distance itself is only around 110 miles. These aren’t motorways, so be prepared for a few bumpy ‘local’ roads.
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