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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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Halong Bay

Halong Bay is Vietnam’s best known natural wonder. Located in north-east Vietnam, in the Gulf of Tonkin, Halong Bay is comprised of 1,969 islands of varied sizes and shapes. 989 of the islands have been given names. Many of the islands are limestone while some are formed from Schist. In 1994, the Committee of World Heritages of UNESCO (an agency of the United Nations) officially designated Halong Bay a natural heritage site of global significance.  

The weather of Halong Bay is marked by two distinct seasons. The hot and wet summer season runs from May through October. During the summer, the temperatures average between 24-33 degrees with rainfall averaging approximately 238mm. The cool and relatively dry winter season begins in November and lasts through April. Winter temperatures range from 16-23 degrees and precipitation only averages approximately 41mm during this period.

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Cruise Companies that sail to Halong Bay

Why visit Halong Bay ?

Halong Bay location iamge - CruiseDirection

Vietnam’s best known natural wonder

Halong Bay while off the beaten path is a terrific place for an exotic getaway

The charm of Halong Bay lies in the beauty of its many grottoes and the majesty of the islands themselves. One of the loveliest Grottoes is Thien Cung (Heavenly Palace) Grotto. Recently discovered, it is located on the southwest side of the bay 4 kilometres from the wharf outside Halong City located within a small group of islands that bear resemblance to a throne. The passage to Thien Cung can be harrowing with thick forests on both sides. As you progress through a narrow gate to reach the interior of the 130 metre long grotto it opens into its magnificent splendour. The centre of the Grotto holds four large pillars, which support the “roof of heaven.” Throughout the grotto there lie images that appear to exist in the stone such as, flowers, birds, fish, and even people. Upon entrance to the last chamber of the grotto, one discovers a natural flowing stream and three small clear water ponds.  

Another special place in Halong Bay is Quang Hanh Grotto, located nine kilometres west of Cam Pha; it is the longest grotto in the Bay stretching through the stone mountain of Quang Hanh at a length of 1300 metres. The grotto can be reached by boat or car but the entrance is only accessible when the tide is low. For a truly special experience, try taking a small boat tour through this beautiful grotto and view the colourful hanging stalactites by flashlight. The reflection of colours is said to be spectacular.  

Bai Tho Mountain, also called “Poem Mountain” is one of the most famous islands of Halong Bay. Standing 106 metres high at its peak, it lies on the coast and features a poem carved into a flat stone on a cliff that can be viewed when sailing on the bay approximately 100-200 metres from the mountain. The poem was written in the 15th century by Emperor Le Thanh Tong who was inspired by the mountain and commissioned the engraving of the poem.  

Halong Bay though a beautiful place to visit, is not especially known for its restaurants or shopping. With that said visitors should not have a problem finding mementos of their trip or sustaining themselves nutritionally.  

Halong Bay while off the beaten path is a terrific place for an exotic getaway especially if you want to escape from urban calamity.

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