Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonking is considered one of the greatest natural wonders in Asia. It is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vietnam. Exactly 1.969 karst islands of different sizes and heights give the spacious bay its special charm. UNESCO could not avoid adding parts of the region to the World Heritage List in 1994 because of their unparalleled beauty.
Halong Bay - One of Vietnam's major tourist attractions
Cruise ships regularly visit Halong Bay in northeast Vietnam. The city of Halong, located on the edge of the bay, is the capital of Quang Ninh Province and the starting point for visits to the Vietnamese metropolis of Hanoi and for boat tours to Halong Bay.
Excursion boat in Halong Bay
Both are the primary destinations of cruise tourists. Hanoi and Halong are 165 kilometers apart; A visit to Halong Bay, on the other hand, only requires switching to a tour boat.
Even in cloudy weather and with limited visibility, Halong Bay is exquisitely beautiful. Limestone and slate rocks of various sizes and heights rise out of the sea on an area of 1.553 square kilometers. The area protected by UNESCO World Heritage includes 434 islands on 775 square kilometers. Geologists estimate the age of the islands to be 250 to 280 million years. Some of the islands have remarkable and well-developed caves.
Thien Cung cave
James Bond didn't save the world in Halong Bay
Those familiar with the James Bond 007 films may recall the actions of the British MI6 secret agent in Tomorrow Never Dies. The film pretends to take place between the karst cliffs of Halong Bay. In fact, the landscape scenes were shot in Thailand.
Halong City - provincial capital and important economic center of Vietnam
Cruise ships do not dock in Halong City. Instead, the guests are brought ashore by tender boats. Halong City was created in 1993 from the merger of two cities located opposite each other on the bay. The population is currently given as around 270.000 (year 2019). From the original center of Vietnamese coal mining, Halong City has been transformed into a city dominated by tourism with a variety of tourist facilities. Halong City is also an important economic center of Vietnam. The city has one of the most important trading ports in the country and the associated infrastructure. There is also a trunk road from Halong to southern China.
Ferris wheel over Halong City
Visitors arriving by cruise ship perceive the city without question as consisting of two districts. The eastern part of the city is called Hòn Gai. Hòn Gai stands for industrial and commercial settlements, traditional business districts and small businesses. Public facilities and an important regional museum are located in Hòn Gai.
Ha Long City - Ha Long Market
The western part of the city is called Bãi Cháy. Various tourist facilities have been built there in the last two decades. An imposing cable-stayed suspension bridge more than 1.100 meters long and a gondola lift connect both parts of the city. Bãi Cháy is primarily a resort for Vietnamese and Chinese families.
At the Sun World amusement park
Halong - Activities for Cruise Tourists
In our article, we describe what cruise ship guests should do during their one- or two-day stays in Halong: Halong sightseeing.
Update March 2021