Halong Bay natural wonder

Halong Bay natural wonder (Vịnh Hạ Long) located in the North in Quang Ninh Province of Vietnam and must-visit travel destination. Halong Bay is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Halong Bay natural wonder (Vịnh Hạ Long) located in the North in Quang Ninh Province of Vietnam and must-visit travel destination. Halong Bay is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, offers thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes and sizes. Halong Bay includes Bai Tu Long Bay to the northeast, and Cat Ba Island to the southwest. Designated a Unesco world heritage site more than 20 years ago, the Halong Bay natural wonder is one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist attractions. 

It is only recently though, that a small number of cruise boats have ventured further east into the Gulf of Tonkin, to the outer rocky flanks of Bai Tu Long. The legend says the dragon, sent by the Jade Emperor, descended from heaven into the sea. The towering outcrops of Halong Bay are a spot where the dragon descends to the sea and sprayed a thousand pearls from its mouth. From these cascading pearls, the 1,600 shaggy limestone stacks of Halong Bay emerged, a huge curvature of jumbled karst fortress designed to protect Vietnam from invaders in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Halong Bay has 4 different seasons and therefore available for a visit almost at any time throughout the year. The climate in the north limits the safe time for a Vietnam beach holiday to the height of summer. However, Halong Bay is such a stunning place that it attracts tourists all year round. If the sun shines, you can lie on a beach if you like though there is so much else to see and do. Bai Chay beach is probably the best beach option for those heading east from Hanoi. The town of Bai Chay, along with Hong Gai, together are officially referred to as Halong City. Beach is huge and best for those who like to relax & enjoy the views. In July and August is a season for typhoons.

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Hanoi Halong Expressway

HANOI HALONG EXPRESSWAY The renowned Halong Bay is just an hour and a half away from the capital city of starting Saturday. The Halong-Hai Phong Expressway, which opened Saturday after three years of construction, will also reduce travel time between Halong and the northern port city of Hai Phong from two hours to 30 minutes.

The renowned Halong Bay is just an hour and a half away from the capital city of starting Saturday. The Halong-Hai Phong Expressway, which opened Saturday after three years of construction, will also reduce travel time between Halong and the northern port city of Hai Phong from two hours to 30 minutes. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who attended the expressway’s opening ceremony, said the new expressway will promote connectivity in the Hanoi-Hai Phong-Halong triangle and open up opportunities for socio-economic development in the area. 

Built at a cost of VND13 trillion ($556 million), the 24.6-kilometer (15.3-mile) Halong-Hai Phong Expressway connects National Highway 18 in Ha Long’s Dai Yen Ward with the Hanoi-Hai Phong Expressway in Hai Phong’s Hai An District. While most of the road was constructed using the state budget, the Hai Phong end of the expressway, including a VND7.27-trillion bridge across the Bach Dang River, was built using the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model. The four-lane, 5.4-km long bridge, with a 3.5-km span above the river, is 25 meters wide. It is designed with three H-shaped towers representing Hanoi, Hai Phong and Halong. The Bach Dang Bridge was a breakthrough for Vietnam, is the first cable-stayed bridge made in the country.

Work on the Halong-Hai Phong Expressway began in September 2015 and was scheduled for completion last March, but was delayed twice. With its completion, the Hanoi Halong expressway commute has been reduced by 50 km to 130 km, and the Halong-Hai Phong route has been cut down from 75 km to just 25 km. The expressway is among a series of infrastructure projects aimed at boosting the tourism industry. Others include an international airport in Quang Ninh’s Van Don District and a new expressway between Halong and the proposed special economic zone in Van Don, both of which are scheduled for completion later this year. Quang Ninh welcomed 7.5 million travelers in the first half of 2018, including 2.46 million foreigners, up 14 percent from a year ago. Tourism revenues for the period rose 31 percent year-on-year to VND12.8 trillion ($546.7 million). Source: e.vnexpress.net

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Typhoon water park Halong

Southeast Asia’s most modern theme park, Typhoon Water Park, located in Ha Long city in northern Quang Ninh province, offering 12 attractions, including a pool with artificial waves. The park is part of the Sun World Ha Long entertainment complex. Covering an area of 20 ha, Typhoon Water Park is designed based on leading water parks in the world, such as Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach in the US and Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi. The park is divided into three different sections: for families, for kids, and for thrill seekers.

Southeast Asia’s most modern theme park, Typhoon Water Park, located in Ha Long city in northern Quang Ninh province, offering 12 attractions, including a pool with artificial waves. The park is part of the Sun World Ha Long entertainment complex. Covering an area of 20 ha, Typhoon Water Park is designed based on leading water parks in the world, such as Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach in the US and Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi. The park is divided into three different sections: for families, for kids, and for thrill seekers. Its highlight is its thrilling rides. Those brave enough can jump from a height of 20 meters into the pool, ride a dragon to conquer the sea or swing 360 degrees on the “Tropical Storm” ride. 

All equipment at the park is imported from Europe and tested under Germany’s Technischer Überwachungsverein standards. Along with international-standard rides, visitors will also be attracted by the park’s surroundings of artificial mountain ranges and 3,500 trees, as well as its delicious food and beverages such as grilled seafood, Pizza, and cocktails at the pool bar. Typhoon Water Park is managed by Parques Reunidos, which also manages 61 parks in 14 countries in Europe, the US, the Middle East, and Asia. Together with the Sun World Halong entertainment complex, which includes Dragon Park, Typhoon Water Park’s two cable cars, and Sun Wheel add to the appeal of visitors to Halong city and is a modern entertainment breakthrough for the city’s tourism sector.

Website: Halong Water park 
More about Halong: Halong Bay among 15 most beautiful UNESCO heritages
SOURCE: http://www.vneconomictimes.com/

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Co To island Van Chay beach

Van Chay beach on the Co To resort island has been verified as meeting the requirements for a tourist beach, according to Tran Nhu Long, Chairman of the island district’s People’s Committee in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

CO TO ISLAND VAN CHAY BEACH. Van Chay beach on the Co To resort island has been verified as meeting the requirements for a tourist beach, according to Tran Nhu Long, Chairman of the island district’s People’s Committee in the northern province of Quang Ninh. The recognition was issued by the provincial People’s Committee and will be valid for five years from the date of issuance. This is part of the province’s efforts to standardize and improve the quality of local beaches to better serve tourists. To be eligible for the status, the beach must satisfy a set of requirements regarding the quality of sand, transport infrastructure leading to the beach, supply of electricity and freshwater, safety signs, and rescue forces.

Quang Ninh now has many eligible tourist beaches, including five in Halong city. The best among them are the 200,000sq.m beach in Ha Long Ocean Park in Halong City and the 15,000sq.m Luong Ngoc Beach in Cam Pha city. Co To, a popular tourist destination off the coast of Quang Ninh, is renowned for its pristine beaches and abundant fresh, diverse seafood. The island dubbed the “green pearl”, is one of the farthest inhabited islands, located 80km from the mainland. From Cai Rong port in Van Don, travelers can take high-speed boat trips that take just an hour and a half. The island district is comprised of Co To Lon (large Co To) island, Co To Be (small Co To) island, and 15 islets.  Its attractions include its turquoise sea and tranquil beaches, along with a tropical forest eco-system almost in its primary conditions. 

Large stretches of untouched, white sandy beaches are a key feature on Hong Van, Van Chay, Co To Be, and Thanh Lan islands, where the best beaches of Co To are found. Thanks to such spectacular nature, the island district has been experiencing soaring tourism development. Statistics show that the number of tourists to Co To has surged in recent years. In 2013, the district welcomed some 56,000 visitors, with the figure going on to double in the following years. Last year, the island served 320,000 tourists. During peak holiday months, Co To can welcome some 7,000-10,000 tourists per day.

Recently, a master plan for the socio-economic development of Co To towards 2020 was approved, aiming to make the island district a national-level eco-tourism and resort area. This would place it together with the high-end sea and island eco-tourism area of Van Don, and become a key destination on the popular Cat Ba-Ha Long-Van Don-Co To-Mong Cai-Tra Co tour with diverse tourism products, including sports and entertainment centers. A plan for tourism development for 2020 with a vision to 2030 has also been approved, along with an action program to make tourism a spearhead sector of the district. SOURCE:  VNA

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Halong Bay among 15 most beautiful heritages

Halong Bay. A forum was underway in Halong city, the northern province of Quang Ninh, to seek measures to promote the sustainable development of green economy and tourism. The event on June 23 and 24 is organised by the Quang Ninh provincial Department of Tourism and the institute for communication and cultural studies under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. It attracted about 200 participants, including officials of the culture, environment and foreign ministries, domestic and foreign economic experts, and businesses in the tourism industry. They discussed policies for sustainably developing economy and tourism, solutions to develop green economy and tourism, Japan’s experience in the field, support for small-and medium-sized enterprises to use green production technologies, and investors and businesses’ role in developing green tourism sustainably. Le Doan Hop, Director of the institute for communication and cultural studies, said green tourism helps protect the nature and culture. The development of green tourism has been generating enormous economic benefits and creating chances to increase jobs and income for local communities, especially in remote areas which are home to nature reserves and attractive landscapes. Green tourism has also helped improve people’s knowledge and health through environmental, cultural, historical and leisure activities, he added. Other participants highlighted the need to use natural resources reasonably, reduce waste from tourism activities, apply environmentally friendly technologies in creating tourism products, and prioritise eco-tourism. They also looked into effective solutions to promote green economic and tourism development amid globalisation. At the forum, the organising board is set to honour the outstanding groups and persons in economic and tourism development. Participants will also tour some green economic-tourism sites in Quang Ninh province. The event is an activity in response to the National Tourism Year 2018, which centres on Quang Ninh and its Ha Long city.

The US newspaper Newsweek has listed Halong Bay of Vietnam among the Top 100 most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which include both natural and man-made wonders. Halong Bay in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh was placed in the 14th position. “Halong Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars,” the Newsweek described. 

“Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site’s outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest,” it said.

The Newsweek’s Top 100 most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites have been picked out from the UNESCO list of over 1,000 protected places across the globe. Halong Bay, a must-go place for those who spend holidays in Vietnam, which has been twice recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Halong Bay has been named one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The heritage site has become a magnet drawing visitors to Quang Ninh. Last year, the province welcomed a total of 9.87 million tourists, including 4.28 million foreigners. The province aims to attract over 12 million visitors this year, including 5 million foreigners.

Hai Phong Tourism: Hai Phong
Typhoon water park: Halong Water park
Halong Forum: Green tourism

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Cat Ba Island

The dragon, sent by the Jade Emperor, descended from heaven into the sea and sprayed a thousand pearls from its mouth. From these cascading pearls, the 1,600 shaggy limestone stacks of Halong Bay emerged, a huge curvature of jumbled karst fortress designed to protect Vietnam from invaders in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Most visitors to Vietnam sail past the rocky outcrops – some soaring 100m high – on boat cruises, but last month Vietnam’s first tourism seaplane launched, flying visitors over the Unesco world heritage site and giving them spectacular dragon-eye views.    

Hai Au Aviation’s Cessna Grand Caravan, carrying 10 passengers, flies low over the entire panoramic karst fest – a vast area of 43,400 ha of drowned limestone karst some 165 km from the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi in northern Vietnam.

The towering outcrops of Halong Bay, which means ‘where the dragon descends to the sea’, dwarfed the pleasure boats on their overnight cruises and from the air the forested boulders now looked like mossy lumps and bumps – the stepping stones of a giant, plopped on an emerald green pond.

As a passenger on the first flight, I could see parts of the bay not visible from a cruise boat – lush, sculpted valleys and hidden lakes which shimmered in the late afternoon sun. It was like glimpsing a primeval land untouched since the mother goddess of Vietnam Au Co, and the dragon prince, Lac Long Quan, met on earth thousands of years ago before they gave birth to the ancestors of modern Vietnam.

The new seaplane service also takes visitors to the bay from Hanoi airport – a 30 minute flight compared to four hours by road – before landing at the local marina. From here, visitors board different cruises, with varying price tags, to explore Halong Bay by boat.

Designated a Unesco world heritage site 20 years ago this year, the bay is one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist attractions. It is only recently though, that a small number of cruise boats have ventured further east into the Gulf of Tonkin, to the outer rocky flanks of Bai Tu Long.

I escaped the congestion of Halong Bay with Bhaya’s three-day cruise to Bai Tu Long on the Au Co with her 32 handsome wood cabins with balconies.

The white ship (in a mysterious move, authorities ordered all the boats in the bay to be painted white, the same color as the fog that can envelop the area) heads first to Bai Tu Long, the outer battlements of the limestone fort, before cruising back through Halong Bay at the end of the trip.

Bai Tu Long means ‘the place where the dragon children descended’. It’s an isolated, otherworldly, remote area of the gulf, scattered with knobbly peaks, pillars fringed with untidy twigs, solid limestone sentinels cut with sheer bare-faced rock and, every once in a while, an apron of creamy sand seen tied to the base of the towers.

We cruised to one of these – Vung Ha Beach – a crescent-shaped bay at the base of a crouching outcrop with jagged, castellated peaks. After kayaking through the undercut of a nearby stack, we abandoned the paddles and dived in to the warm, papaya green waters. After a long soak, it was time to sit on coral-shattered sands that were perfumed by the fragrance of a white bloom floating over the beach.

Back on board, we supped on the happy hour flow of cocktails and Hanoi beer with the Au Co guests, hailing from Australia, Europe, America and Vietnam. At dusk, when the wings of the golden crow – the sun of Vietnam’s creation story – hovered over the unkempt rocky lumps, fishing boats puttered by and sampans slouched under the overhangs. Then, when the graceful swan of the moon ascended, all that was visible in this distant spot away from other tour boats were the dying violet clouds and inky black outlines of limestone monoliths. The stars hung very far away in the intensely black sky and the small wake of the fishing boats caused the moonlight to shimmer in slithers, making it look as if stars were dropping into the waters.

Our breakfast in the Au Co dining room came with more spectacular views as we cruised just meters past the scattered islands of Bai Tu Long. Some of the pillars were jagged like the scales of a mythical dragon, some just stumps, others appeared in traditional jelly-mold shape and some like a batch of misshapen rock cakes. In the distance, we spied a dense army of lead grey pillars studded with the tufts of hardy plants glued to the vertical shafts of the rock.

Sheltered in a barnacled corner of Bai Tu Long is Vung Vieng village. In an attempt to control pollution in the bay, fisherman has either been exported to land or corralled into floating communities by the government. We boarded bamboo boats so the locals could row us around their village and oyster pearl farming plots. Au Co’s Mr Tuan explained: “Locals sell these pearls for jewelry, cosmetics, and medicine. It takes a year to 18 months to cultivate pearls but only around 30 percent of the farmed oysters grow pearls.”

After being rowed around Vung Vieng and a lot of leisurely sitting around under the canvas umbrellas of the Au Co, we all felt it was time to exercise – but not before feasting for lunch. The Au Co’s cuisine is based on the Taoist philosophy of balance and harmony and our five course meals included delicate dragon fruit and Phan Thiet scallops, grilled minced Halong fish on lemongrass, chicken roulade with onion cream, and an intense passion fruit pannacotta.

Stomachs full, we moored off the south-east corner of Cat Ba, the largest island in Halong Bay, a colossal karst platform, straggled by smaller tiny islands, and home to a rare and endemic primate.

“In 1960, there were 2,700 Cat Ba langurs, but they’ve all been eaten,” Mr Tuan told us. “Since 2000, the number has increased from 53 to 65, and there is now good conservation education in the local villages.”

Accompanied by zooming green dragonflies, we biked through a Jurassic Park wonderland of limestone walls flanked with feral plants and bushes to Viet Hai, a small, repopulated village where the Au Co employs locals at its organic farm. We didn’t see any primates above ground but below ground was a different story.

Halong Bay’s grottoes have been visited since the French discovered them more than 100 years ago. At Hang Sung Sot (Surprise Cave), Mr Tuan pointed out the subterranean images seen in the whipped up floors and ceilings of the chambers – Kong Kong’s face was here, a turtle symbolizing longevity there, and the tail of a dragon rippled above our heads. It reminded us, again, of Halong’s ‘descending dragon’ and its protection of this extraordinary Unesco landscape.

Best time to visit: Halong Bay can be visited year-round. The best time to visit is September and October, and March and April.

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