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Ha Long Bay is Vietnam's most celebrated sights and a chosen World Heritage Site. Its seascape offers fantastic sites of fragmented limestone outcroppings, sheer coves, huge rock archways and tranquil coves. The majority of the rock formations increase in the sea to levels between 300 and 900 foot like eco-friendly-clad plaster monsters. For those intrigued by the prospects of visiting a historic seaside port that features a cache of sights and sounds, Ha Long Bay is a manna from heaven. 

The title Ha Long Bay, or "where the dragon descends to the sea", features its own origin inside an ancient legend, according to that the huge dragon descended and assisted the Vietnamese inside their combat northern burglars. After victory, the dragon which is youthful ongoing to become, turning to be fencing of rocky islands to guard the neighborhood people. Even today, ocean adventurers and native people still claim sightings from the giant sea monster. A couple of outcroppings, caves and grottoes feature an exotic appearance. Hanoi can be a hectic collage of sights, sounds and smells. Public of motorbikes roar lower streets, and bike and vehicle horns are constantly honking. Women wearing traditional conical hay hats carry rods with baskets on every finish, small shops overflow with colorful embroidery, food providers sell cooked pigeons utilizing their heads still on, and signs cover structures.

More than 4,000 years, in the humble fishing village with a busy seaport, the city has prospered over the banks in the Red-colored-colored River in Northern Vietnam. The seaport was presented with the title ' (river) Noi (in) by King Minh Mang in 1831. Hanoi might be the nation's intellectual and cultural heart that attracts the most effective and smartest artists from across the country. Many streets inside the old district are named following a products made there formerly, and you'll still encounter shrines every occasionally devoted to have an artisan's god.

Since the northern capital, Hanoi was heavily bombed through the Vietnam War. Still, you'll find pointers in history, including French colonial architecture and 1,000-year-old temples and pagodas. The primary city city, where you can 6.5 million people, boasts parks with gnarled banyan trees and a lot of ponds, some peppered with swan watercraft. The Hoa Lo Prison or "Hanoi Hilton" where U.S. Sen. John McCain was jailed just like a Bang is just about the website from the high-rise. Great hotels and-finish shopping also beckon travelers.

Most cruise travelers achieve Hanoi via Ha Long Bay where a lot of the large cruise ships anchor. The bay is among Vietnam's most celebrated sights, a couple of,000 limestone islands define an incredible natural UNESCO World Heritage site.

A trip round the water in the bay might be the kind of awe-inspiring experience travelers crave. Sit in the Vietnamese junk (boat) on silk couches and drink eco-friendly tea or local beer when you cruise to the mist in the large bay, past giant, rough limestone formations adhering in the sea.

According to legend, a dragon sent with the gods to help the Vietnamese fight Chinese burglars, fell to the bay and produced the islands. Really, these islands have observed their share of warring -- the bay is within the Gulf of Tonkin, where Vietnamese and U.S. forces first fought against against.

The islands mostly are not lived on, and a lot of form odd shapes -Body seems much like your face in profile, another like two roosters fighting. Their sheer coves and otherworldly presence has inspired authors, poets and artists. 

Where You are Docked
Many large cruise ships anchor in Ha Long Bay, and tenders take people on of a 10-minute ride to the tourist capital Bai Chay in which a classic vehicle ferry  used to load and unload cruising motorcycles. Bai Chay, which along with nearby Hong Gai is by using one another known to as Ha long Bay City, might be the main tourist position for Ha long Bay. Turn left within the tender pier and walk about a quarter-hour to purchase souvenirs, coffee together with other goods at tourist areas. Coffee houses, book stores there offer refreshments, and Internet access can be found at Emotion Cybernet Cafe for approximately 400 VND for each minute. Adjacent "hotel alley" is an additional way to obtain Internet coffee houses, book stores and Wi-Fi access.

Within the Halong Bay commercial pier, a boardwalk offers souvenir stalls, casual coffee houses, book stores and outdoors disco stages. Cruise ships pier at a number of ports inside the Hanoi area: Ha Long Bay, Haiphong and Cai Lan. Most ships pier or are tendered at Ha long Bay, of a 3.5-hour drive from Hanoi, as it is one of the much much deeper ports together with an excellent tourist destination by itself. Ha Long Bay can be a scenic and popular area in northern Vietnam. There's very little to find out in Hai Extended City because so many visitor's mind straight out for just about any harbor cruise. For people coming by cruise ship, Vietnam's capital of Hanoi can be a 4-6 hour drive and 100 miles for the west.

Cai Lan can be a quite recent deep-water port about 10 miles from Ha Long Bay and two to three several hours from Hanoi. It is a busy cargo port serving only numerous cruise ships and contains no passenger amenities.

Haiphong is Vietnam's third greatest city and northern Vietnam's most critical seaport. The primary harbor city can be found round the Red-colored-colored River, about 62 miles from Hanoi. Will still be employed by cruise lines, including Very, Oceania and Regent. The ships pier inside the container port where you'll find no tourist sights or facilities, although there's dining and shopping in Haiphong city. Hanoi is about single.5-hour drive within the port.
There's frequent bus service between Hanoi and  Ha Long Bay with departures every 30 minutes between 6am and 6pm nevertheless the simplest approach to achieve Hanoi in the port is always to arrange transport via your ship's shoreline trip shuttles or possibly an automobile or van getting a person hired in the reliable tour company. Taxis might be a cost-saving option, particularly for three or four people (five will easily fit into some cars and vans), however amounts are restricted. Most taxi drivers don't speak British, so ensure the fare is settled just before getting inside the vehicle. Also, be suspicious of British sound system across the port areas who are ready to negotiate with taxi drivers. Once they have you certainly pay them back as opposed to the motive pressure, keep in mind that you are probably being overcharged. Browse around if whatsoever possible.

In Hanoi: Taxis may be the simplest approach to circumvent inside the city. You may also arrange an individual and guide just before the cruise. In case your taxi driver tries to negotiate a fixed fee, it probably is not in your favor reliable taxi companies have metered cars. 
Be Cautious For

In Hanoi, motorbike traffic might make crossing an energetic street rather terrifying. Tag along with residents to combine, due to there being safety in amounts. Negotiate cab costs upfront to avoid "add-ons" within the finish in the ride. As well as, don't placed on fancy jewelry and then try to safeguard your possessions from pickpockets, specifically in busy areas.

A junk cruise on Halong Bay could be the highlight from the trip or possibly a significant disaster. Many commercial junks will be in poor repair and therefore are not successful of Western safety standards. The reduced sign in cost, a lot more likely you'll find yourself one of these brilliant sketchy junks. In this particular situation, you obtain everything you purchase. Booking after you have turned up in Halong Bay also increases your chance of getting cheated or falling victim to bait and switch. Do your research on TripAdvisor, Cruise Critic together with other boards to get the junk trip good for you, and reserve it in advance.

Things to See
The main activity at ' Extended Bay is always to possess a cruise in the bay. Multiple tour operators run cruise ships different in routes, class (luxury versus budget), and duration of cruise. Tickets for individuals this really is this is not on group packages might be purchased at ticket counters inside the information building at Bai Chay. Overlook the touts outdoors. 

For people likely to Hanoi, the city's sights include

Hanoi Old Quarter

Ho Chi Minh Museum & Mausoleum - resting place and public viewing of Vietnam's best-known leader

Ho Chi Minh's Residence

Hoa Lo Prison - a common prison also known as the Hanoi Hilton 

Museum of Ethnology

One Pillar Pagoda

Thang Extended Water Puppet Theater

Local Sightseeing 
Just in case your ship is at port for a few days, think about a weekend Halong Bay cruise around the luxurious Vietnamese junk. It is really an entirely different experience of the entire- and half-day tours that deal with a lot of other junks that visit the same islands and caves concurrently. The overnight junks are fantastically detailed and crafted with polished teak or mahogany. The cabin rental fees really are a little small, but each possesses its own bathroom, as well as the beds are full-size and cozy. A number of these two- or three-story junks have more than twelve cabin rental fees and serve tasty multi course Vietnamese meals in nicely hired dining rooms. An entire bar with beer together with a good selection of affordable ($15-$40) wines could be acquired.

One of the finest complaints from day-boat junk cruising motorcycles might be the numerous watercraft cruising the bay inside the same areas as well as the a lot more crowded beaches and cave tours. The overnight junk businesses that own these floating hotels have contracts while using government to cruise in waters your entire day watercraft can't. They cruise in out-of-the-way parts of Halong Bay restricted to their junks as well as the fisherman and families who survive the bay in floating cities. These companies offer permits for exclusive usage of specific islands with private beaches offering cave exploring, kayaking, and swimming. But what really means they are excursions special might be the magical twilight time, when you're moored in the cove among mist-shrouded islands with this is the sounds of untamed wild birds as well as the ice clinking within your cocktail glass.

Considering military history? Use a cab and mind 8.5 miles south for the city's edges as well as the Ho Chi Minh Trail Museum. You will notice three flooring of photographs and a lot of items of weaponry and war machinery. Keep in mind, traffic heading south might be a nightmare, so it will require an hour or so approximately or maybe more to acquire there. (3 Ngoc ' Street)

Hoan Kiem Lake, in the center of Hanoi, might be the city's Central Park together with a peaceful place to walk, jog or observe local existence. Explore the stunning pagodas and temples, possess a photo op within the extended, Chinese-style Bridge in the Rising Sun, ride a swan boat or simply grab a snack at one of the small coffee houses, book stores and unwind. Every morning, people trip to rehearse tai-chi and fighting styles later inside the day, senior citizens males gather to see chess. Giant turtles inhabit the forest, so be searching.
Ha Long Bay
This unique UNESCO World Heritage Site is a popular place for tourists but it is good to know that large parts of Ha Long Bay are officially protected from development. The islands vary greatly in size and shape as well as structure.
Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island is the most popular destination in the bay and every tour company offers a trip to the island. Cat Ba is full of the usual tourist scenario; hotels, restaurants, and bars; still Cat Ba’s locals have carried on doing exactly what their ancestors did for generations before – fishing.
Dau Be Island
This is a very popular swimming and diving spot because of its rich coral and deep grottoes with three inland lakes. The grottoes and caves can only be visited by rowing boat at low tide, when access is possible.
Dau Go Island
Dau Go Island is known for its large and colourful cave which has many stalactites and stalagmites, some of them more than 20 metres high.
Floating Villages and Fish Farms
The bay's floating villages draw a lot of attention and are one of the highlights of the trip. Locals have been living in these floating houses for many generations as fishing is still the villagers' main income. Some communities offer reasonably priced home-stays to visitors, too. If you pass by them on your cruise, don’t be surprised if the boat's on-board chef stops to shop for fresh seafood from one.
Hung Sung Sot Cave at Bo Hon Island
Hung Sung Sot Cave is located on the same island as Virgin Cave and has a steep path lined with shady trees. There are two chambers in the cave with a square-shaped outer chamber and a ceiling about 30 metres high. The inner chamber formations look like sentries conversing with one another and another formation, resembling a general surveying his troops, lies in the middle of the chamber. The moving light reflected from the water outside seems to bring these formations to life.
Pelican Cave at Bo Hon Island
Pelican Cave (Hang Bo Nau) is also popular with tourists. Many of them love to take photos of this cave and its spectacular stalactites hanging from the ceiling.
Virgin Cave at Bo Hon Island
The Virgin Cave (Hang Trinh Nu) is one of the most famous caves in Halong Bay. It is probably best known for its shrine. Legend claims that a beautiful woman committed suicide in the cave, unable to return home after being forced to marry an old Mandarin. Here her body tuned into stone. Another similar legend says this girl escaped from a Mandarin that forced her to marry him because her father could not pay a debt. When fishermen found her body, they buried her here and built a small shrine inside the grotto.
Don't Miss

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum can be a concrete structure patterned on Lenin's tomb in Moscow. "Uncle Ho," the Communist revolutionary who began the revolution in 1949 and died in 1969 (six years before unified Communist Vietnam was established), is embalmed there and is seen under glass within the khaki suit. Begin to see the vary from the pads around noon. (Ba Dinh Square open 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday free admission)

Nearby might be the beautiful, yellow French colonial Presidential Structure, built-in 1901 for your French governor. If you want to tour the Ho Chi Minh Residence, mind around back. The latest, selecting an easier existence, made a decision to appear in a modest structure on stilts behind the dwelling. Beautiful grounds surround both houses. (Behind the Presidential Structure, Ba Dinh Square open 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday Tickets $1.20)

Nearby, the Ho Chi Minh Museum (3 Ngo ' open 8 .am. to noon Monday and Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. other days tickets $1.20 adding to $4 with British speaking guide) gives particulars in the Communist revolutionary's existence and shows his personal items. The only best photo op nearby might be the main one-Pillar Pagoda (open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily free admission), a duplicate from the shrine built-in 1049 perched around the concrete pillar in the scenic lake. A prayer there's mentioned to produce fertility and a sound body.

The Temple of Literature dates to 1070 which is devoted for the Chinese philosopher Confucius. The attractive structures and temples, set around four courtyards, were bombed throughout world war ii but are actually restored. (Quoc Tu Giam Street open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily small admission fee)

Hanoi's crazy, hectic Old Quarter is important-do stop for souvenir shopping (in the little shop, we found a silk purse for $6 that individuals paid out $60 for in Boston) also to begin to see the market scene.

Shoreline Activities
Ideal for Halong Bay: Even if you don't kayak, consider booking the Kayak Adventure (8.5 several hours) in Halong Bay. You'll depart in the luxurious junk to educate yourself regarding a couple of from the 2,000 rock formations inside the bay. The initial stop is at a speed boat village. You'll be able to slowly move the floating houses within your two-person kayak or just stick to when in the junk and like the sun. The trip may also add a visit one of the surrenders the location, for instance Surprise Cave. One makes its way into using a hole in the mountain and uncover yourself in the huge space spectacularly filled with stalagmites and stalactites. Lunch can be a fresh ocean food feast based on Vietnamese beer or sodas. Short boat excursions may be available to research the bay too.

Best Hanoi Overview: The 12-hour Hanoi tour may be the simplest approach to start to see the city. Sights are the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature then one Pillar Pagoda. You'll have time to research the Old Quarter on your own, and lunch is provided inside a nice hotel. The ride to Hanoi is about 3.5 several hours each well past grain paddies, metropolitan areas and coal mines.

For people who wish more, a Hanoi overnight tour may also be offered, having a hotel stay and additional Hanoi sights including a vacation to Ngoc Boy Temple by having an island in Sword Lake, the Fine Arts Museum together with a water puppet performance (the puppeteers pull the strings underwater).
Eating Out
In Vietnam, like the other parts of Asia, grain and noodles are food staples. Consequently in the French colonial period's influence, the cuisine is respected by food fanatics around the globe. Fresh herbal remedies and hot chilies are situated in several dishes including their just like unhealthy foods, pho soup. Pho (pronounced fuh) is flavored with fresh vegetables and savory stock, which is a breakfast, dinner and lunch favorite. Vietnam's extended ocean coast and abundant rivers and ponds are sources for sea food, crab, shrimp and squid generally on menus. Nuoc mam, a pungent fermented sea food sauce, might be the most well-liked condiment, on virtually every dining area table within the u . s . states.

Stored inside the Old Quarter, Eco-friendly Tangerine offers French-Vietnamese cuisine inside an elegant, peaceful setting.. There is also a colorful combination of travelers and well-heeled residents as of this welcoming dining place -- the symbol of a effective restaurant. (48 Hang Be 04/825-1286 open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily)

The Gourmet Corner restaurant can be found round the twelfth floor in the Elegance Gem Hotel, overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake, the Red-colored-colored River as well as the Hanoi skyline. District offers outdoors terrace diner for decent nights. Menu includes authentic Vietnamese food, additionally to Western-style cuisine including meat and pasta. Your foods are fantastic, the help are friendly as well as the pricing is reasonable. (32 Lo Su Street Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem District open daily each morning, dinner and lunch)

The Essence restaurant can be found in heart in the Old Quarter inside the Essence Hanoi hotel and will be offering authentic Vietnamese and Western dishes. Areas include fried spring comes and grilled bamboo beef. Dinner for just two costs $20-$30. Employees is extremely helpful, and Wi-Fi could be acquired free of charge. (22 Ta Hien Street, Hoan Kiem  84 4 3935 2485, ext. 105 open daily for supper and lunch)

For something different-of-pace from local cuisine, try the Moose & Roo Pub & Grill. Foods are a bit more pricey than local Vietnamese spots, but useful in the event you crave a u . s . states-styled attracted pork sandwich, sea food taco or cheeseburger. District has a fantastic choice of foreign and domestic ales. Services are professional and friendly. (42b Ma May  84 4 3200 1289 open each morning, dinner and lunch).

In Halong Bay City: Unless of course obviously you're by having an overnight junk cruise, Halong Bay isn't recognized for its dining scene, particularly for site site visitors. It's probably best revisit the ship for just about any nice meal. New resort hotels are increasingly being built, that may improve dining options.
Shopping is one of the most popular activities when one travels. In Halong Bay, shopping is not about big malls with branded items. Expect a different shopping experience when you are in the area. The following places are a good  starting point:
Halong Market
Being constructed and officially operated in 2003, the new Halong Market is one of the most attractive destinations in the city that draw a huge number of local and international tourists coming for shopping. The market is located in the center of Halong City at Bach Dang Street, and considered the largest markets of this coastal city. Products which are exhibited and sold here are diverse in range from normal to luxurious goods and pretty competitive in price. Customers are easy to find anything here, from clothes, accessories, and electrical devices. Food and drinks are also sold in small restaurants in the market. Moreover, this is also one of the places that sell specialties of Halong City, such as dried squid or seafood, with most ensured quality and reasonable price. Halong Market opens all 7 days a week, from 6.00 am to 6.30 pm
Halong Night Market
For various tourists who visit to Halong City, Halong Night Market is a place that they should not miss out. The market is a group of more than a hundred stalls which sell diverse types of products, such as handicrafts, handmade accessories, clothes, and other dispensable items such as swimwear, lotion, or hat. Tourists tend to come to this place for purchasing unique products of the beach city like necklaces made from seashells, snails, wooden small boats, or T-shirt with images of Halong Bay on. And the great things is that sellers here are friendly with advance English skill, so that tourists should not be worry about bargaining, posing, and tourists can have a nice chat with them about this charming city. Halong Night Market opens 7 days a week, from 6.00pm until midnight
Bai Chay Commercial Center
Being established on the base of a minuscule market at Vuon Dao Street, Bai Chay Commercial Center is one of the largest and most modern shopping center in Halong City. Products here are diverse from regular to deluxe goods, and price range is a little bit higher than other markets in the city. However, this extra money is paid for better services, as well as ensured quality of each product.

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