Halong Bay is gifted with beautiful landscapes – the Bay itself is already enthralling place to be in, not to mention other attractions to visit for a day trip or cruise tour.
Following are some of the most charming spots for sightseeing in Halong Bay. Others are simply countless to name.
Vong Vieng Village
Located far away from the highly popular Cat Ba Island, the littlefishing village of VongViengis off the beaten path. With just about 50 families calling it home and apopulation of300 residents, it is truly a great place to spend the day, relax and soak up the laid-back atmosphere.
Out of the four fishing villages in Ha Long Bay, Vong Vieng is the les touristy, a perfect fit for travelers seeking to experience local life. After disembarking the mother boat, you will be transferred by rowing boats or do kayaks to enter VongVieng. The village offers a chance for travelers to experience the villager’s daily life as well as observe the traditional culture and customs of the fishermen.
These families have lived in this village for generations. They go about their daily lives, oblivious to the buzz surrounding the Heritage site of Ha Long Bay. Living far away from the bustling tourist attractions, the people at VongVieng is friendly and all smiley to curious visitors. It is interesting to take part in the making of fishing nets and processing fishes. The rambunctious children make up one third of the local population and their presence livens up the quitet fishing life.
Once you’ve set food on the peaceful village of VongVieng, be sure to stay over night for the exciting communal activities which only unfold in the evening. Under the majestic moonlight, tourists sit on woven bamboo boats beside the crackling fire, breathe fresh air, listen to folk song duets, drop flower garlands and colored lanterns for luck and watchthe fishermen catching marine products. If you’re lucky to arrive at VongVieng during the annual Ha Long Tourism Week, you’re welcome to participate inthe fishing village festival. Exciting activities vary fromfolk song singing contest, culinary competition, swimming competition and boat handling competition etc.
Tien Ong Cave.
TienOng Cave is the newest addition to the vast collection of 2000 islets in the World Heritage Ha Long Bay. The name TienOng Cave is yet to ring a bell to many tourists, but the cave is on its way to become a star in Ha Long itinerary.
Covering an area of nearly 1,000 m2, the cave is spectacular for its sheer size. It is separated into two chambers by a tall rustic stone pillar. The cave door, after thousand years of direct contact with sea water, has been covered with a layer of emerald green moss, giving it a primitive charm. The system of stalactites inside TienOng Cave is nothing short of stunning compared to those inside the finest caves in Ha Long Bay, such as Sung Sot Grotto or ThienCung Cave. They can take any forms and shapes, from peacock, crocodile or a mighty man. Recently they have been ornamented with well-manicured lights to look all the more magnificent. The grotto can be likened to a hauntingly beautiful museum built by Planet Earth.
Besides its natural beauty, TienOng Cave also draws attention from archaeological experts for containing stone artifact assemblages from HoaBinh Culture that dated to 10000-2000 BCE. If you’re lucky to go with a knowledgeable and experienced guide, your trip will be even more eye-opening with fantastic history lessons of cave exploration. TienOng Cave was officially opened for tourism in 2010, satisfying both Ha Long Bay enthusiasts and archaeology buffs.
Day and Night Grotto
There are around 3000 islands and islets in Ha Long Bay, but the Day and Night grotto stands out for the mingling of a number of factors: the splendid mountain, the emerald green water and the floating clouds.
Day and Night grotto is not only known for the stunning limestone structure at every turn but also for the interesting natural habitat. On the cliff one still find traces of fossils of fresh-water snails, which prove that the cave was inhabited thousands of years ago. Monkeys run to and fro in groups, benjamin fig trees shade the landscape and many orchids hang their sweet-scented flowers.
Not many attractions are blessed with such a stunning beauty and diverse ecosystem as Ha Long Bay, and the Day and Night Grotto rightfully deserves as a an inevitable part of the Heritage stie.
Cua Van Village.
Ha Long Bay is famous worldwide for its natural beauty, most tourists travel across oceans and continents to Vietnam for that reason. If you’re looking for cultural interaction, however, you can’t get better than the community of fishing villages there. Out of the four villages in Ha Long Bay, Cua Van village is the top attraction. Situated on a calm bay surround by mountains, 20km away from the tourist boat wharf, Cua Van village is a tranquil haven for travelers who want to experience the authentic lives of the local people. Another reason to pay a visit to the village is that it is also home to an interesting marine and coastal ecosystem.
Cua Van Fishing Village
As the largest fishing village in Ha Long Bay, Cua Van has a population of 733 in 176 households. They live on floating houses and call fishing their bread and butter. Cua Van can be considered the “wealthiest” village in Ha Long Bay. Their floating houses look spacious and clean. The well-off families even have tiled roof houses with radios, television sets, tables and chairs, etc.
When thinking about Ha Long Bay, the image that frequently crosses people’s minds is the surreal breathtaking mountains rising from the emerald green water. But Ha Long Bay is not all about world-class caves and grottos. There are local people who go about their daily lives with an optimistic attitude. Visiting the village, tourists have a chance to experience the villagers’ daily life as well as the traditional culture and customs of the fishermen, the often overlooked main characters of the World Heritage Area of Halong Bay. Observing the making of fish nets and fishing is good lesson for kids and an interesting experience for adults from other cultural backgrounds. Looking at the small boats driven by tiny oars going to school, the radiant faces of the children, and their rambunctious calling, one feels confident in a bright future for the fishing village.
In recent years, the locals at Cua Van village have been more engaged in the tourism industry in Ha Long Bay. Aside from fishing, many families also offer homestay and participate in environment awareness campaign. It’s no wonder why Cua Van has become a tourist attraction and has been present in the itinerary of almost all tourist agencies.
Sung Sot – The surprisingly beautiful caves.
It is rather easy for visitors to guess how Sung Sot took its name. Sung Sot, or Surprise Cave in English, amaze almost anyone who sets his or her foot here for the heavenly beauty. The cave is made up of karst shaped in countless form.
Sung Sot Cave
As you walk down the path to explore the cave, you cannot help the endless imagination and association of these formations with real life figures such as tortoise, dragon, sword. So let the imagination soar! A visit to Sung Sot cave is included in most cruise so you know you won’t miss it.
Bai Tu Long Bay – a wildly enchanting place
If Halong Bay is compared to a glamorous beauty queen surrounded by reporters and followers, BaiTu Long Bay is to an original and charming one without much public attention. Lesser known than its sister, BaiTu long is another secret haven.
Bai Tu Long Bay
There are not yet many tours delivered, the beach remains pristine, and residents are more local fishermen than tourism service workers. Among all cruises deliver tours to Halong Bay, a few anchor in BaiTu Long such as Santa Maria, Dragon Pearl and White Dolphin. These are smaller boats, offering a less luxury but definitely more tranquil feel as one tour the Bay.