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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay: Magic on Earth

Sunset colors at Halong Bay, Vietnam

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also often listed as one of the top natural wonders of the world. I simply call it ‘magic on earth’! This magic is formed by the blue waters of the bay coupled with the densely forested limestone islands that rise mysteriously out of the ocean floor at about 1,600 places.

>Vietnam's Halong Bay - one of mother nature's best creations

Immensely popular with backpackers around the world, Ha Long (descending dragon) bay in Northern Vietnam’s Quang Ninh province is seriously special as it provides you with the experience of some of the most scenic ocean karst topography in the world. Most visitors soak in these lovely views while living in a local cruise ship on the Halong bay waters for a few days to a few weeks.

Kayaking in misty Halong Bay, Vietnam

They fish, they swim, they relax on its pristine beaches and they make merry. They climb to panoramic viewpoints, they watch different flora and fauna, they go on cave adventures, explore hidden lakes, experience floating villages and a lot of partying during the night.

Gorgeous view of limestone karsts from Cat Ba Island, Vietnam

The adventure enthusiasts have a much different kind of fun. From rock climbing to cliff jumping and from kayaking to caving, Halong bay spoils the ocean adventurer. The many different crags on these limestone mountains excite the rock climbers, who sweat it out while climbing these steep rocks and then finally cool it off by diving into the ocean waters for a relaxing dip. As most of the limestone karsts are closely packed together with shallow waters between them, the cruise ships cannot come close to them. Rather, it is the kayakers who can explore its many hollow caves, shallow waters and the many desolate, white sandy beaches that are teeming with hermit crabs and other exotic marine species.

Beautiful nature at Halong Bay, Vietnam

The land adventure lovers are not to be left far behind as there are the many rich and biodiverse islets that are home to many endemic floral and faunal species that have made this place their home amongst the tropical evergreen oceanic environment. You can simply climb up the small ones for deeper exploration and panoramic views or trek through the dense foliage of the much larger ones to be simply amazed at the variety that this place has to offer. And sometimes you can climb into the hollow confines of some of these islands that are home to enormous cave systems and gape at the wonders of the numerous stalactites and stalagmites.

Sunset view from Cat Ba Island, Vietnam

Whatever be your thrill, this natural wonder called Halong Bay is bound to delight you with its magical elements. I am pretty sure that most of you will have it right up there in your Vietnam travel bucket list, but even so, do ensure that you keep some time at hand to experience the magic of Halong bay!

Best Season to Visit

Yellow boathouse at Halong Bay, Vietnam

The summer months are usually the best time of the year to explore Halong Bay as that is the time when the days are bright and sunny and the views are clear. Usually winters are wet, cloudy and gloomy with poor visibility. But, having said that, ocean weather is unpredictable and can change any time. Halong bay is open all year around except for when there are heavy rains and/or storms.

How to get there

Remote white sandy beach in Halong Bay, Vietnam

The nearest airport is Hanoi and it is the nearest large city for all emergency and luxury hotel needs. The nearest road access is Halong city. Usually, visitors opt for tours from Hanoi, but I would also recommend staying at Cat Ba Island and exploring Halong Bay from there, either as day trips or on cruise ships.



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