Useful local tips in Halong Bay
Besides being one of most attractive and unique destinations in the world, Halong Bay also has the beauty of the legend. With thousands of grandiose islands, this place is considered as a wonderful gift from nature, is recognized by UNESCO as the World Natural Heritage Site.
What is the best time to visit Halong Bay?
Because locating in the North of Vietnam, Halong Bay has 4 different seasons and almost at any time throughout the year you can visit Halong Bay.
In the spring, there is still the possibility of rainy and foggy conditions but the fog is not as thick as in the winter. This is the time of flowers blooming and swallows flying over the bay. Besides that, the sun shines constantly all day, and the water is gentle and calm. With this weather, tourist can truly experience the best of Ha Long as they are cruising slowly around and staring at the breathtaking scenery.
Hot and Moist Summer
Summer will bring clear views of the stunning islands and pleasant swimming temperatures, the sun shines from very early morning until as late as 7 pm in Halong, which makes you feel the daytime is longer than the night time. This time also gives you the perfect chance to have sun-tanned skin and is an ideal time for cruising and kayaking. On the other hand, from July and August, there may be infrequent typhoons so you will be cancel or delay your trip.
Autumn is also perfect time for couples or small families to have private life-time experiences together while sailing through Ha Long Bay. The average temperature is lower than 27°C, so you can enjoy the cool and pleasant atmosphere. From October onwards, it is the ideal time for tourists to take a cruise on the bay. The wonderful weather will enable you to enjoy all activities offered on board while making sightseeing as perfect as it could be.
Swimming and sunbathing in Halong
Cold and Dry Winter
Winter officially arrives at Ha Long Bay in November and gets colder and colder in January and February. The highest temperature reaches to only 20°C, while the temperature can drop to about 8°C. It is possible to take a boat cruise in Ha Long Bay in winter. Although swimming is not suitable, you still will be had a lot of exciting activities in this season and you can also sightseeing the thick fog possesses a mystery beauty.
Halong in the clouds
In conclusion, the best for travelling Halong will be from April to October because at that time, the weather is quite cool and nice. However, you can also come here in the winter months. The weather can be quite cold and cloudy, sometimes rainy but it will be the best time for private trip with a fanciful scenery of the islands between clouds.
How to get to Halong Bay?
About 170km away from Hanoi capital with 3 – 4 hours go by car, Halong Bay is easily accessible by different means of transportation.
This type of transfer is available for departing from Hanoi center only. The shuttle bus can be understood as “tourist bus”, leaving Hanoi around 08:00 and return at 12:00 from Halong Bay every day. If your hotel is located in Hanoi Old Quarter, you will be picked up from the hotel. Otherwise, you have to take a taxi to the meeting point. Shuttle bus costs from USD10 to USD30/person/one way.
If you arrive to Noi Bai Airport and want to travel to Halong city, rent a car with a driver. Several companies offer this service at a little less than USD 100/one way for private car from Noi Bai to Ha Long.
You can choose service of Halong Express train departs from Gia Lam Railway Station to Ha Long, USD20/single ticket.
From Danang, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City, you can fly either to Hanoi or Hai Phong Airport and get a car transfer to Halong Bay. From other Southeast Asia countries, you also need to fly into one of these two airports to get access to Halong Bay.
You can also travel to Halong Bay on helicopter which takes about 1.5 hour and it is only possible from Hanoi. This service is exclusively run by Northern Vietnam Helicopter Company and it is quite a costly option to reach Halong Bay.
In addition to the usual transportation, tourists from Hanoi also have a new choice for modern and luxury seaplane for travelling Halong Bay. The seaplane with 2 pilot seats, 12 passenger seats and spacious windows, not only saves travel time, but also help you comfortably see the beauty from plane, as well as record memorable moments of Halong Bay from a height of between 150 and 3,000 meters above sea level.
Visiting Halong Bay on seaplane
Shopping and price in Halong
Shopping is an essential part for any tourists. From shopping, you can learn more about local culture and society, as well as bring home some nice souvenirs for your friends and family.
Ha Long Market
Ha Long market, located on Bach Dang Street, in the Ha Long city center, is the largest market in Quang Ninh province. Built in 2003, Ha Long market has become a popular shopping place for locals and tourists alike. There are a variety of goods sold here.
First floor: pearl, jewelry, embroidered paintings, mother-of-pearl mosaic paintings and electronics. Second floor: footwear, clothing, seafood and marine products. Food and drinks are also sold in small restaurants in the market.
Ha Long market opens every day from 6.00 a.m and 6.30 p.m. The market is often crowded on the weekend.
Ha Long Night Market
Night market is near Bai Chay Beach, open every day from 6.00 pm until late night. 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 Ha Long Bay. Price range is higher than other markets in the city.
Halong night market
Bai Chay Commercial Center
Located on Vuon Dao Street in Bai Chay Beach area. 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.
Like Ha Long Market, Bai Chay Commercial Center opens every day from 6.00 a.m and 6.30 p.m
Besides that, there are many shop opened daily along the Bai Chay Road with various type of special high-quality products such as Halong Pearl shop, crocodile leather shop, wooden souvenir shop, coal souvenir shop...
In general, shopping price in Halong is not too expensive for famous destination. You can buy clothes, souvenirs with just a little bit expensive more than other local places in Vietnam. Eating at Halong restaurants is also quite affordable price. However, like many other destinations, you also need to ask about the price before deciding to buy or rent something.
¨Must to try¨ food
One of the memorable experiences is enjoy the local food. Halong is famous for variety cuisines with seafood that tourist not to be missed when travelling here.
Firstly, we cannot fail to mention Squid Sausages. This famous specialty is processed with fresh squid. What made special flavor to fried squid is the hands pounding technique, instead of grinding as many other places. After tasting spices, the patties are fried on a pan with boiling oil. It makes the squid sausage more crunchy and charming. Despite the relatively high price, 300.000 – 450.000 VND per kg, but tourists are still looking to buy in the market when they come here.
You also should to try ¨Ngán¨. You will be surprised with its name that means ¨boring¨ in Vietnamese. However it is considered as the most delicious dish in Halong. ¨Ngán¨ is a mollusk with bivalve like clams, it can be processed in various ways: grilled, steamed, cooked soup, fried with noodles or vegetables. ¨Ngán¨ can also be used to make wine. The wine which is processed by ¨Ngán¨ has its own scent from the sea. If you would like to buy fresh ¨Ngán¨ or wine, you can go to Cai Ram market, Vuon Dao market.
It is very strange when you are heard about Sa Sung – a kind of sea worn. It lives deeply in the sand and only in Quan Lan island (Quang Ninh Province). So this is a quite expensive dish in Halong Bay. Fresh ¨Sa Sung¨ can be stir-fried with garlic or dried, grilled, roasted to eat with drinking alcohol. In addition, it is also used to make spices for noodle soup.
Another famous seafood dish in Halong is Snail. Halong has a variety of snail so that if you hear about it, you have to ask to repeat or need a pen and paper to record because it is hard for you to remember: hương snail (Flavor), đĩa snail (plate), vặn snail (twisted), Gai snail (prickle), ... Served with snail is the special sauces to make that dish more tasty.
It is a pity when you travel to Halong without enjoying Tu Hai. If you have once enjoyed, surely that you will not forget the typical taste of this seafood. Tu Hai can be steamed, make salad, cooked soup, grilled….. The appetizer with steamed Tu Hai has cool and sweet taste and it can be said that this is the most delicious, nutritious dish.
It can be said that Halong is the place where nourish variety type of rare and precious seafood. When choosing Halong is the destination for your wonderful trip, so why not to enjoy many special seafood that has bestowed for Halong by the nature.
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Image Sources: Internet