In northern Vietnam are Halong Bay, which borders China in the north, and the Gulf of Tonkin in the south and southeast. In Vietnamese, it is called Vịnh Hạ Long (Bay of the Submerging Dragon). What is actually meant is an area of ​​around 1,500 km², which is characterized by picturesque rock pylons protruding from the water.

From a geological point of view, it is a limestone plateau that is sinking. The almost 2,000 mostly uninhabited rock formations and islands are up to several hundred meters high. The panorama of Halong Bay is known worldwide through films and photographs. In 1994 a good 430 km² large part of the bay and 775 islands on it were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The largest island is Cát Bà, which, after the Vietnam War and into the 1980s, achieved sad international fame as the port of departure for the “boat people”.

Ideal Travel Time

Today tourism is an important industry in the region. Due to the weather, the months from March to June as well as October and November are the ideal travel time. Individual travelers can get to Halong Bay from Hanoi by bus or train. Organized trips are offered from Hanoi and Nanning in China. From the ports in Haiphong, Halong City, and Cai Rong you can take boat tours across the archipelago. With very small boats, which are usually carried as dinghies, you can also get through narrow passages in the rock formations or into caves and make unforgettable discoveries. The area itself is confusing and in many places is reminiscent of a labyrinth in which one has to rely on the sense of direction of local travel guides.

The floating villages are a fascinating sight. Sometimes several hours away from the mainland, fishing families live in wooden huts that are mounted on floating bodies, which in turn are connected to floating villages.
Allow at least two days to experience the magnificent rock formations in the charming light of sunrise and sunset as well as in the moonlight.

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