Vietnam’s people are a special mix of cultures, languages and historical backgrounds. A common denominator among them is that, as in many Southeast Asian countries, they are interested in foreign visitors and make an effort to engage with them through smiles or by practicing English and other language skills. The younger generation of Vietnamese tends not to be concerned with the history of war in the country and have a future-oriented outlook. No matter your travel itinerary, you will find richness and diversity in your experiences of this charming country.
Vietnam is Southeast Asia’s third most populous nation, surpassed only by Indonesia and the Philippines. Its population is comprised of 54 ethnicities, many withChinese and Indian influences. The majority group is the Kinh, known generally as Viet andmaking up about 85% of the population, whose origins are a combination of the Mongol races of north and east Asia.The ethnic minority—the largest of which are Thai and Muong—have been settled mostly in the mountainous, or highland, regions of the country. About 3% of the population is ethnic Chinese, living in the urban centers of the south.
Vietnamese language reflects the country’s unique mix of racial and cultural origins, with its fusion of monotonic Mon-Khmer, and Tai tonality and grammar. Because it was a Chinese province for over a millennium (111 BC-939 AD), Vietnam’s governmental, literary, and technical vocabulary stems from the Chinese language. Anative writing system called Chu Nom, using partly modified Chinese characters, was developed as early as the 13thcentury. A French missionary named Alexandre de Rhodes in the mid-17th century formulated a system of spelling using the Roman alphabet that employed additional diacritic marks to indicate tones. Because of its relative simplicity, the use of this script spread under French colonialism and it became the dominant written language by the 1930s. Called Quoc Ngu or national language, it is now universally learned and written by all Vietnamese.
Most Vietnamesefollow a folkreligion based on popular ancestor worshipand imported beliefs stemming from Taoism and Confucianism.Several indigenous groups also embrace ancestor worship as well as animism and theism. With 11 million adherents, Buddhism is the largest organized religion in Vietnam.Catholicism, introduced by European missionaries, is the second largest established religion, with about six million followers. Vietnam’s indigenous faiths of the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao sects have their holy lands in the city of Tay Ninh and the provinces of Chau Doc and An Giang in the Mekong Delta. They coexist with one another and have contributed to the struggle against foreign aggression.
Visitors entering Buddhist pagodas are expected to remove their shoes. It is considered impolite to point feet, especially the soles, at people or statues of the Buddha. Donations for the upkeep of temples are not expected but are received gratefully. Permission should be asked before taking photographs of people and in places of worship.
In Vietnam, the most appropriate manner of greeting is a gentle handshake and a smile. Though occasionally rigid, Vietnamese officials—such as the police—appreciate being treated in a firm, yet diplomatic manner. It is best to deal with misunderstandings with patience and good humor. Local people who offer assistance appreciate small gifts, such as cigarette lighters, pens, foreign cigarettes, liquor, perfume and even shampoo. However, giving money to street beggars can lead to crowds anddisorder as other beggars also attempt to impose themselves on such generosity.
Halong World Heritage Site
Ha Long Bay, situated in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes almost 2,000 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and relatively unaffected by human influence. The geomorphology of Ha Long Bay is known as a drowned karst landscape due to the exceptional combination of its limestone surfacesbeing exposed to repeated transgression and regression of the sea over time. The erosion has led to a mature landscape of fengcong (clusters of conical peaks) and fenglin (isolated tower features) karst features. The smaller islands are fenglin towers of 50 to 100meters high. Many have vertical walls on all or most sides and these continue to evolve by rock falls and large slab failures. Marine invasion of Ha Long Bay has added an extra element to the normal process of lateral undercutting of the limestone towers and islands. The most conspicuous feature in the area is the main notch cut into the entire rocky coastline. Notches are a characteristic of limestone cliffs worldwide, but those of Ha Long Bay are exceptionally well developed and, at many sites, extend into arches and caves. Another distinctive feature of Ha Long Bay is the abundance of lakes within the larger limestone islands. Caves represent yet another important feature of Ha Long Bay, consisting of three main types: old phreatic caves formed below the water table of the time; old karstic foot caves formed by lateral undercutting of cliffs at base level; and marine notch caves formed at sea level where rock structures are powerfully eroded and eventually reduced to a wave cut platform.These qualities provide a unique and extensive reservoir of data for the future understanding of geoclimatic history and the nature of karst processes in a complex environment.
Tour Routes & Duration
Choose from a variety of routes to see popular caves, grottos, and islands.
Route 1: Tourist Wharf – Thien Cung Grotto– Dau Go Cave – Dinh Huong Islet – Ga Choi Islet (3-4 hours)
Route 2: Tourist Wharf – Thien Cung Grotto– Dau Go Cave – Dinh Huong Islet – Ga Choi Islet– Sung Sot Grotto – Ti Top Beach (7-8 hours)
Route 3: Tourist Wharf – Me Cung Cave – Sung Sot Grotto – Ti Top Beach (7-8 hours)
Route 4: Tourist Wharf – Tam Cung Cave – Sung Sot Cave – Luon Cave (7-8 hours)
Route 5: Tourist Wharf – Bai Tu Long – Ngoc Vung Island – Quan Lan Island (2 days, 1 night)
There are other attractive routes available to meet tourists’ needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us at the following:
Information and Tourist Guide Center: Tel: 84.33.847481
Timetable for tourists visiting caves and grottos in the Bay:
|Name of cave(s)||Summer|
From April 1 – Sep 30
From Oct 1 – March 31
|Thien Cung – Dau Go||7:30 AM – 5:00 PM||8:00 AM – 4:30 PM|
|Sung Sot – Ti Top – Tam Cung||8:00 AM – 5:00 PM||8:30 AM – 4:30 PM|
|Me Cung||8:30 AM – 4:30 PM||9:00 AM – 4:30 PM|
Halong Bay Cruises
Halong Bay was listed as one of Asia’s top five tropical island paradises in an article published on CNN in April 2012. “Halong Bay in northeastern Vietnam is one of the most stunning boating destinations anywhere in the world,” wrote the author.
Halong Bay Caves
Halong was honored twice with the title “World Natural Heritage Site” by UNESCO for its geology and geomorphology. Therefore, visitors to Halong Bay should not miss the chance to explore the system of grottos there (including Sung Sot Cave, Surprise Cave, Dau Go Cave, Wooden Stakes Cave, Thien Cung Cave, etc.).
Halong Bay Kayaking
Halong Bay is considered one of the most ideal places for kayaking in the world. Join a guided kayaking tour in Halong Bay.You will reach pristine islands and discover untouched lagoons when the tide rises in the late afternoon.
Halong Bay Scuba Diving
For tourists who love discovery, scuba diving will be a favorite activity in Halong Bay. Explore pristine coral reefs and encounter various kinds of fish at the bottom of the sea.
Halong Bay Squid Fishing
Squid fishing in Halong Bay at night is an interesting activity, and guests can take in the view of the Bay in the dark. Local fishermen will instruct tourists on fishing for squid in the sea. The fresh catchcan be used to make delectable dishes for guests.
Halong Bay Visiting Floating Villages
Floating villages are a unique cultural feature of Halong Bay. Visiting floating villages, tourists will have time to interact with friendly fishermen and visit floating pearl farms. Local villagers are the original inhabitants of Halong Bay who have lived on the sea for several generations.
Halong Bay Mountain and Rock Climbing
Energetic tourists can partake in mountain and rock climbing in Halong. Precipitous limestone surfaces are a challenge for climbers. Professional climbers agree that the area is a paradise for adventurers, as it has thousands of islands with tall limestone mountains.
Parasailing in Halong Bay
Recently, tourists to Tuan Chau Island have had a chance to experience parasailing over Halong Bay, something offeredalso at many of the famous beaches of Vietnam (like Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Vung Tau). With parasailing, participantscan enjoy a beautiful seascape and find exhilaration in open air.
Halong Helicopter Tours
Helicopter tours (also called air-taxi) are a new service that has been provided since August 2008. On a helicopter tour, guests can have a full experience of the Bay in just 45 minutes, so no need to fear that you are missing out if you have limited time.
Cycling and Trekking in Halong Bay
Guests who seek a calm atmosphere and scenic setting on the beach can cycle and trek to get an experience of Halong Bay. Guests going on beach walks will find themselves lost in fine white sandand a stunning seascape.
Entertainment & Relaxation Centers
International Tourist Resort on Tuan Chau Island
International Royal Park: Halong Street, Bai Chay, Halong City
Quang Ninh Provincial Museum, 165 Nguyen Van Cu Street, Halong City
Quang Ninh Provincial Library, 174 Le Thanh Tong Street, Halong City
Viet Nam – Japan Cultural Center, Le Thanh Tong Street, Halong City
Halong Cinema, Le Thanh Tong Street, Halong City
Sports Center, Nguyen Van Cu Street, Halong City
Tennis Courts at the Children’s Center, Le Thanh Tong Street,Halong Hotel 1 and 2, Bai Chay, (also next to Halong Cinema)
Electronic Games Machine Club, Halong Street, Bai Chay
Tel: 033.844878, Fax: 033.844879
+ Heritage Hotel, 8 Halong Road, Bai Chay
+Top Disco, Halong Road, Bai Chay
+ Queen Vosa, 70 Le Thanh Tong Street, Halong
In Halong, restaurants run the gamut from budget eateries to seafood places to good European and Chinese restaurants. In the center of Bai Chay Tourist Area, fine dining restaurants are often located around the beach and in the large hotels. Along Halong Street are many clean restaurants, offering seafood specialties and Vietnamese dishes.
1. Hoang Gia (in the area of the park, Halong Street, Bai Chay)
2. Heritage Halong Restaurant in the Heritage Hotel, Halong Street, Bai Chay
3. Halong Plaza Restaurant in the Halong Plaza Hotel
4. Halong Restaurant in the Halong Hotel
5. Bach Dang Restaurant in the Bach Dang Hotel
Popular Rice and Noodle Restaurants(with seafood):
-On the lower part of Vuon Dao slope, near Bai Chay Post Office
-Along Hang Noi Street, Ben Doan area and Long Tien Pagoda
-Teredo navalis, also known as shipworm, is a saltwater mollusk that lives in the aegiceras and mangroves, mostly at the foot of the mountains. Opening two hard and sharp shells reveals the creature’s meat. It is prepared with egg and flour or used for soup and is a popular dish.
-Otherseafood specialties include shrimp, crab, garoupa fish, pomfret fish, threadfin fish, etc.
|Bien Mo Floating Restaurant|
Address: 35 Ben Tau St., Ha Long City, Quang Ninh
Tel: 3828 951
|Cong Doan Restaurant|
Address: Bai Chay Tourist Center, Ha Long City
Tel: 3846 780 Fax: 3846 782
Hours: 9:00 – 24:00, over 500 seats
|Hong Kong Restaurant|
Address: Ha Long St., Ha Long City, Quang Ninh
Tel: 3847 591
|Nang Tam Vegetarian Restaurant|
Address: Yen Tu’s telephone station, Uong Bi Town
Tel: 3661 027 Fax: 3661 027
|Sai Gon Ha Long Restaurant|
Address: Ha Long St., Ha Long City
Tel: 3845 845 Fax: 3845 849
|Sam Loi Restaurant|
Address: Tra Co Beach, Mong Cai City, Quang Ninh
Tel: 3883 081
|Thien Trang Restaurant|
Address: 7 Tran Phu St., Cam Pha Town, Quang Ninh
Tel: 3862 467
|Tuyet Tuyet Restaurant|
Address: Khu 8, Cai Rong Townlet, Van Don Dist., Quang Ninh
Tel: 3874 256
Address: Ha Long St., Ha Long City
Tel: 3845 845 Fax: 3845 849
|Quan Hai Lau Restaurant (Chinese)|
Address: Bai Chay St., Ha Long City
Tel: 3847 037
Hours: 10:00 – 22:30, over250 seats
|Hoang Lan Restaurant|
Address: 15–17 Vuon Dao St., Ha Long City
Tel: 3846 504 Fax: 3846 712
|Van Khanh Restaurant|
Address: 21 Le Quy Don, Ha Long City
Tel: 3827 099
|Ha Long 1 Restaurant|
Address: Bai Chay Rd., Ha Long City
Tel: 3845 142
|Kim Hang Restaurant|
Address: Dong Hung Thang Tourist Site, Ha Long St., Ha Long City
Tel: 3846 809
|Phuong Oanh Restaurant|
Address: Ha Long St., Ha Long City
Tel: 3846 145
Ha Long Bay has a tropical climate with two distinctive seasons. The summer is wet and hot, while the winter is dry and cool. The average temperature in the region ranges between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius but can plummet significantly in the winter. There are times of heavy fog with low visibility and violent tropical storms during the summer months. The annual recorded rainfall is between 2000 and 2200 mm.
Summer, from June to August, is humid and warm. Temperatures in June range from 21º C to 30ºC. In July, temperatures range from 22º C to 32º C and in August they range from 24º C to 34º C. During this time, tropical storms break out in the area and bring heavy rainfall.
Autumn runs from September through November and brings cloudy weather with rain. September is still pleasant with temperatures from 22º C to 30º C. The weather gets cooler with more rainfall in October, with temperatures ranging from 20º C to 29º C, and in November temperatures go down to 18º C to 30º C.
Winter extends from November through February and sometimes as late as the middle of March. January and February are the chilliest months, with temperatures going down as low as 10º C and up to 30º C. The weather becomes quite cool in the winter.
Spring happens from the middle of March through June, which is referred to as a “shoulder season.” Temperatures during the spring season range from 19º C to 31º C. The Bay becomes more inviting in April and remains attractive to tourists through October. There is still the possibility of rain and foggy conditions during the spring months. March is considered an ideal time of year in Ha Long Bay.
Typhoon season lasts from June to October. Rainy conditions begin in May with an average precipitation of 216 mm. The precipitation builds in June to 242 mm and gets highest in July with 336 mm, and August with 352 mm. Precipitation goes down in September to 258 mm, and then continues to decrease. Fog and low visibility take over the area in February through April, making it difficult to go boating or travel around the region.