Welcome to Ha Long Bay!
Ha Long Bay is a huge area that stretches over 1,5 thousand square kilometers and contains almost 2 thousand islets, from which many hasn’t have a name and which haven’t even explored because of their steep and rocky surface. Though this is a real miracle – one of Vietnam’s most biodiverse zones that has been written in UNESCO World Heritage Sites and was classified as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2012. And what else can we say – this is the most wonderful place in the whole country and definitely “a must”! See a bit more detailed information of the place below as well as the transportation for getting there. And go ahead! Explore that miracle of the World!
Ha Long City
Ha Long City is a city on a shore of Ha Long Bay, and it is a well-developed place which is also full of tourists and things to do! There are plenty of Amusement Parks with huge roller-coasters, slides and fun rides. You can take a walk by the nice promenade along the shore, see lighthouses and fishermen boats as well as luxury cruise ships. Choose cable-car to see the bay from the top and enjoy the meal in sea-side restaurants that serve fresh delicacies.
Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island is the biggest island on the Ha Long Bay and the most touristy one as well. But it is incredibly beautiful! Here you will be able to find many beaches for swimming, snorkeling and diving. As the island is home for many fishermen that live in the floating villages, you will be able to see them going for a big catch, or even get a boat ride or kayak to go around islets yourself. There are many other activities to do on the island like trekking, caving and rock-climbing. Take a motorbike for rent (usually 60.000 VND per day) and explore this wonderful place you have reached!
Cat Ba Town
Cat Ba Town is located on the Cat Ba Island, which is the biggest island from all of them in the Ha Long Bay. It is there across the ferry stop of the Cat Ba Island, you can reach it by bus (see below). This is one touristy place – hotels, bars, restaurants, tour companies, bikes for rent and spa’s. All the necessary conveniences! This is the place to stay while you are exploring the island!
Cat Ba National Park
The Ha Long Bay is rich and there is a huge bio-diversity. More than 200 species of fish and animals like monkeys, birds, lizards, and even antelopes. Some of these you might see in Cat Ba’s National park that is home to more than 30 types of mammal. There are two main walking trails in the park – short one that costs 40.000 VND and takes around three hours of hiking in total and there is the long walking trail that will take you around 8 hours in total with an entrée fee of 80.000 VND. The short trail leads up to two of the peaks trough jungle, beautiful trees and great sceneries. Though keep in mind – even if the lady at the counter says that trails are very well marked, there are places where the road splits without any signs around. Most probably you won`t be the only hiker there, but in any case remember that you need to go up! And then there is the long way that will bring you deeper in the park. Be careful! Make sure you have the map, ask precise information at the ticket counter as the trails are not that easy and road signs tend to go missing!
Trung Trang Cave
With the same ticket you have purchased at the Cat Ba National park you can enter a cave that is one kilometer away from the entrance of the park down the main road. This is a cave that has been forming over millions of years and there are thousands of natural stalactites to admire. First you need to go up the stairs to reach the cave and then you can go all the way through it by larger and tighter alleys. The cave is illuminated so you can easily walk around. It is very beautiful place to visit and as you are already on the island we recommend not to skip it!
Hanoi to Ha Long Bay. How to get there?
1) Take any tour in the tourism offices around Hanoi, we would recommend Sinh Tourist buses. The bus to Ha Long Bay would cost you around 250.000 VND, there is a free pick-up from your hotel and then the bus ride straight to the ferry that will bring you to the Cat Ba Island. The bus from Sinh Tourist office leaves at 8 AM and reaches the ferry around 1 PM. Important to remember: tourist bus doesn’t go to Ha Long City, but straight to the ferry which is 13 km away from the Ha Long City. The ferry goes to Cat Ba Island, most touristy spot of exploring the bay.
2) Take the train. The train ride would be the most difficult one. There are no straight train rides from Hanoi main station to Ha Long City. But you have three options here.
– You can go to the town of Kep and there change the train to the Ha Long City. From Hanoi to Kep there are only small trains with two cars going once per day at 7:05 and cost 34.000 VND to 45.000 VND. There is a train from Kep to Ha Long City at 7:16 daily and cost 56.000 VND. But this means you have to spend a night in Kep.
– You can go to the Yen Vien train station and there is a train to Ha Long City at 4:55 in the morning, it reaches the destination at 11:41 and costs 80:000 VND.
– You can take a straight train from Hanoi to Hai Phong (city near the coast). There are also buses going to this city, and are several trains to Hai Phong daily, they cost 70.000 VND. And then take a bus to Ha Long City or take a speed boat from Hai Phong to Cat Ba Island that will cost you around 250.000 VND.
3) Take the local bus. Giap Bat is the main bus station in Hanoi, reachable by public transport. There are plenty of buses running to the Ha Long City daily. The bus will cost you 95.000 VND and the ride will be 5 hours long with one stop in between. Important to remember: local bus won’t take you to the ferry, but to the Ha Long City which is 13 km from the ferry that goes to the Cat Ba Island.
Ha Long City to Tuan Chau (Ferry to Cat Ba Island). How to get there?
There are city buses from Ha Long City to the bridge across which is the Tuan Chau Island – the place where the ferry leaves from. If you are in the city, first you need to find the closest bus stop and take a bus to the Bai Chay Bus Station in Ha Long City. This will cost you around 10.000 VND. When you are in the bus station, locals will help you with the buses that will bring you to the Tuan Chau bridge. This ride will cost you 7.000 VND. The difficult part is that you have to walk 5 km over the bridge and further on the island to reach the ferry.
The other option is taxi. Remember that the price from Ha Long City to the Tuan Chau ferry is 130.000 VND to 150.000 VND. Do not pay more!
Tuan Chau Island Ferry to Cat Ba Island. How to get there?
There are speed boats that can be arranged almost every time of the day, they cost 200.000 VND to the Cat Ba Island. But if you take the ferry, that will cost you 80.000 VND per person. Important to remember: there is a high and low season for ferries, so the timings differ.
Low Season (6.09. – 23.04.)
Tuan Chau to Cat Ba Island – 8:00, 11:30, 15:00
Cat Ba Island to Tuan Chau – 9:00, 13:00, 16:00
High Seson (24.04. – 5.09.)
Tuan Chau to Cat Ba Island – 7:30, 9:00, 11:30, 13:30, 15:00
Cat Ba Island to Tuan Chau – 9:00, 11:30, 13:00, 15:00, 16:00
The ferry is taking one hour of ride and after you need to take the bus to reach the Cat Ba town which is 22 km away from the port. There will be a bus waiting to take the passengers to the Cat Ba Town. The ride will take around 50 minutes and cost 30.000 VND
These limestone islands that have been forming for over 500 million years are just a miracle. Something spectacular to see! The nature is a wonder itself and this is the place it has revealed it`s true majesty.