Halong Bay is the sparkling emerald in the crown of Vietnam’s tourism. If you’ve cruised in this world-famous bay, you’ll understand why it’s a top attraction.
The otherworldly bay is about a two-hour drive from Hanoi – perfect for travellers wanting a break from the bustling capital. It’s 1,553 km², stretches along 120 km of coastline and includes a plethora of islets. So, plenty to explore.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site has won heaps of accolades. Recently, CNN placed it on their 2023 list of “25 of the world’s most beautiful places”, saying: “With 1,969 islets of hulking limestone and deep, green waters that are home to myriad floating villages, this is a place where time slows to a standstill”.
“Halong” translates to “descending dragon”. These are the giant limestone karsts standing like sentries, of which the core of the Bac Bo Gulf has an area of 335 km² with a density of 775 islands.
Halong Bay has a rich archaeological history and impressive biodiversity. Ancient civilisations are believed to have lived here as far back as 3,500-5,000 years ago. Its natural ecosystems include over 1,000 plant species, 232 species of coral and 91 types of seaweed. Wildlife includes deer, bats, squirrels, eagles, monkeys and langurs.
Why take a Halong Bay cruise?
Be awed by the towering limestone cliffs covered in verdant greenery, which formed around three million years ago. Gliding between these ethereal peaks is truly magical.
Overnight on a cruise to appreciate the unique landscape throughout the day. US magazine Travel+Leisure named this as one of Asia’s most stunning places for sunrise and sunset.
Popular activities include islet hopping by kayak; exploring caves and beaches; doing a cooking class; sunrise Vovinam; and squid fishing. www.emperorcruises.com