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Travel guide

 

2012-02-09 08:08:41

Ha Long Bay

170 km away from Hanoi, Ha Long Bay is the World Natural Heritage site, one of the most beautiful places on earth. With its picturesque blend of land and sea, this one of the world's most precious beauty spots. Halong is covers an area of over 1,500 km, dotted with thousands of rocky islands, it really is a natural sculpture on a gigantic scale.

Numerous large and small islands of countless shapes rise from the sea along the 200km stretch of coast from the estuary of the Bach Dang river to Tra Co beach. Local fishermen have given many of them evocative names according to their shapes: Cone-shape Cookie, Banana, Small Fish, Tortoise, Nail, Wading Ox, Wallowing Buffalo, and many more. The islands are riddled with innumerable caves and grottoes offering spectacular stalactite displays. Bo Nau cave, Dau Go grotto and Trinh Nu grotto are especially worth seeing.
Sail-boats and motor-boats are available to take you on a panoramic journey of the bay with visits to some of the caves and grottoes. Halong Bay is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Catba island (and National Park)

A trip to Cat Ba island can done separately or in combination with a visit to Halong Bay. Cat Ba Island is the largest island in the Cat Ba Archipelago that consists of 350 limestone outcrops adjacent to Halong Bay. This is an oasis where you can be gone for one or for several days. If you start from the Halong Bay Wharf, it will take you four hours by boat, with stopovers for swimming, visiting spectacular karst WHAT IS "KARST"? and eating fresh seafood. You can contemplate the beautiful scenery of Halong Bay before reaching the island. There is an alternative way of getting to Cat Ba Island if you are pressed for time and cannot take in Halong Bay on your tour.
You can take an hydrofoil from the Hai Phong Seaport

With an area of 356 square km, Cat Ba encompasses forested zones, coastal mangroves, freshwater swamps, beaches, caves and waterfalls. In 1986, the Northeast side of the island was designated a National Park and includes a protected marine zone. Cat Ba Island supports a population of over 20,000 inhabitants most of whom live off fishing or farming in and around Cat Ba Town. The town is small and ancient, with clusters of fishing boats. It is an ideal spot to watch inspiring sunsets across the harbor. You can even check out the catch-of-the-day in the early morning as the fishing boats return to port. See cuttlefish dried over hot charcoals, or stroll around the old town. It's a short hike from Cat Ba town through a tunnel to Cat Co Beach where mountains form a throne-like picture holding a marvelous sandy coast. You can even hike further along the beach to reach the rockier Cat Vang Beach
As transportation in and around the town is not well-developed, the easiest and best way to get to the larger Trung Trang Cave with its many chambers, or to the National Park, or to discover other beaches around the island is by motorbike. A tour guide will be necessary to help you communicate with the local drivers and point out and explain the many beautiful sites

The National Park is made up of stringy trees, thick undergrowth and slippery vines. In the Park there is also a great view of an old French, now Vietnamese, farming village from the top of the mountain and a wonderful lake in the middle of the Park that takes a half day to reach.


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