Halong Bay Health & Safety
Cruising Halong Bay is a nice experience. The Bay is very calm, so you don't need to prepare sea sick pills. Check if your junk (boat) has lifeboat, life jackets, etc. on board and in your cabin. If you know how to swim, it is an advantage. Generally, it is a safe journey for even old people and infants. In the worst situation that you junk sinks and you can swim, if you want to save someone and that person desperately hugs and pulls you deep in the water, you need to go deeper. He will free you, then you can float up to breathe and continue your help.
Halong Bay History
For hundreds of years, Halong Bay has been an important part of the culture and history of Vietnam. Though it only contains a coastline of 120 kilometers, the area has been a big part of life in northern Vietnam. Halong Bay, also known as Vinh Ha Long, means "Bay of the Descending Dragon". There are approximately 1,969 small islands in the bay, all comprised of different size and form. These islands have intrigued and amazed locals for hundreds of years. There are over 200 species of fish and over 450 species of mollusks in the waters around the bay. These waters now help sustain a community of fisherman, many of them living on floating junks in the water. These communities are close knit and extremely important to the success of the area. This area has also sustained naval wars for hundreds of years. At least three times in history this bay has helped stop the Chinese navy from invading northern Vietnam. This bay was also mined by the United States Navy during the Vietnam war. Many of the mines are still unexploded in the bay, which poses a threat to local fishermen. The area first became popular for tourists in the 19th Century, when French visitors explored the area. It now serves as the most popular tourist attraction and resort community in Vietnam.
Halong Bay Getting Around
Getting around in Halong Bay can be quite tricky. If you are on the mainland, you can obivouly get around on the roads. The roads aren't in excellent condition, and some are actually still just dirt roads. Still, you shouldn't have a very hard time finding where you need to go. If you rent a car, you should ask directions and try to know some Vietnamese, otherwise you will have a very hard time understanding where to go. In many cases, tourists have guides to help them around, especially if they don't speak Vietnamese. If you are trying to get around in the bay, you will have to get around on a junk, also known as a boat. The junks, which are small fishermen boats, can hold a good amount of people. If you are just touring the bay, you can pay a guide to take you around. It is a rare thing to be able to take your own junk out by yourself. The person in control of the boat will know where they are going, so you don't have to worry about getting lost. You should check to make sure there are life jackets in the junk before you leave.
Halong Bay Sports & Activities
One of the biggest attractions of the area in Halong Bay is the surrounding islands and sights. Many tourists love to just go out for a boat ride on a junk and tour the area. If the weather is good out, you can also go swimming or do some other fun activities in the area. Though it's not for everyone, you can go climbing up some of the smaller rock islands as well. You should always make sure that you have taken the necessary safety precautions. If you are staying at a hotel or resort, there will probably be a bunch of other activities and sports to play on their grounds. Many times there will be deals or group packages offered at the front desk. You can also hop in a helicopter and take a tour of the entire area, though this can be quite expensive. Usually, a tour like that would cost at least $250 American dollars. As long as you take in all of the scenery and relax, you will have plenty to do in Halong Bay. This isn't a place to go just to play sports and keep busy, but you will still have a good time.
Halong Bay Arriving & Departing
Halong Bay is located in the northern part of Vietnam near the Gulf of Tonkin. It is one of the most popular tourist locations in Vietnam, and has many beautiful sights to see. If you want to come visit the area, you need to think about the best way to get there. Many tourists choose to fly into Hanoi, and from there they make their way to Halong Bay. There aren't too many trains that go in the direction of Halong Bay, so you would probably have to take a bus. This is a very popular method for getting around the country, and it shouldn't be too hard to get a bus ticket when you get to Hanoi. Vietnamtripadvisor can arrange a private car for you from airport to Halong Bay, hotels booking..., though this is an option that is used much less than anything else. It can be hard to drive around in Vietnam, especially if you don't speak the language. Many times, travelers will have guides take them around. This is probably the best option for you. It assures that you will be going in the right direction, and you don't have to worry about the language barrier with the locals.