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How to travel Halong, information and tips for first time visitors

 

Below is some useful tips and detailed information for travelers planning a trip to Halong for the first time. We provide tips, specific instructions on how to go, how to choose the transports and time, how to choose a place to eat - accommodation - place to visit when you travel to Ha Long city.

If you have never been to Ha Long city before, the following 3 reasons will make you "pick up your backpack and go" immediately.

How to travel Halong, information and tips for first time visitors
Experience the 2 largest amusement parks in Southeast Asia
When visiting Ha Long city, you will discover Dragon Park and Typhoon Water Park - the largest theme park and water park in Southeast Asia today, located in the Sun World Halong Complex, Dragon Park owns the longest roller coaster game in Asia with a track length of up to 1,1km. Meanwhile, Typhoon Water Park is home to the largest number of water games - 12 games, for children, families and young people.

In addition, there is an artificial beach, a giant Sun Wheel and the Queen's Cable Car - the work that won two Guinness World records.
Halong Typhoon Water Park
Visit Halong Bay - one of the 7 World Natural Wonders
Traveling to Ha Long Bay, visitors can admire the breathtaking scenery created by more than 1,900 limestone islands, large and small, with extremely vivid shapes. Underneath these rocky islands are beautiful caves associated with many ancient Vietnamese folk legends.

One of most worthwhile beach destination in Northern Vietnam
For people in the North, Ha Long can be said to be the most worthwhile coastal city today. The first is due to its proximity (about 180km from Hanoi), it saves both time and money, making it suitable for short weekend trips.
Secondly, this is the most developed tourist destination in the North today. Compared to Do Son, Sam Son beaches., the seascape in these places is not as beautiful, the accommodation services and entertainment areas are not as much as in Ha Long.

Are the 3 reasons enough to convince you? Get the Ha Long travel experience below to plan an upcoming trip.

Travel Halong - choose the right time
Ha Long has 4 distinct seasons and each season has its own beauty, so it is no exaggeration to say that you can go to Halong any time, however, you still need the following specific notes:

Season

Month

Weather and travel characteristics

Spring

March, April and May

  • The weather is cold but still sunny
  • The appropriate time to travel to Ha Long is combined with spiritual tourism (Yen Tu Pagoda, Long Tien Pagoda, Cua Ong Temple, ...)

Summer

June and July

  • The weather is sunny and sunny, but it should be avoided in some storms
  • Suitable for families with young children on vacation

Fall

August, September and October

  • The weather is sunny, less rain, mild climate
  • Autumn romantic atmosphere for couples

Winter

Nov, Dec 
to January

  • In the cold season, the beach cannot be bathed but the scenery of Ha Long Bay is still very beautiful
  • Suitable to play at the entertainment area on land or on vacation

* Note this season is the peak tourist season because there are many Western customers, the service price is very high

Transports to and from Halong
Below is a table comparing the ways to travel from Hanoi / Saigon to Halong and travel in Halong, especially for those who have never been here and are looking for planning a trip yourself.

Vehicle

Time

Price

From Hanoi to Halong

Coach

3h - 4h

100,000 VND - 130,000 VND / person / way

Motorbike

4h - 5h

VND 100,000 / person / way

Car

2h - 3h

VND 200,000 / person / way

Train

5h - 7h

VND 70,000 - VND 100,000 / person / way

From Ho Chi Minh city to Halong

Coach

37h - 41h

800,000 VND - 900,000 VND / person / way

Train

33h - 34h

VND 730,000 - VND 1,000,000 / person / way

Planes

1h30 - 2h

1,100,000 VND / person / way

Note: If you take a passenger car, you can find tickets online at vexere.com, but if you want to travel by train, you neet to consult the train schedules and book tickets at vetau24h.com
Travel in Halong city
Select the appropriate mode of transport in Halong city from table below

Type

Price

Note

Motorbike

120,000 VND - 150,000 VND / day

Suitable if going many points during the day

Taxi

Average 11,000 VND / first km, 
13,000 VND / the next 20 km

Suitable if traveling a few points, points close to each other, large groups or families with young children / elderly people

4. Where to play in Halong city? - Popular activities and attractions
Halong City has 4 major tourist areas: Bai Chay, Tuan Chau island and Hon Gai. Each area has its own beauty, we refer to the summary below to choose the destination that suits you.

Area

Tourist features and outstanding activities

Bai Chay

  • The most crowded tourist place, with the most diverse recreational activities
  • Famous for: Bai Chay artificial beach, Bai Chay bridge (Vietnam's first cable-stayed bridge), old town, night market, Sunworld Halong amusement park, Marine Plaza shopping center - painting museum 3D, a variety of restaurants and hotels…
  • Service prices here are quite expensive in the tourist season

Tuan Chau Island

  • A small island about 2 km from Halong city
  • Famous for large-scale modern villas, Tuan Chau International entertainment, beach, Tuan Chau jetty with cruises of Halong Bay
  • The price of this area is expensive

Hon Gai

  • The area where most residents live
  • Famous for playing Sun Wheel on Ba Deo hill, Halong market, Quang Ninh museum, Halong Flower park, Vincom Plaza shopping center
  • The price of service is cheap

Halong Bay

  • A sea area with many limestone islands and caves, famous for its beauty
  • Main activities are sightseeing and sightseeing by boat, kayaking, seaplane or cable car
  • Service prices vary according to the type of travel you choose

Halong has many attractions, but you will not be able to visit all. Therefore, from our experience we have some suggestions for destinations you should not miss.

Bai Chay tourist area
Bai Chay is the busiest tourist area in Halong City thanks to 2 prominent places of entertainment: artificial beach and Sun World Halong Complex.
Bai Chay tourist area
- Bai Chay Beach: Bai Chay is known as an artificial beach stretching over 500m, fine white sand coupled with peaceful space, suitable for visitors who like to go for a sunbathing walk. Not only beautiful scenery during the day, if you walk on the beach in the evening, you can also see the sparkling Bai Chay Bridge - the first suspansion bridge in Vietnam and the pride of the people of Quang Ninh. In addition, from here it is very convenient to go to Halong Night Market to eat and shop, or to Sun World amusement park with family and friends.

- Sun World Halong Complex: Sunworld Halong is a world-class amusement park complex, located in Bai Chay tourist area. This place is divided into two main areas: the coastal entertainment complex and the top fun complex on Ba Deo (Hon Gai). In particular, Bai Chay coastal complex includes Dragon Park and Typhoon Water Park - the 2 largest parks in Southeast Asia with many diverse and attractive adventure games. An experience in Halong that you need to keep in mind when going to Sun World is to spend a whole day to discover all 2 areas. If not, you should only buy tickets to a separate area in order to save money.

Tuan Chau International Entertainment complex in Tuan Chau island
Tuan Chau Park is the second largest amusement park in Halong after Sunworld, divided into 3 main areas: Outdoor Play Area, World Games and Dolphin, Seal and Sea Lion. The most outstanding activities here are the performances of water music concert, water puppetry, magic performs, animal circus, music and dance performance…suitable for families with young children.
Tuan Chau Entertainment complex
Tuan Chau island is a separate recreation - resort area, visitors can completely focus on traveling Tuan Chau 2 days 1 night if you like, but the trip will be more relaxing than sightseeing.

Note, the entrance fees in Tuan Chau is cheaper than Sunworld but the food and shopping services on the island are very expensive. So before going out, you should prepare necessary food and drinks.

The central area of Halong city - Hon Gai
Passing Bai Chay Bridge, you will reach Hon Gai area – the most inhabited area in Halong city. There are not many entertainment complexes but there are 2 places not to be missed: Halong market and Halong Flower park.
Hon Gai township
Halong Market 1 and Halong Market 2: Shopping, buying souvenirs is one of the indispensable things to do in Halong. Halong 1 Market is the destination you need to find, Halong 1 and 2 markets are located only about 500m - 1km apart. Halong 1 Market has a large scale, is a commercial hub of Quang Ninh province, due to its proximity to Hon Gai port, many fishermen often come here to sell seafood in the early morning. So a tip of Halong travel for you if you want to buy seafood is to buy at Halong Market 1 - cheap and fresh. Halong 2 market is farther than Halong 1 market but also equally large. If Halong 1 market is famous for fresh seafood, Halong 2 market is outstanding by the variety of goods. Here they gather a full range of items for you to shop, from local specialties to the souvenirs…Halong 2 Market is located just outside the Highway 18 so it is easy to find and convenient to travel.

Halong Flower Park: Halong Flower Park is planned close to the coast with a beautiful modern design. It has a large area divided into 8 zones not only serving the needs of walking for sightseeing, but also exhibiting real art exhibitions, ornamental species, flower squares, ... The most notable is the pedestrian bridge on high that helps visitors observe the park with green space alternating with fresh flowers.

If you stay at a hotel in Hon Gai area, get up early in the morning, come here for a walk, breathe in the fresh air and watching the sea in the distance. In addition, sometimes on weekends, it hosts a street music night with the participation of bands and a large number of young music lovers in the city.

Travel Halong Bay - Activities and enjoyment
You have 4 ways to visit Halong bay, the table below provides 2 ways for you to choose: take a boat tour or a cruise ship.

Form

Cost

Time

Cruise visiting the bay

200,000 VND - 250,000 VND / person

4am - 6pm / trip, there are many trips a day

Halong  bay cruise

From VND 1,700,000 / person

Fixed itinerary

Rent a plane to visit the bay

From VND 2,000,000 / person

25 minutes / trip

Cable car to visit the bay

VND 350,000 / person

15 minutes / trip

Some experience on boat rental you need:
Take a boat tour: This way is both saving money and visit more sites, suitable if only going during the day. Halong cruise ship also has many types and grades.
Charter a cruise ship: This method will bring new experiences, but the price is a bit expensive so you need to choose the type of ship carefully.

Travel Halong - Choose accommodation
Based on the 4 tourist areas mentioned above, you should choose the most convenient location in order to travel around. Also, refer to the experience on how to choose the type of accommodation that suits the needs and price suggested by us below. This is necessary for those who are looking for a trip to Halong bay by yourself.

How to choose the accommodation that suits your needs and budget
Accommodation services in Halong are very developed with all types of motels, hotels (1 stars to 5 stars), resorts, homestays, cruisers. Each type has different properties and prices, below the average price list for you to choose.

Type

Reference price

Need

Homestay

500,000 VND - 1,000,000 VND / night

Suitable for travelers who like new experiences, like trends

Hotel, 
1 star hotel, 2 star

150,000 VND - 500,000 VND / night

Guests wishing to save money, cheap travel

3 star hotel

500,000 VND - 1,200,000 VND / night

Suitable for families with young children / elderly or couples

4 star hotel

900,000 VND - 1,700,000 VND / night

5 star hotel 
and Resort

1,500,000 VND - 2,100,000 VND / night

Travelers who like a vacation

Cruisers

1,700,000 VND - 22,000,000 VND / night

Halong Bay sightseeing, overnight on board cruisers

Besides, if you choose to stay at hotel in the city, you should know the price according to the following 3 areas.

Area

Average price

Property type characteristics

Hon Gai

VND 180,000 - VND 800,000 / night

There are many motels and cheap hotels

Bai Chay

200,000 VND - 2,500,000 VND / night

The area concentrates many types of accommodation with diverse prices

Tuan Chau Island

400,000 VND - 2,000,000 VND / night

Luxury resort services - resorts and villas

Dining in Halong
Are there any Halong specialties that travelers seek the most? Join us to "fill the belly" with the experience of choosing a dining area in Halong for newbies below.

Area

Comments

Hon Gai

  • The area has delicious seafood and many cheap seafood restaurants. If you want to enjoy a "real" Halong seafood, you should come here
  • Cai Dam market area has many famous restaurants

Bai Chay – Vuon Dao

  • The area concentrates on a variety of dishes from popular to specialties. If you just want to fill your stomach you should eat here for convenience
  • Note, tourists are often over-charged

Tuan Chau Island

  • Many luxury restaurants have beautiful views
  • The food is expensive

In addition, you should know the following 2 tips:
• If you want to find a luxurious buffet with a nice view, you can choose a restaurant in the hotel. Some hotels have quality restaurants such as Wyndham Legend Halong, Muong Thanh Luxury Hotel, Saigon Halong Hotel
• In addition to seafood, Halong has a number of certain dishes to try such as: white sticky rice with squid, fried spring rolls with squid, bored dishes, pies, nodding cake, sour spring rolls / sour rice rolls in Quang Yen, glutinous rice dipping of Hoanh Bo district.

Prapare luggage and costs
It’s not a fool to mention luggage preparation and cost of travel. In particular, we give you some "exclusive" tips on luggage and estimated cost.

Prepare the luggage
• If you go in the summer, Halong is very sunny especially when going to the bay, so do not forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, hat or umbrella. In addition, swimwear should be prepared for swimming because the price of renting or buying swimwear in Halong is very expensive
• One of the most beautiful and famous checkin points is Halong ancient town, you should bring a set of clothes with neutral colors or vintage motifs to match the background houses.

Prepare costs for travel
See the table of minimum costs below to estimate how much money you should bring with you.

Action

Minimum cost estimate

Transport

From Hanoi to Halong

VND 240,000 / person / round trip

From TP. HCM to Halong

2,500,000 VND / person / round trip

In Halong

VND 100,000 / day

Sleep

Homestay

500,000 VND / day

Guesthouses, hotel 1 star, 2 stars

150,000 VND / night

3 star hotel

500,000 VND / night

4 star hotel

900,000 VND / night

5-star hotel / resort

1,500,000 VND / night

Eating

VND 200,000 / day

Visiting

500,000 VND / day

Other expenses (shopping, buying gifts, ...)

VND 200,000 / day

Thus, if the formula is applied: Halong travel expenses = "moving + sleeping + eating + visiting + other expenses" You can easily estimate the minimum cost should be prepared.

For example, for a 2-day-1-night trip, traveling from Hanoi to Halong by bus, staying at a 3-star hotel, the minimum cost estimated by the above formula would be VND 1,740,000 / person.

Suggestion for a specific Halong travel itinerary
For those who are still quite confused about a reasonable travel plan, we share Halong travel experience 2 days 1 night and 3 days 2 nights with a specific schedule and similar costs. application. But before that, you should determine what schedule you fit into.

itinerary

Type of travelers

2 days 1 night

  • Northern people
  • Wishing to hang out on 2 days at weekends
  • Should choose to either just go out in the city or just visit Halong Bay

3 days 2 nights

  • Suitable for people from far cities (Central, South)
  • Traveling on an annual plan so there's more time
  • Can combine both playing in the city and visiting Halong Bay

Book tours to Halong
For travelers who find Halong travel by yourself too difficult and time consuming, we recommend choosing a tour. So the problem is what kind of tour to choose? How many days is the tour? What company is good and cheap? Here are some guides and suggestions for your Halong tours.

Currently there are 2 forms of tour as follows:
Free Tour - "Free & Easy Tour": Only shuttle bus and hotel
This is a new type of tour recently appeared in Vietnam, for young people who do not want to be constrained by a specific schedule but find it troublesome to find a way to go by themselves. You can find and book tours at some sites like Tago , DulichVietNam , or on Facebook fanpage / group.

Choose Free & Easy Tour only include shuttle bus and hotel, both cheap and not subject to a fixed program. However, note that these tours are usually short days - 2 days 1 night or 3 days 2 nights.

Package tour: Includes A - Z from shuttle bus, tour schedule, dining, accommodation

Tour package helps you get many points but save time and effort. This type of tour can be short-term or long-term, with lots of choices of itineraries and prices. Some reputable tour companies such as Vietravel , The Sinh Cafe, Ivivu…

Above are the most specific tips and guides on Halong travel experience for first time travelers . Are you ready for the upcoming trip? Share immediately with us if you have a real experience, or if our article lack any tips, please comment to let everyone know.

 

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Xin Chao Travel Halong Bay
We are happy to send you our impressions on our excellent trip to Halong Bay with your company. The organization and monitoring of our trip was impeccable, thanks to our friendly and excellent guide Minh not forgetting the super driver Dzung.

Mardy Scott (Australia)
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