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Hanoi to Halong bay travel tips

Halong Bay Vietnam, which is located in the western coast of Tokin Gulf in North East sea area of Viet Nam, is a popular tourist attraction in Viet Nam. Thanks for thousands of magnificent islands formed naturally, Ha Long Bay has been recognized as a world natural heritage by UNESCO. Halong Bay attracts national and international tourists with wonderful sceneries. To have an unforgettable trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay, you can have a look at the following experiences.
 
Time to visit Ha Long
Visiting Ha Long Bay tourists can experience 4 seasons clearly such as: very cold winter (from November to March) and very hot summer (from April to October).
This clear division of weather has made Ha Long Bay become an attractive destination to many tourists. For Vietnamese people, it would be the most ideal to have a trip to Ha Long Bay every summer (from April to October). However, Ha Long Bay becomes the most attractive to international tourists in winters. Summer is the main tourism season of Ha Long Bay so you should take a trip to this destination from March to May or from August to October. You shouldn’t come here in June or July because of the following reasons:
  • The weekend days of June and July are the peak days resulting in the unpleasant feeling and expensive service expense.
  • The other reason is the inconvenience of weather because in these 2 months, there are a lot of storms happening in the Ha Long Bay, so you should be careful in case you visit Ha Long in June and July.
Hanoi to Halong Bay transportation
Motorbikes/ Cars
Hanoi - Bac Ninh - Ha Long Route: 155 kilometers.
This route which takes about 3 hours to travel by car is the shortest road from Ha Noi city to Ha Long, you can have a look at the following journey:
  • From Ha Noi, travelling along route 5- Sai Dong turning point: 10 km.
  • From Sai Dong, travelling a long Road 1- Bac Ninh Province: 23 km.
  • From Bac Ninh, travelling along Road 18 - Pha Lai - Chi Linh - Dong Trieu - Uong Bi - Ha Long: 122 km.
Ha Noi- Bac Ninh- Ha Long Route: 160 km
  • From Noi Bai airport (Ha Noi), travelling along Noi Bai- Bac Ninh: 32 km.
  • From the way to Highway 18A crossing Pha Lai, Sao Do, Dong Trieu, Uong Bi to Ha Long.
Bus
Tourists can take famous buses gathering at Luong Yen bus station or My Dinh bus station. The first bus departs at 6 am and the last one departs at 5 pm (each journey lasts from 3 to 4 hours). Bus tickets fluctuate from 100 thousand dong/ seat to 200 thousand dong/ bed seat.
Train from Hanoi to Halong bay
Tourists can take Halong Express tourist trains departing at 7:05 am from Gia Lam train station and it takes about 5 hours to get to Ha Long. Train tickets fluctuate from 5 USD/ 1- way/ person (for Vietnamese tourists) to 15 USD/ 1- way/ person (for foreigners).
 
Hotels in Ha Long bay 
There are many 3- and 4-star hotels around Bai Chay tourist resort that tourists can choose. Hotel price for a 3-star hotel is at least 474,000 VND/ day. You should come here in the early or middle of a week if you want to find cheap hotel rooms easily. From Friday to Sunday each week, there are a lot of tourists coming to Ha Long and this may result in expensive hotel price or difficulty in finding available rooms.
Besides, tourists can also stay in hostels with the average price at about 150,000 VND/ day. You can have a look at some following hotel addresses: Ha Long Dream (08 Ha Long street); Mithirn (Hung Thang street); Ha Long Pearl (Bai Chay); Ha Long Bay (Ha Long street); Bach Dang (02 Ha Long); Cong Doan Bai Chay (Ha Long street); Moon Light (Hung Thang street), etc….
 
On these days, many tourists are interested in Ha Long tours which offer them a chance to stay all night at the Bay. This service can bring to you great experience with many interesting activities such as: go sightseeing to enjoy Ha Long view at dawn or sunset, kayaking, bathing on the bay, singing karaoke, fishing squids at night, etc…
Night tours on the Bay may last for 2 days 1 night or 3 days 2 nights depending on the journey of each cruiser. The price for a 2- day journey of some 3-star cruisers like V’spirit, Majestic, Calypso, Halong Sails, Oriental Sails, Glory, etc is at least 2,200,000 VND and this price includes all prices for transportation from Hanoi to Ha Long, 3 meals, sightseeing, etc. Besides, in Ha Long Bay, there are also many 4- and 5-star cruisers namely Au co, Emeraude, Paradise, Starlight, etc. You can contact some travel companies to get reasonable price, especially there are many attractive promotions in summers.
In addition, you can take a ship around Ha Long Bay. The ship price depends on time and kinds of ships. If you go in a group of 10- 15 people, you are recommended to rent a small timber boat. In case you don’t go in a big group, you can ask hotel staffs to order the ticket for you. A sightseeing ticket costs about 40,000 VND/ person. If you want to have 6 hours sightseeing on Bay, it will cost you 100,000 VND. You should take a 3-4-hour sightseeing journey to save money. There are morning or afternoon journeys which offer convenience in travelling and relaxing that tourists can choose.
 
Vehicles for travelling and sightseeing in Ha Long
For travelling around the city, you can take taxi of some following firms: 886 Taxi– Mong Cai; Ha Long, Hon Gai; Mai Linh, etc. You can rent cruise ships these firms to visit the Gulf: Bai Chay tourist cruise terminal, Ha Long tourist cruise terminal; Duong Hai company; Ha Long Bay Service Center; Hai Au Company.
 
Attractions around Ha Long Bay
Bai Chay: Bai Chay Resort which is located along Halong Bay coast is an ideal destination for relaxing and bathing. Tourists can experience the wind all year round and the average temperature is above 20°C.
Co To Island: Tourists can take boats to Co To island to enjoy wonderful scenery with beautiful coral reefs and bathe. Co To Island can still remain some special wild characteristics in the bustling atmosphere of Ha Long tourist attraction.
Tuan Chau Island: Tuan Chau Island is the most beautiful island among 1, 969 ones in Ha Long Bay and it is also the only island in which there are citizens. The sloping Tra Co Coast with white sand is an ideal destination for underwater games.
Luon Grotto: One of the great attractive points of Halong Bay is the wide range of big and small grottos, and each one has its own beauty and story. Luon Grotto which is situated on Bo Hon Island, 14 kilometers south of Bai Chay is one among those grottos. Visiting this grotto, you have chance to encounter beautiful classes of rosin pillars which have been formed in different shapes and sizes in millions of years. Tourists can see Con Rua Islet in front of the grotto and the sky Gate is located on the right of Luon grotto.
Sung Sot Grotto: Sung Sot Grotto is situated at the center of Ha Long, on Bo Hon island. Inside this grotto exists many fossil stone pillars in various shapes. Sung Sot Grotto is located near many other attractive sights of Ha Long (Ti Top beach- Bo Nau Cave- Me Cung Grotto- Luon Grotto- Sung Sot Grotto) and it was named “Grotte des surprises” by the French.
Yen Tu Buddhism relic: Tourists coming to Ha Long have chance to visit not only the sea, but also pagodas. If you prefer the pagoda ceremony, Yen Tu Relic is certainly not a bad choice. Yen Tu Relic consists of a wide range of pagodas, hermitage, towers and ancient tree forest locating in the beautiful natural scenery from Red Slope to Yen Tu Mountain.
Cua Van Fishing Village: This destination brings about Vietnamese atmosphere and images to tourists visiting Ha Long. In this place, tourists can not only enjoy the peaceful and quiet atmosphere, but also learn more about the life and culture of fishermen like fishing, sailing, etc...
Historic sites in Ha Long: a group of vestiges including Bai Tho Mountain, Tran Quoc Nghien pantheon, Quang Ninh museum, etc is all favorite destinations of many tourists to Ha Long.
 
All information above will help you have a good trip from Hanoi to Halong bay. Let’s carry the luggage and go!

Visa to Vietnam

Vietnam Visa
Before entering Vietnam, you must have a Vietnam visa stamp or a Vietnam visa on arrival pre-approved letter. A tourist visa for Vietnam can be obtained from any Vietnamese embassy or consulate office worldwide. This visa is valid for 30 days and can be extended through our head office in Vietnam.
 
Vietnam E-Visa
An electronic visa (E-visa) is one of the visa types issued to foreigners by the Vietnamese Immigration Department via an electronic system. The Vietnam E-visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days, single entry.
Outside of Vietnam, foreigners who want to enter Vietnam can personally apply for an E-visa or through the inviting agencies and organizations. The E-visa fee is paid via electronic payment as prescribed by the Immigration Department. The fee will not be refunded if the application is refused.
 
List of Countries that allowed an E-visa issuing.
List of Ports that allowed foreigners to enter and exit Vietnam by E-visa.
Conditions for being granted e-visa:
  • Be a foreigner outside of Vietnam;
  • Hold a valid passport;
  • Not falling into the cases of suspension from entry prescribed in Article 21 of the Law on foreigners’ entry into, exit from, transit through, residence in Vietnam.
For foreigners outside of Vietnam, contact TUN Travel,
For inviting, guaranteed authority/organization, contact TUN Travel,
For airlines, contact TUN Travel.
 
Vietnam Visa On Arrival
TUN Travel can apply for visas upon arrival for you. For this, we send the approval document direct to you by fax or by scanned attached file. In the extremely unlikely possibility that you’ll be asked about your visa status, the official document will ensure that you’ll have no inconvenience at your departure airport. When you arrive at Hanoi/Tan Son Nhat or Da Nang airport, you will fill in the form to obtain your visas. For this service, we charge US$ 14.00 per person for the application procedure and assistance at the airport. You’ll also have to pay a further US$ 25.00 per person directly to the customs officer for the visa stamp, making the total cost of each visa US$ 39.00 per person. For this type of visa, each of you will need one colour passport photograph to give to the immigration officer.

Amazing experiences in Con Dao island

Amazing experiences you shouldn’t miss in Con Dao Island
Getting around the island by motorbike or bicycle
Con Dao is a small island with amazing scenery everywhere. A motorbike will help you navigate the whole island easier. If you don’t bring your own motorbike, you can rent one at any hotels in Con Dao for $6 to $9 a day. The people of Con Dao are very friendly. They are more than willing to assist you in case you get lost. You take in more of the island by riding through the island by motorbike.

Visiting Con Dao prison
Formerly one of the most notorious prisons in Indochina, Con Dao’s prison system has many solitary confinements and tiger cages, and has become the first destination for visitors when coming to this island. This place has detained and tortured many generations of Vietnamese political prisoners. Seeing the prison system with your own eyes, you will have a better understanding of the history of Vietnam and how the people suffered during the war.

Enjoying sunrise at 914 pier or Chim Chim nose
One of the moments that you don’t want to miss when visiting Con Dao is the sunrise at dawn. At this time, red and yellow are intertwined in the sky. When the shimmering sunlight shines on the beach are moments of tranquility that you will remember forever. To see the amazing moments immersed in sunrise in Con Dao, you can come to 914 pier or Chim Chim nose on Co Ong road (near Con Dao airport).

Immersing yourself on Dam Trau beach
It can be said that Dam Trau is the most beautiful beach in Con Dao with it’s long sandy beach and clear blue water. Immersed in Dam Trau beach is one of the experiences that visitors shouldn't miss when coming to this island. The exotic beauty of Dam Trau will capture the heart of anyone coming to this place.

Visiting Ong Dung beach
Ong Dung beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Con Dao. To go down to the beach, visitors have to walk through the forest of Con Dao National Park about 700m. The road is not too difficult to hike with beautiful scenery along the way. The sounds of leaves and animals such as squirrels and monkeys create a very natural environment.
After a walk through the jungle, Ong Dung beach suddenly appears like a mirage in a desert. Here you can go kayaking, fishing, snorkeling or be exploring the cliffs, crabs, snails... In addition, from the beach visitors can rent a boat at the Forest Protection Station to visit the nearby islands Tre Lon and Tre Nho.

Trying the jam of the seed of the Terminalia catalpa
In Con Dao, wherever you go you will encounter the dear silhouette of the Terminalia catalpa tree. Terminalia catalpa has become an integral part of their lives. The trees here are bigger and stronger than in any other places, with some trees being several hundred years old. Not only do the trees represent the vigor of the people here, but it also contributes to the improvement of the income of residents on the island through picking the beans to sell.
To make delicious jam, people go to collect seeds to dry and then split the seeds. Depending on the preparation the seeds can produce either salty or sweet jam. But whether salty or sweet, the smell and fat of the grain are always kept. The jam is a unique product of Con Dao. It can be said that the jam is a specialty that all visitors must try when visiting.  It can also be a great gift for friends and relatives after the trip.

Enjoying seafood on the coast
For an evening of fresh seafood, visitors can try some restaurants near Con Dao market, but the price can be relatively expensive. For a more personalized meal, you can visit the market to choose the seafood you like and have it prepared exactly the way you want it. It’s definitely worth visiting 914 pier just to enjoy the night scene, sipping a little wine while chatting with friends.

Fishing
Con Dao is a natural source of abundant seafood and is certainly an ideal destination for those who love fishing. For those who want to go on a fishing expedition, the trip should last from 3 to 4 days and cost around $500 per person. After few days on the sea, the group can collect about a few quintals of fish, including those weighing about 10 kg. If it’s a big catch, some of the fish can be resold to the fish market and the remaining frozen and transported to the mainland. However, the fishing expedition is quite popular on the island, so booking in advance is recommended.
For those who just want recreational fishing, you can take part in one-day fishing trips. Usually this catch could be enough where the group can hang out and BBQ the fish at the end of the day. If you come to Con Dao, don't forget to spend a day with the people of the island. Nothing beats making new friends as you enjoy the moment of relaxation and harmony with nature.

Visiting Hang Duong cemetery
As the war ended, Con Dao has become a historic pilgrimage destination with many sacred sites. One of them is Hang Duong Cemetery, the largest cemetery in Con Dao. This place has buried tens of thousands of patriots and revolutionary soldiers in Vietnam. No one has come to Con Dao without stopping to light the merit of heroic martyrs in Hang Duong.

Scuba diving
Con Dao consists of big and small islands such as Bay Canh island, Tai island, Tre island, etc…, which is the most colorful and rich coral reef in Vietnam. This is also an ideal place to explore the wonderful oceans because no place can give you the feeling of satisfying the curiosity of the animal world like here. Therefore, scuba diving to explore the ocean, mixing in colorful fish has become one of the activities that are indispensable when coming to Con Dao. Some reputable units that you can choose are Dive! Dive! Dive! (www.dive-condao.com), Con Dao Dive Center (divecondao.com).

Watching green turtles lay eggs
Watching green turtles lay eggs (from late April to November) will be a memorable experience when visiting this island. On average, there are nearly 400 tortoises every year in the sand dunes of Con Dao National Park nesting eggs. During turtles breeding season, Cat Lon beach on Bay Canh island is the beach with the most concentration of turtles.
To see the egg laying on Bay Canh island, it will be extremely difficult without a guide, so joining a package tour is the best option at this time. You can find the tour information here: http://www.condaopark.com.vn or https://getvietnamvisa.com.
In the process of visiting the island, visitors will be guided by the forest guards to see the turtles to lay eggs and learn the behavior of sea turtles. Not only that, you will get to drop the baby turtles back into the sea.