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Halong Bay is located in the north of Vietnam, around 100 miles east of the city of Hanoi. The bay is well-known for the thousands of tiny islets situated just offshore, which create an enchanting and captivating environment, often regarded as being amongst one of the greatest wonders of the world. This magical bay boasts breath taking natural beauty and a fascinating local culture, creating a particularly memorable holiday destination that has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its remarkable landscape and mystical ambience. The name Halong translates to English as Bay of Descending Dragons, an apt named for a location that looks like something taken straight from the pages of a story book.
One of the easiest and most exciting ways to explore the many islets and beautiful locations situated around Halong Bay is by boat. Boat trips from Halong Bay allow guests to discover the stunning beaches, unspoilt landscapes and hidden coves found on many of these wonderful and exquisite islets. Day cruises and overnight cruises are available from the bay, voyaging to many of the most remarkable and beautiful parts of this unique archipelago. The cruises on offer often also incorporate enjoyable activities, aside from going ashore at a variety of the small islands in the bay, such as kayaking and cocktail parties. Alternatively, visitors who do not wish to set sail across the bay can stay on the mainland and gamble in the Ha Long Bay Casino. Some of the most popular islands and islets in the bay include:
Cat Ba is the largest island in Halong Bay and is half-covered by a verdant national park. This incredible island is home to the extremely rare and endangered primate known as Cat Ba langur or golden-headed langur. Other native wildlife includes the oriental giant squirrel and civet cats. The island also features a collection of splendid caves and beaches, access to the nearby Monkey Island and a US naval fort built in 1942.
Bo Hon Island
Bo Hon Island is famous for its deep caves and caverns, which are surrounded in local legend and myth. The Hung Sung Sot Cave contains many interconnected chambers and an array magnificent stalactites.
Quan Lan is a incredibly scenic island with a sparse population of permanant inhabitants. The island is accessible by boat from Halong Bay and features a range of beautiful beaches along its coastline.
The local Halong Market is well known for its fresh seafood and edible produce, whereas the nearby Mong Cai Market offers item such as fabrics, clothes and electronics at affordable prices. The night market in Bai Chay town is one of the best places in the region to pick up gifts and souvenirs, including traditional hats, chopsticks and ceramics.
Several Vietnamese specialities are available in eateries around Halong Bay, where tourists can pick up local cuisine including seafood dishes such as Tu Hai and rice-based meals such as Gat Gu.
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