Dense jungles, brooding mountains, endless waterways, towering cliffs, hairpin bends: the potential for adrenaline-fuelled adventure is limitless in Vietnam.
Whether you prefer to scale the heights of jagged peaks or plumb the depths of coral reefs, Vietnam will deliver something special. Heck, just being here is one long adventure, but these experiences will take it to a whole new level.
Kayak Halong Bay
Photo by Halongluxuryjunks
Use paddle power to explore this incredible forest of karsts that jut out of the South China Sea like stone sentinels. Kayaks go where other boats cannot, such as into hidden caves and secret lagoons, and will reveal to you the very best of the bay.
Conquer Mount Fansipan
Photo by Tuoi Tre Newspaper
OK, so it is not Mt Everest, but at 3,143m, it is the highest peak in the country. Meet some of the people on the trek before tackling the elements to arrive on the roof of Vietnam.
Motorbike through the deep north
Photo by Tieu Phong
Saddle up for the ride of a lifetime in the mountains of Vietnam’s deep north. The roads are absolute rollercoasters, the scenery is simply stunning.
Photo by Nam Vinh
Forget about those newfangled engines and pedal through the back roads of the Mekong Delta – a patchwork of emerald greens. Stick to the roads less travelled or jump on the odd boat or two for the full Mekong experience.
Photo by Tuoi Tre Newspaper
See Vietnam from a different angle by scuba diving off its curvaceous coast. Tank up, buddy down and explore the reefs off Nha Trang. Other options are Phu Quoc Island or, the final frontier, Con Dao.
Photo by Tuoi Tre Newspaper
If all that underwater stuff sounds too deep, then float above it all with something more carefree like kitesurfing. Mui Ne is the unashamed kitesurfing capital, but the sport is (literally) taking off, up and down the coast.
Explore Vietnam’s national parks
Tourists explore Ninh Thuan national park – Photo by Phung My Trung
Vietnam’s jungle is massive – well at least in some of the protected areas. Track shy wildlife, hike to hidden waterfalls or mountain-bike down paths less travelled in one of the country’s remote national parks, such as magnificent Cat Tien.
Source: BBC/ Lonelyplanet
Co-ordinated efforts by the Government, local and tourism authorities, and the travel industry are needed to develop a strong brand for Vietnamese coastal tourism, experts have said.
“A development strategy for developing a brand should be drafted and supported by the Government and tourism associations,” Dr Nguyen Van Luu, deputy head of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Training Department, told a seminar in Mui Ne last week.
The seminar, on developing coastal tourism, was held under the aegis of the four-day International Sailing festival in Binh Thuan Province which closed on 20th March.
Tourism authorities and companies should focus on the country’s typical and most attractive features – like safety, friendliness, and hospitality – to create the brand, Luu said.
To strengthen that brand, good tourism products should be created.
Dr Nguyen Anh Tuan of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, in a presentation that was distributed to delegates, said Viet Nam remained relatively undiscovered by global tourists, which is a strong point.
“It has advantages like picturesque bays, long and beautiful beaches, and unexplored islands and caves,” he said.
He suggested five sub-brands based on an area’s attractions: Sea-landscape for Halong Bay, relaxation and cultural heritage (Hue, Hoi an, My Son), long stay and relaxation by the sea in the central region, sea sports in Nha Trang and Mui Ne, and sea-island exploration in Phu Quoc and Con Dao.
In doing so, localities should focus on competitive tourism products and invest in key projects like high-end resorts while preserving natural landscapes, several participants said.
It was necessary to develop wharves for tourist boats and sea routes to meet tourists’ needs.
Dr Vo Sang Xuan Lan, head of Van Lang University’s tourism faculty, also in a presentation that was distributed, said the sea tourism brand should factor in destinations, service providers and culture, including folk culture, the habits, customs and nature of people.
He cited the example of Hoi An, which has become a popular tourist destination due to the preservation of the ancient town and its people, who are fully aware of their role in welcoming visitors and conserving the environment and their heritage.
Ngo Minh Chinh, director of Binh Thuan’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, suggested that major events like yacht races and surfing and beauty contests should be organised to promote coastal and island tourism.
Viet Nam as a destination for tourism, especially coastal tourism, is still not very popular, figures from the ASEAN Travel Forum 2010 show. Last year Malaysia attracted more than 18 million international visitors, Thailand received almost 16 million, Singapore was third with 10.5 million, and Indonesia welcomed 7 million.
Viet Nam ranked fifth with more than 5 million arrivals above the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei, the remaining ASEAN members.
Viet Nam has a coastline of more than 3,200km and thousands of islands. It has famous bays like world heritage Ha Long, Lang Co beach and Nha Trang.
The country also has spectacular caves, including Phong Nha and Son Mong (newly discovered) in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News
|Today, you can explore Halong Bay from unprecedented heights by going on a helicopter tour.|
|Ha Long Bay is the jewel in Vietnam’s tourism crown, a stunning geological formation that captivates even the most travel weary and jaded of visitors.
Most people usually take a halong bay cruise around the bay. You can choose one or two night trips to enjoy the mesmerising scenery and discover wonderful coves and islets or simply enjoy the views from the top deck of your boat.
As a repeat visitor I wouldn’t say I’m tired of Ha Long, but I was certainly eager to discover another side of the UNESCO World Heritage Site when a friend told me about the helicopter tour.
This would be a great opportunity to fly over the bay and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the limestone karst islets which, according to legend are the shards of diamond and jade, that were spat out by a family of dragons sent from heaven to help protect Vietnam from foreign invaders.
I was so excited at the prospect of climbing into a helicopter, I could hardly sleep the night before. But as the morning drew closer I started to get increasingly nervous. What if, I am scared of heights? Having never scaled any cliff faces, or jumped out of an airplane, how would I know?
I begin to suffer vertigo even before I arrive at Gia Lam Airport, 5km from downtown Hanoi, where I am to meet my tour guide and the helicopter crew. The flight departs at 8.30am. Still slightly anxious, I reassure myself that by flying to Halong Bay I’m at least avoiding the long, rather dangerous road from Hanoi to Hai Phong. Ha Long is normally more than a three-hour drive but via helicopter we expect to arrive in 45 minutes.
Our guide informs us that the Russian MI-17 helicopter seats 24 people and will reach an altitude of 300m. We are also in luck; the sky is clear and blue, a perfect day for flying. We set off and everyone is immediately glued to the windows and we see vast, beautiful rice fields pass below us.
The Red River looks like a long snake winding its way through a terracotta garden. Tran Van Huong, the captain, informs us that because a helicopter flies slower and lower than a jet, there is less chance that people will feel sick while taking off or landing. The helicopter is quite large and comfortable, but being a military chopper, there is no air- conditioning, just fans.
We are told we can visit the cockpit and talk with the four-member crew or, rather, shout at the crew –it is hard to make yourself heard above the throbbing engines!
The whole package
The Northern Serviced Flight Company, who operate the helicopter, also offer trips to Sapa in Lao Cai province and Dien Bien Phu, but tourists currently seem to prefer Ha Long Bay. The whole tour with Luxury Travel includes a cruise on a junk as well as a helicopter tour over the bay, plus transfer from Hanoi and back by chopper.
Ha Long Bay is certainly spectacular from the helicopter – it’s as perfect as a painting: the white sandy coves, the thick green forest, the rugged mountains and the jagged karsts jutting out of the emerald water.
I snap as many pictures as I can before the chopper lands at a heliport on General Giap Hill (named after General Vo Nguyen Giap as you might guess) Who knows when I will be 200m above Ha Long Bay again?
The chopper lands smoothly and we are back down on earth. Everyone is buzzing after the trip and I almost feel sad it’s over.
We are driven from the heliport to Bai Chay harbour, where boats and junks have gathered to meet the hundreds of tourists arriving from Hanoi. I can’t help but swagger a little smugly past the tired looking tourists clambering out of the buses and mini-vans thinking, I came by helicopter and I feel great! Coming by chopper I got to sleep in longer and had plenty of room on board.
For once, I am actually refreshed and energised as we set off to explore the caves and beaches around Ha Long. Later on we grab kayaks and paddle around, visiting floating aquaculture farms and beaches. On previous trips I was often slumped in a chair, too tired and stiff to do anything else, but today I am up for everything.
We enjoy a lavish seafood lunch on board and everyone is still in high spirits, reflecting on the amazing trip. It’s a little clichéd to say “this was unforgettable” but that’s how we felt!
After lunch the junk returns to port before we again climb on board the helicopter and set off for the capital where we arrive at 2.30pm. It’s hard to believe we still have the whole afternoon ahead of us!
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is working with various related departments to launch a promotional campaign to vote for Ha Long Bay as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The coming months till November will see hectic activities to promote Ha Long Bay across the country.
The programs include “Ha Long Bay in the heart of Hanoi”, children photo and painting contests on Halong and a bike trip across national heritage sites in which 300 volunteers will participate.
According to information on the website www.new7wonders.com, the Seven Natural Wonders of the World will be announced on November 11.
Ha Long Bay is the only heritage site in Vietnam to be selected on the shortlist of 28 wonders and recommended for the 7 natural wonders of the world.
Source: The Saigon Times
Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province has attracted more than 2.5 million visitors over the past 11 months.
Ha Long Bay has been listed among the top ten destinations by boat, according to the world’s leading tourism magazine, Lonely Planet in the UK.
Visitors can sit in the boats to discover the beauty of Ha Long Bay, and paddle a kayak to visit small caves and grottos. Ha Long Bay currently has nearly 500 tourist boats and attracts millions of visitors each year.
Other destinations in the list include the fjords in Norway, the Amazon River in South America, Franklin River in Australia, Quetico Provincial Park in Canada, backwaters of Kerala in India, Milford Sound in New Zealand, the Greek islands, Disko Bay in Greenland and the Galapágos Islands in Ecuador.
Book halong bay cruise today at Vietnamhotels.net to enjoy best prices!
The People’s Committee of northern Quang Ninh Province is considering tightening regulations for boats staying overnight in Ha Long Bay, with vessels not meeting standards banned from operating, said deputy chairman of the committee Dang Huy Hau.
The regulations will clearly define the number of lifejackets on board, minimum motor power, and captain’s qualifications.
Hau said that local authorities had inspected 135 of the 151 tourism ships staying overnight on the bay. All of the inspected ships had the correct permits for over-night stays and most of them met safety regulations.
However, some of fire fighting equipment and pumps on some boats did not meet the necessary capacity. Some boat cabins were in poor condition and lacked lifejackets, he said.
The remaining 16 ships will be checked in the next ing days.
“Local authorities will establish a specialised team to regularly supervise all vessels spending nights on the bay,” said Hau.
Tourists, especially foreigners, will receive safety information.
The committee will also redefine safe anchorages.
“We will limit the number of vessels spending nights on the bay to about 50 a night,” said Hau.
Reducing the density of ships will make inspections easier, and help keep maintain a safe distance between ships, he said.
Hau added that after the fatal sinking that left 12 tourists dead on February 17, the number of tourists visiting Ha Long Bay had remained unchanged, and many tourists, including foreigners, were still happy to stay overnight.
At present about 400 ships operate on the bay and about 150 ships anchor overnight with more than 1,200 tourists, according to initial statistics provided by the committee.
International tourists return to Ha Long Bay
The number of tourists visiting Ha Long is getting back to normal after a slight decrease, Ha Long Bay’s Management Board has announced.
On Thursday, the Italian Costa Classica cruise ship brought around 2,150 Chinese tourists and sailors to the bay.
The tourists will take a 6-day tour around Vietnam after a 5-day tour around the bay, according to Saigontourist, the company authorized to receive the cruise.
The Portugal Princess Daphne with 500 Australian tourists will also arrive on March 2.
Last week, a tour boat sank, killing 12 people. All tour boats with night-stay services have been checked and put back to operation.
So by the time we left Hoa’s Place we had quite a crew happening, there was Cia from Melbourne, Dan, Sally and Steve from London and in Hoi An we picked up a Mexican his name Efrain. This was to be our gang for the next few days.
Hoi an like Halong Bay and My Son is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an old port town but nowadays is famous for its 100’s of tailors and cobblers. We got Jono a 3 piece suit made and me a dress, unfortunately we forgot to take a pic of his suit before we shipped it off (Trace it should be showing up in about 3 weeks) , he reckons its the comfiest suit ever and I must admit he does look dashing in it!
Even more exciting for me is we got shoes custom made, we got 2 pairs each for $85 , so now we are strolling the streets in pumps that have our names embroided on them, it had to be done!
So far Hoi An has been our favorite place and we have also had our best food here. Because Efrain had been in Hoi An for 3 weeks he knew where to go for cheap beer, and I’m talking 15 cents for a glass and for good food, to Ms Nam’s. We cruised across the river to Ms Nams on our first evening after a few beverages and had an AMAZING meal, so we jacked us up a cooking class there the next day.
The cooking class was a lot of fun, we learnt how to make spring rolls, banh xeo this pancake thing that you wrap in rice paper (so so good) and white rose which is a dumpling type thing that is unique to Hoi An. Jono was made the scribe by the group as he wasn’t super interested in the cooking so we could take the recipe’s and make them at home.
The next day Jono, Cia and I decided to hire bicycles and ride to the beach. Of course we got lost and went on a minor detour but this is always the fun part. Eventually we made it to the beach where we stopped for a beverage before starting the trip back into town.
That night we were all booked onto the sleeper bus to out next destination Nha Trang………
by JayZee, Mekong Meanders and Beyond, travelblog.org
Collected by vietnam hotel
Some tourists traveling to Vietnam often have only one wish that is visiting Halong bay, especially tasting halong bay by take on halong bay cruises. The length of these cruises almost is 1, 2, or 3 nights and 4 nights (sometimes).
Halong Bay has been recognized twice by UNESCO as a World Heritage site for its universal values of landscape, geology and geomorphology, respectively in 1994 and 2000.
On cruising trip, is it time to appreciate the wonders of Halong Bay including an exploration a magnificent cave and then navigating through the stunning limestone scenery of the bay.
The permanent beauty of Ha Long is created by three factors: stone, water and sky. Ha Long’s island system is multicolored with a variety of shapes and can be regarded as a water-color, a work of art. The islands, scattered all round, have different shapes which provoke the imagination: Dinh Huong (Incense Burner) implies spiritual significance, Ga Choi (Fighting Cocks) the symbol of Viet Nam tourism, Con Coc (Toad) recalls the passage of time, waiting thousands of years to seek justice in Heaven. There are islands that resemble a resplendent throne; a Vietnamese mother’s curved back carrying her child, a roof, an old man, a human head and so on.
Within the bigger islands are great attractions. Dau Go Cave (Wooden Stakes) dazzles the senses with many huge stalactites hanging poised in mid air and stalagmites growing majestically upwards. Then there is Thien Cung Grotto (Heavenly Palace) with its small, narrow entrance, but inside looking like a marvelous palace, and many other caves each has its own attractions and beauty.
Ha Long’s sea is always the same, blue, smooth and still. Ha Long has its own beauty by seasons. In spring, buds of trees burst on limestone islands. In summer, it is cool and clean with many sparkling sun rays reflecting from the sea’s surface. In autumn, especially at night, moonlight illuminates the mountains so they appear like gold, inlaid into the earth. In winter, with pervasive frost, Ha Long is glamorous as “a floating flower basket on smooth wave” (by writer Nguyen Tuan).
Karst geomorphologic value
Ha Long Bay is a mature karst landscape developed during a warm, wet, tropical climate. The sequence of stages in the evolution of a karst landscape over a period of 20 million years requires a combination of several distinct elements including massive thickness of limestone, a hot wet climate and slow overall tectonic uplift.
Halong Bay is undoubtedly not only a national but also a world nature, a magnificent work of Natural Creator. People who are admirers of natural beauty should stand up, pack their luggages, and right away pick up a flight to Ha Long, or else they will soon feel regretful!
Book Vietnam cruises now to enjoy the beauty of this wonder on Earth, Halong bay!
The project includes afforestation, forest caring, forest restoration, forest plantation farming and construction of forest protection stations, notice boards, a garden for rare plant migration training, etc.
It will be implemented within 4 years from 2011 on all of the islands in Bai Tu Long bay namely Ba Mùn, Trà Ngọ Lớn, Trà Ngọ Bé, Sậu Đông, Sậu Nam, Đông Ma, Hòn Chín, Lỗ Hố, Máng Hà Nam, Máng Hà Bắc, Di to, Chầy Chầy, Đá Ẩy, Soi Nhụ and more than 20 other small islands. The total investment capital is over VND 7 billion, coming from the state budget.
With the total area of 15,783 hectares, Bái Tử Long National Park supports about 2,000ha of lowland evergreen forest, most of which is on Ba Mùn Island. Plant species diversity is high in the forest in the national park, with no one family dominating. Common tree species include members of the Caesalpiniaceae, Theaceae, Dipterocarpaceae, Myrtaceae and Sapotaceae families.
The park is now home to 672 species of terrestrial plants and 178 aquatic floral species, of which 11 species have been listed in Việt Nam Red Book of endangered species.
It also boasts 37 species of animal, 96 species of bird, 15 species of amphibian, 22 species of reptiles, 119 species of fish; 132 species of invertebrate animal and 106 species of coral. One of the most endangered animals in the park is dugong, also known as a sea cow.
Apart from its biological diversity, the park boasts wonderful natural landscapes, intact beaches, archaeological sites of ancient Việt Nam and vestiges of the former busy trading port of Van Don.
Bãi Cháy bridge was selected among 20 typical works after Doi Moi period, according to Vietnamese Architecture Association.
The list of 20 typical works after Doi Moi period was made by the Selection Committee which includes famous and experienced architecturers, artists, journalists, historians, etc.
The bridge started to be constructed on May 2003 by the Japan’s joint partners Shimizu-Sumitomo-Mitsui and the Transport Ministry’s Project Management Unit No 18 and was completed on December 2, 2006. The main bridge will be 903 meter long and 25.3 meter wide, with a clearance height of 50 meters, allowing 50,000-tonne vessels to pass through.
This is the type of cable-stayed bridge which has two outer span, reinforced concrete box beams prestressed with the width of the world record pace for this type of bridge.
The finance for the bridge worth VND 2.1 trillion (US$134 billion) primarily came from the Japanese official development assistance loans.
Spanning the Cửa Lục Straits in halong City and connecting Bãi Cháy with Hòn Gai, after opening to traffic, the bridge plays an important part in facilitating traffic on National Highway No 18, which links Hạ Long City and Hà Nội, and boosting the economy of not only Quảng Ninh but also the northern port city of Hải Phòng and Hà Nội.
Collected by Vietnam hotel