Overview of Bai Tu Long Bay
Geologically, Bai Tu Long Bay is a continuation of Ha Long Bay and shares a similar landscape. Bai Tu Long Bay is a large body of water covering an area of approximately 158 km2 and consisting of hundreds of islands and islets. The vast majority of its islands remain unspoiled and untouched, much like they were when they were created by Mother Dragon and her children, as the local legend has it. Bai Tu Long Bay is often overshadowed in the popular imagination by Ha Long Bay, but it is actually a separate bay with distinct borders that distinguish it from its more well-known neighbor. Like Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long is characterized by towering limestone karsts rising out of the tranquil green waters, though these outcrops may be slightly taller and more densely concentrated in Bai Tu Long.
Bai Tu Long Bay or Ha Long Bay
Bai Tu Long Bay is a destination that is just as beautiful and exciting as Ha Long Bay, but it is less polluted and less crowded. These lesser-known destinations are perfect for those who prefer to venture off the beaten path. However, due to its lesser-known status, tour operators often lump the attractions of Bai Tu Long Bay, Ha Long Bay, and Lan Ha Bay together under the “Halong Bay” brand, sometimes without informing tourists that they are not strictly speaking in Ha Long Bay. Nevertheless, all three bays offer breathtaking beauty and are worth visiting. With fewer tourists, visitors to Bai Tu Long Bay may have a sense of discovering a truly pristine and undiscovered place.
Boat Trip To Bai Tu Long Bay
A boat trip to Bai Tu Long Bay is a great way to explore the area and take in the breathtaking scenery. There are many tour operators that offer boat trips to Bai Tu Long Bay, and the trips typically last for two or three days. The boat trip usually includes a visit to a local fishing village, as well as stops at some of the bay’s most famous landmarks such as Cong Do, Tra San, and Hon Co Island. You can also participate in activities such as kayaking, swimming, and hiking during the trip.
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When planning your boat trip to Bai Tu Long Bay, it’s important to choose a reputable tour operator and carefully read the itinerary to make sure it includes the activities and destinations you are interested in. You should also consider the time of year you are planning to go, as the weather and water conditions can vary depending on the season.
Best time visit Bai Tu Long Bay
The best time to visit the north of Vietnam is during the months of March to April and September to October, as the weather is neither too hot nor too cold and there are clear skies. January and February can be somewhat chilly, and May through September typically sees the arrival of southern monsoons. It is important to consider the weather when planning a trip to the north of Vietnam.
Main attractions in Bai Tu Long Bay
Ban Chan Beach
Very much an “off the beaten track” area, the white sand fringed by the idyllic sea at Ban Chan Beach makes this one of the most coveted beaches in the entire region. Surrounded by rugged rocks and lush green forest, Ban Chan Beach is a wonderful setting to enjoy a swim, kayaking or a beach barbecue.
Cap La Island
Cap La Island is a beautiful destination known for its pristine natural landscapes and white sandy beaches. Located beneath an evergreen rainforest ecosystem, the island offers plenty of offshore locations for diving, kayaking, and fishing. Visitors interested in learning about Vietnamese culture can also stop at the Cap La fishing village to observe the simple and peaceful daily life of the local fishermen.
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Cong Dam Area
Cong Dam Area, home to a fishing village of 120 people, is renowned for its karsts that formed over 340 million years ago and is often referred to as an “outdoor geological museum.” Visitors to Cong Dam can interact with the local fishermen, learn about their deep-rooted fishing traditions, and participate in activities such as kayaking, boat rowing, and fishing. These hands-on experiences are not to be missed when visiting the village.
Cong Do Island
Cong Do Island, like many of its neighboring islands, has a similar geological makeup. However, what sets it apart is the numerous caves that can be found beneath its towering mountains. Visitors on an Indochina junk boat can explore these caves by kayak or relax on the nearby lagoons and beaches. With options for both adventure and relaxation, Cong Do Island has something for everyone.
Hon Co Island
Hon Co Island, also known as Grass Island, is located in the Cong Do Area and is a popular destination for cruises traveling through Bai Tu Long Bay. The island is known for its pristine and untouched beauty, with white sandy beaches and tranquil waters that make it an ideal spot for activities such as kayaking, swimming, and cave exploration.
Thien Canh Son Cave
Thien Canh Son Cave is a large cavern located on Thien Canh island and can be accessed via a hidden path through a dense forest canopy next to a cliff face. The cave is made up of three main chambers and is known for its unique rock formations, which are often likened to everyday objects such as lotus blooms, a baby elephant, or seals. There is also a beautiful beach nearby, making Thien Canh Son Cave a great place to stop and explore for a few hours while on a cruise.
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Tra Gioi Beach
Tra Gioi beach is a must-see destination for tourists visiting Bai Tu Long Bay, known for its crystal clear water, white sandy shores, and breathtaking natural scenery. From the top of the nearby mountain, visitors can take in panoramic views of the bay, with its hundreds of islets and expansive blue sea. Cruises and guided tours frequently include a beach BBQ lunch at Tra Gioi, allowing visitors to fully enjoy the natural surroundings while they dine.
Vung Vieng Fishing Village
Vung Vieng Fishing Village is one of the few remaining traditional fishing villages in Halong Bay, making it a must-see destination for those interested in learning about the local culture and way of life. While the village is no longer inhabited on a full-time basis, it has been preserved for tourists to visit and explore. Visitors can walk around the floating village and learn about the long-standing traditions of the Halong people.