Traveling to Vietnam and Ha Long Bay
For vacationers traveling to Vietnam, one of the most stunning sights is in the northeast of the country as hundreds of islands capped with jungle vegetation rise up from Ha Long Bay. One of the most popular sites in the country, there are a number of locations worth checking out in and around the area. However, people able to get cheap international flights from Asiana Airlines or other carriers may also have money left over to travel to Cat Ba Island at the fringes of the Bay and nearby museums in Hanoi.
Ha Long Bay Attractions
The limestone crests that create the thousands of islands contain unique flora and fauna due to the unique climate and water temperature caused by the geological changes over time. Many people explore the bay via a number of cruises that cater to tourists. While less common, a peaceful way to enjoy the area is to rent a boat and spend an evening in the area while exploring the inlets and geological diversity at their own pace.
The sheer number of islets, about 1,600, also afford travelers the opportunity to take in caves and natural grottoes like Dau Go Cave with stalactites and stalagmites, as well as Dong Thien Cung. Those who take their own boats or find tour operators willing to go a bit out of their way will be able to find caverns that see fewer visitors over the course of the year.
In addition to the caves and tourist spots, many Vietnamese make their living in the bay through fishing, meaning that the local seafood cuisine is a must-try at many of the floating eateries that dot the 600-square-mile bay. No matter where travelers stop, the vistas during a meal stand out.
Cat Ba Island
The largest land form in Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba Island has been building up its infrastructure to support tourism and now has hundreds of hotels and even wi-fi access for those who cannot spend too much time away from their computer. However, the sights are what most visitors will remember, and a must-see is the Cat Ba National Park that covers one-third of the entire island.
There are a variety of ecosystems that afford travelers the opportunity to see a number of wildlife and foliage in a relatively small space of 37 square miles. The indigenous langur, a type of small monkey, cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. There are also several hundred different types of fish and 160 species of birds alone, with the latter a top draw for ornithologists and birdwatchers alike.
Outside of the park, nature lovers can also bike around the island or visit caves like those on Ha Long Bay islets either via cruises or under their own power with kayaks or renting small boats to explore nearby.
Heading Back to Hanoi
Many people who are crunched for time often start in Hanoi and make a day trip or two to Ha Long Bay. However, planning a vacation and getting cheap international flights to Vietnam means that spending a few days in Hanoi is feasible. It opens up a number of attractions and the old section of the city and several museums are worth a look.
The Old Quarter is an area of a few dozen city blocks that contains examples of colonial architecture, shops, restaurants and bars, and a bustling environment that can either overwhelm or vitalize travelers. Bargaining is the recommended choice if you choose to buy anything in the shops, although prices will be affordable even if you do not.
There are two museums that focus on less-publicized groups that have played a key role in Vietnamese history. The Vietnam Women’s Museum focuses on the achievements of a group often ignored by museums in other countries, with a focus on how they contributed to society and their struggles given the culture. The other is the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, which is both a museum and a working research center. For many, their only knowledge of other ethnic groups comes from their activities during the Vietnam War. Yet the museum points out how these different ethnic minorities lived and examples of their customs as well.
No matter what is on your travel to-do list for a Vietnam vacation, cheap international flights make it easier to do more with less. Check out fares from Asiana Airlines to help maximize your budget when traveling to Ha Long Bay and other destinations in Northeast Vietnam.
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