About the pictures of Halong Bay
Halong Bay Cruise – View from Sung Sot Big Cave. Look hard enough and you’ll see Bo Nau Cave at the far end in the middle. It will take 3 hours to get here from Bai Chay on a motorized boat. This shot was taken in January and as evident in the picture, skies are often overcast during the winter months. Before going to Halong, ask hotel clerk to call and check the weather. If it is bad, you will not be able to go out to the bay and you might as well skip the trip because there isn’t much to see or to do on Bai Chay and Hon Gai in the winter. On the other hand, there are few tourists and hotels and boats are plentiful.
Bai Chay in the summer, 6 AM. A local told us that this short strip of sand is not a natural beach. Sand was put there a while back for the vacationers staying in the numerous hotels lining the beach. Locals go the beach real early and they are all gone by 7:30AM. Water is warm and very clear in the summer. Very popular with city dwellers from Hanoi and Hai Phong who often come on bus tours sponsored by their company.
Rocky end of Bai Chay. On a clear day, the view from Bai Chay is just awesome, with the limestones formations surrounding the bay. Here, a fisherman is checking his catch. Fresh seafood is excellent in restaurants on Bai Chay but not cheap. There are many restaurants on the strip, however, the smaller 3 or 4 tables establishments out number the traditional larger places. Quan Hai ly run by the owner and cook, located next to the Post office hotel serve a very delicious steam squid with sauté onion and pepper dipping sauce and the owner’s signature rau muong sao with rau ngo, a vegetable. These dishes are quite unique and are the among the best samples of local cuisine. The owner also have a brother who own a passenger boat to take tourists out to the bay.
Rare glimpse of the disappearing fishing “junk” boat. They have been all converted to motorized boats to satisfy the growing demand of the tourist trade. To get on one of these boats to explore the bay, best is to go the dock and talk directly with the boat owner. He normally only gets half of what you would have to pay to middle men, usually your hotel front desk or your driver.
View from inside Bo Nau cave, probably the most photographed location in Ha Long bay. Used to be free, now they charge just for stopping by and take a look! Worst part is the collection desk, which they put right in the middle, making taking a shot with a clear view impossible. This picture was taken in 1992, government started charging money in 1994.
View from inside Sung Sot cave. Allow time for a moderately steep climb for about 10 minutes. According to our guide, the top can be reached with another 2 hours of climbing. Breathtaking view, a must see,
You can get here through a slippery passage in the back of Sung Sot cave. These are Trinh Nu islets.
Postcard scan of Poem Mountain overlooking Hon Gai City, a bustling seaport. One of the 2 ways to get to Ha Long Bay is to take a boat from Hai Phong to Hon Gai; the other is to drive from Hanoi, going through Hai Duong, then Hai Phong, then Bai Chay.
Postcard scan of Rice Ball Rock (Hon Oan), one of the many interesting rock formations that your boat will pass by during the daytrip to see the caves. Leave early in the morning and allow at least 6 hours for the trip. Buy bread and beer before going to the dock. Merchants with lived fishes, shrimps, crabs and squids will approach your boat. Your lunch will be a quick but delicious meal of seafood steamed in beer. Boat captain usually provides pot, salt, pepper and lime.