Hanoi – Ha Long – Cat Ba Island 3 days 2 nights

Halong Bay

Ha Long Bay (also "Halong Bay") is in northern Vietnam, 170 km (105 mi) east of Hanoi. The bay is famous for its scenic ocean karst topography and is often included in lists of natural wonders of the world.

"Ha Long" means "Bay of Descending Dragons" (Chinese: 下龍灣; Xiàlóngwān,Haa4 Lung4 Waan1), though prior to the 19th century this name was not recorded in any document or archive. When mentioning the present-day Quang Ninh Sea or Ha Long Bay, old historical books often referred to them by the names of An BangLuc Thuy or Van Don. Not until the late 19th century did the name of Ha Long Bay appear on a French Marine Map. The Hai Phong News, a French newspaper of the time, had an article, Dragon appears on Ha Long Bay, reporting the following story: In 1898 a sub-lieutenant named Lagredin, captaining the Avalanse reported seeing a huge sea snake on Ha Long Bay. This was also witnessed by many of the crews. Thus emerged the European image of the Asian dragon. Whether this appearance of a strange animal looking like a dragon resulted the name of Ha Long Bay is not known.

The Ha Long Bay archipelago is made up of 1969 islands, both settled and uninhabited. These can be accessed from various ports, though in the special case of Cat Ba you can also arrive either by car, motorbike or bus (via Haiphong) or combined bus/boat (from Hanoi via Halong City).

This unique UNESCO World Heritage Site is a popular place for tourists and it is good to know that large parts of Ha Long Bay are officially protected from development. The islands vary greatly in size and shape as well as structure.

Visitors might want to allow a few days to explore this magical bay as its attractions are extremely numerous.

 

Cat Ba is an island in the Cat Ba Archipelago of Vietnam's Ha Long Bay.

Cat Ba is the largest island in the Bay and approximately half of its area is covered by a National Park, which is home to the highly endangered Cat Ba langur. This golden-headed langur is rarely seen, as fewer than 60 specimens are thought to survive in the wild, although it is the subject of a well-organised conservation programme; the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Program, an international NGO that has its office at the National Park Head Quarters. The Park covers both land and marine areas and has a high biodiversity, although it is at risk from too rapid an increase in tourism. Other mammals in the Park include civet cats and oriental giant squirrels.

Outside of Cat Ba town is a beautiful island with much to explore.

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