Bai Tu Long Bay, beautiful cousin of Halong
- on Mar 11, 2023       By: BN
Next to Halong Bay, the cousin of the world natural wonder has something to seduce those who are looking for landscapes that are just as picturesque and above all, uncrowded. Known as the name Bai Tu Long Bay, it’s a discreet beauty that surprises with its sublime islets and desert beaches with fine sand. It was also acclaimed by the British agency Gecko Travel by appearing in its list of 5 best destinations in South East Asia in 2006.
Guide to Bai Tu Long Bay
It lies in the Gulf of Tonkin, southwest of Halong Bay, west of Cam Pha town and northeast of the island district of Co To. Covering nearly 1000 square meters, this archipelago has nothing to be ashamed of when compared to Halong, it is made up of some 600 islands and islets, several of which invite you to explore passionately in a few days.
Shaped by hundreds of islands and islets, some of which are inhabited such as Van Don, Quan Lan, Ban Sen, and Ngoc Vung, Bai Tu Long Bay is home to little-known corners of the tourist mass, in contrast to its big sister Halong Bay. The inhabitants mainly practice fishing and fish farming.
The name Bai Tu Long is reminiscent of the name of Halong Bay. If Halong means Descending Dragon, Bai Tu Long means son of the prostrating dragon. These names originate from the legend about the formation of countless sugar loaves in the Tonkinese Gulf. Thousands of multiform peaks were created following the movements of the mother dragon coming to save the Vietnamese from the Chinese invaders. The place of descent of the Mother Dragon is nowadays Halong Bay while that of her son is Bai Tu Long Bay. Bach Long Vi Island known for the strip of fine sand is the trace of the tail whipping of the sacred dragons.
Bai Tu Long Bay does not fail to amaze nature lovers with its small karstic gems to be mentioned, in particular, the Bai Tho (Poem) mountain, the Con Coc (Frog) islets, Tien Ong (Old fairy), Con Rua (Turtle), Mat Quy (face of the Demon), Con Co (Stork) and the Thien Canh Son caves, Tam Cung (Three Palaces), Me Cung (Labyrinth)…
We also can’t forget the pretty beaches with fine sand like Con Co, Van Don, Co To, Quan Lan, and Minh Chau… each one with its own charm will satisfy your thirst for sea and idleness in full peace of mind. You will also have the opportunity to explore the Bai Tu Long National Park, a national biosphere reserve which is listed as an ASEAN heritage park. An exceptional biodiversity rich in rare animal and plant species, a varied environmental setting made up of rocky islets, valleys and creeks, all make it a little paradise between sea and land. The islands of Ba Mun, big Tra Ngo, small Tra Ngo, Sau Nam, Dong Ma, Hon Chinh and in particular the Hang Doi cove, which are the habitat of bats, are some of the places worth visiting for a walk combining relaxation and discovery.
To embellish the day under the colour of nature and culture, other stops are also interesting to make, like the Thong Thien cave, the island of Phat Co and the temple of Cua Ong, a historical vestige and religious high place of the province of Quang Ninh and the country…
By opting for a classic tour of Bai Tu Long Bay, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Thien Canh Son cave, relax on Hon Co beach, and meet the fishermen of Vung Vieng village... For those who wish to extend the sea trip to one of the islands a little further away, head to Co To, Quan Lan or Ngoc Vung. From Cai Rong port, it takes between 45 and 90 minutes by speedboat to reach them, depending on the distance. On the other hand, your patience will be totally rewarded once you arrive at a haven of peace on the open sea.
The best way to enjoy the charm of Bai Tu Long Bay is to cruise for two days and one night and ideally three days and two nights. Getting away from the crowds and lounging at sunrise and sunset aboard a charming cruise is an experience to try without moderation. You can go swimming, kayaking or relaxing by the sea under the sun… The place offers a number of sporting and fun activities, ideal whether for recharging your batteries or sharing moments of total enjoyment with your loved ones.
Given its location in the East sea, Bai Tu Long experiences the same meteorological characteristics as Halong with two distinct periods. It is hot and humid in summer during the months between April and August. Winter lasts between November and March. The average annual temperatures range between 15°C – 25°C.
In fact, the peak season for Vietnamese vacationers normally falls in the summer months. Winter is therefore favoured by foreign travellers for dry weather, great freshness and certainly, minimum traffic. Please take note that the months of June and July are not recommended to go there due to the risk of rain and typhoon.
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