Bai Tu Long Bay: Exploring the Serene Beauty of Quang Ninh, Vietnam

While Ha Long Bay has garnered widespread acclaim among travelers, its lesser-known neighbor, Bai Tu Long Bay, remains a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Situated in Quang Ninh province, Bai Tu Long Bay boasts stunning geological formations and pristine natural landscapes, offering a tranquil retreat away from the bustling crowds of its more famous counterpart.

Bai Tu Long is winning the hearts of more and more travelers (Source: Collected)
Bai Tu Long is winning the hearts of more and more travelers (Source: Collected)

Sharing many similarities in geological features with Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay is often regarded as a serene alternative, offering visitors a more secluded and immersive experience. With its emerald waters, towering limestone pillars, and hidden caves, Bai Tu Long Bay captivates travelers with its untouched beauty and unspoiled charm.

For those seeking a peaceful escape amidst breathtaking scenery, Bai Tu Long Bay promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Vietnam’s natural wonders. Whether cruising along its tranquil waters, exploring hidden caves and grottoes, or simply soaking in the serenity of its surroundings, Bai Tu Long Bay offers a mesmerizing retreat for the discerning traveler.

Bai Tu Long Bay boasts a harmonious blend of islands and sea, making it one of the top five outstanding tourist destinations in Southeast Asia as rated by Gecko Travel. Whether you’re planning a short getaway or looking to embark on a grand adventure with your family in Quang Ninh – Vietnam, Bai Tu Long could be the spark you need.

1. A glimpse of Bai Tu Long Bay in Vietnam

1.1. Location

A glimpse of Bai Tu Long Bay in Vietnam
A glimpse of Bai Tu Long Bay in Vietnam

Bai Tu Long is a bay in Quang Ninh, comprising hundreds of small and large islands in the Gulf of Tonkin. It lies to the east of the famous Ha Long Bay, just 150 km from the Chinese border and 170 km east of Hanoi.

1.2. Why is Bai Tu Long Bay worth visiting?

Bai Tu Long Bay worth a visit
Bai Tu Long Bay worth a visit

Bai Tu Long Bay in Vietnam astonishes travelers with its stunning landscapes: secluded and pristine beaches, impressive limestone mountains, tranquil fishing villages, numerous limestone islands, and magnificent caves. The bay also boasts rich biodiversity with two ecosystems: a tropical, humid, evergreen forest ecosystem, and a marine and coastal ecosystem. Those who enjoy the beautiful scenery of Ha Long Bay but prefer fewer tourists will find this place very suitable for their expectations.

Additionally, there are many recreational destinations here such as Bai Tu Long National Park, Cong Do Area, Vung Vieng Fishing Village, Da Xep Park, Cong Dam Area, Thien Canh Son Cave, and Tra Gioi Beach.

2. How to get to Bai Tu Long in Halong bay

How to get to Bai Tu Long, Quang Ninh
How to get to Bai Tu Long, Quang Ninh

Hon Gai Port serves as the departure point for cruises to Bai Tu Long. Generally, the travel times are as follows:

– From  Hanoi to Hon Gai Port (Halong City): 3 hours 15 minutes – by bus/car – covering a distance of 136 km.
– From Noi Bai International Airport to Hon Gai Port (Halong City): 3 hours 20 minutes – by bus/car – covering a distance of 157 km.
– From Cat Bi International Airport to Hon Gai Port (Halong City): 2 hours – by car/taxi – covering a distance of 79 km.

*** Note: Most travel companies provide shuttle services either included in the package price or at an additional cost (ranging from 20-30 USD per person per trip). If you find this service more convenient, it’s advisable to check in advance to select a reputable service provider.

3. Things to do in Bai Tu Long Bay, Halong bay

3.1. Bai Tu Long Bay cruise trips

Bai Tu Long Bay offers expansive areas of pristine natural landscapes, making it an ideal destination for exploration. Numerous cruises are available to offer visitors an array of breathtaking views. These cruises typically follow sailing routes that traverse renowned sites adorned with majestic mountains and crystal-clear seawater. Some of the notable attractions along these routes include Thien Canh Son cave, Vung Vieng village, Ban Chan Island, Cap La Island, and the Cong Dam area.

You can also indulge in a variety of activities on cruise tours, including experiencing squid fishing, immersing yourself in the local life of floating villages, dining in a candlelit cave, enjoying ,  kayaking close to limestone islands or  have a BBQ lunch on the beach

3.2. Explore Vung Vieng and Cong Dam Fishing Villages

Vung Vieng floating village, situated approximately 20 kilometers off the mainland in the heart of Bai Tu Long Bay, Quang Ninh, offers a fascinating glimpse into the local lifestyle of sailing and fishing. The sight of fishing boats with nets spread out to dry and the sounds of laughter echoing from local families give Vung Vieng an enchanting and traditional ambiance. Visitors have the option to tour the village in a rowing boat with a local guide or rent a kayak to explore the community independently.

Similarly, Cong Dam presents a picturesque scene reminiscent of Vung Vieng, albeit located farther from the mainland and home to a smaller floating village of approximately 120 residents. Travelers can embark on a kayaking tour around the area to admire the scenery or join local fishermen to try their hand at fishing. Surrounding the village are numerous lagoons and sea caves, along with several beautiful beaches such as Tra Gioi, Cay Bang, and Cat Oan, all of which are worth discovering.

3.3. Enjoy Swimming and Snorkeling at Ban Chan Beach

While kayaking offers an unforgettable experience at Vung Vieng fishing village and Cong Dam area, swimming and snorkeling are equally enticing activities not to be overlooked at Ban Chan Beach.

Ban Chan is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, pristine white-sand beach, and superb visibility, making it an ideal destination for swimming and snorkeling enthusiasts. The rugged rocks and verdant green forest backdrop enhance the beach’s allure, creating a truly majestic setting for water activities.

3.4. Discover Thien Canh Son Cave

Thien Canh Son Cave is an expansive cavern consisting of three significant chambers. Hidden beneath a dense forest canopy near a cliff face, the entrance to the cave leads visitors into a mesmerizing world of natural formations. Inside, stalactites and stalagmites take on various shapes, resembling lotus blooms, baby elephants, seals, and blossoms. The cave’s ceiling is particularly remarkable, adorned with sparkling stalactites resembling a shimmering carpet.

Adjacent to the cave lies a beautiful beach, also named Thien Canh Son, offering a perfect spot to relax and unwind after hours of exploration.

3.5. Explore Bai Tu Long National Park

Bai Tu Long National Park has earned recent recognition as an ASEAN Heritage Garden. Encompassed by towering limestone mountains, the park spans 15,783 hectares and boasts nearly 500 species of plants, 37 species of birds, and numerous marine creatures including seagulls, mussels, and abalone. At its heart lies the Ba Mun island group, renowned for its rich biodiversity, housing approximately 800 species of rare and diverse plants.

Besides its remarkable biological diversity, Bai Tu Long National Park showcases breathtaking natural scenery, unspoiled coastlines, ancient Vietnamese archaeological sites, and remnants of Van Don’s bustling trading port.

Throughout the year, visitors can engage with nature and deepen their ecological knowledge by participating in the park’s wildlife enrichment programs.

4. Top 5 local dishes you should try in Bai Tu Long Bay.

Visitors to Bai Tu Long not only enjoy beautiful scenery but also a remarkable diversity of fresh seafood and unique specialties:

  • Grilled snout otter clam
  • Blue king crab
  • Horseshoe crab
  • Grilled oyster with onion
  • Squid sausage
  • Clam soup with spinach

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5. Tips for visiting Bai Tu Long Bay, Quang Ninh

  • Visitors to Bai Tu Long should take note of the following to have a comfortable trip:

Always wear a hat and apply sunscreen;
Bring necessary personal items, especially insect repellent, bandages, allergy medication, cold medicine, etc., to prevent any issues that may arise;
Prepare a smartphone or camera to capture beautiful moments;
Check the weather ,  traffic before your trip;
Make accommodation reservations in advance, which is crucial for your wonderful trip to Bai Tu Long.

  • When planning a trip to Bai Tu Long, aside from Bai Tu Long, you should consider visiting other fantastic destinations such as  Cat Ba Island, Thien Cung Cave, Dark and Light Cave, Ti Top Island , etc.. These places offer diverse experiences, ranging from pristine beaches and bustling cities to charming historical sites and enchanting landscapes.

To ensure the best vacation experience in Vietnam, it’s important to plan and book in advance. Among the many tour companies offering services in Vietnam, Discover Vietnam Tours is a great option for arranging your travel itinerary with just a few emails and WhatsApp messages. They provide airport transfers, accommodation booking, tour guides, drivers, and customizable activities based on your preferences.

With their assistance, you can tailor your trip according to your desired schedule and preferences, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable travel experience throughout Vietnam.