Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Halong Bay & Thien Cung Cave (cruise tour) in Hanoi, Vietnam


When you plan a visit to Hanoi in Vietnam, do not forget to include Halong Bay (or also known as Ha Long Bay) which is the major tourist attraction and must to visit in your itinerary. Ha long Bay is situated in northern Vietnam, 170 km (105 mi) east of Hanoi. 

"Ha Long" means "Bay of Descending Dragons" (Chinese: 下龍灣; Xiàlóngwān,Haa4 Lung4 Waan1) is recognized as one of the unique  UNESCO World Heritage Site attractions as it is famous for its scenic ocean topography. 

Since Halong Bay is located quite a distant from Hanoi city, it is easier to join local tour to Halong Bay. The whole journey takes about 4 hours ride through two lane streets from Hanoi city to Halong Bay or vice versa. There are different kinds of tour packages to Halong Bay which depend on your budget. You can choose to do with one day tour to Halong Bay or staying between 2 days or 3 days on cruise ship at Halong Bay.   

There are many local tour agencies offering Halong Bay packages but there is a cruise company by the name of Alova Cruises.com which ensures the satisfied quality at comfort level by maintaining a small group boarding on Alova Cruise at Halong Bay. I did a lot research and even read the reviews as well. At the end, I booked with Alova Cruises.com through the local tour company called Go Asia Travel.com since I also booked the other tours from Go Asia Travel.com as well. I noticed the Alova Cruise ships were newer and had maintained ships better than other cruise ships that I had seen along Ha long Bay during my trip there.

You would be surprised how strict regulations that the Vietnam Government has regulated to all cruise companies at Halong Bay as it is the most visited tourist attraction site in Vietnam. All visitors are strictly to put on life jackets while riding on the boats. Even, the number of passengers on boats and cruise ships are strictly controlled from being fined by the authorities. There was a forecast weather reported about the storm at night during my trip at Halong Bay thus, all the tourists weren't allowed to stay overnight on the cruise ship. My initial tour was booked as 2 days 1 night with Alova Gold Cruise but in the end, it became a day tour at Halong Bay. The tour company was very reliable and refunded our money for overnight stay at the end of the tour.

It is hectic to take a day tour to Halong Bay since the journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay takes about 4 hours ride thus, it is highly recommended to join 2 days or 3 days trip to Halong Bay in order to enjoy fully the breathtaking view there. It was a day tour instead of 2 days at Halong Bay as we weren't allowed to stay overnight on the cruise ships due to unexpected storm arrival thus, we only visited the beauty with natural formation of limestone cave which is known as Thien Cung Grotto (or also known as Heavenly Cave). 

Thien Cung Grotto is one of the main itineraries to visit if you join one day tour trip at Halong Bay. The limestone cave covers about 3,000 square meters in the cave, has begun formation since 700,000 years ago. Thien Cung Grotto is overly crowded with visitors every day to enjoy looking at stalactites and stalagmites. 

To learn more about the tour package and make the reservation with Alova Cruises.com directly, you can visit this link:   http://alovacruises.com/

Otherwise, you can make tour reservation to Halong Bay and other tours in Vietnam with the local tour agent, Go Asia Travel.com at this link: http://goasiatravel.com/



Halong Bay Wharf Ferry Terminal in Hanoi, Vietnam
Halong Bay Wharf Ferry Terminal in Hanoi, Vietnam


The popular and standard cruise route around Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
The popular and standard cruise route around Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Getting on the small boat from Halong Bay Wharf Ferry Terminal before heading on to bigger cruise at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Getting on the small boat from Halong Bay Wharf Ferry Terminal before heading on to bigger cruise ship at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Looking over Halong Bay from top deck of Alova Cruise along Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Looking over Halong Bay from top deck of Alova Cruise along Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


A panorama of Halong Bay view in Hanoi, Vietnam
A panorama of Halong Bay view in Hanoi, Vietnam


Getting down at the dock of Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Getting down at the dock of Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Walking up the flight of stairs to Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Walking up the flight of stairs to Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Colourful lights shining the limestone at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Colourful lights shining the limestone at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


A close up of limestone at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
A close up of limestone at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


The formation of the stalactites and stalagmites can be seen towards the hole of the grotto at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
The formation of the stalactites and stalagmites can be seen towards the hole of the grotto at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


The water, wind and rock formation of stalactites and stalagmites at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
The water, wind and rock formation of stalactites and stalagmites at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Blue lights flashing on the limestones through the stalactites and stalagmite at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Blue lights flashing on the limestones through the stalactites and stalagmite at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


A very large crowd of visitors at Thien Cung Grotto which can be seen from the top of the grotto as we were heading out of the exit hole at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
A very large crowd of visitors at Thien Cung Grotto which can be seen from the top of the grotto as we were heading out of the exit hole at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


A panorama of Halong Bay from Thien Cung Grotto in Hanoi, Vietnam
A panorama of Halong Bay from Thien Cung Grotto in Hanoi, Vietnam


A lookalike dog rock statue at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
A lookalike dog rock statue at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Cruise ships along scenary Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Cruise ships along scenary Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Sailing back to Halong Bay Ferry Terminal during sunset in Hanoi, Vietnam
Sailing back to Halong Bay Ferry Terminal during sunset in Hanoi, Vietnam

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