Oct 10, 2012

Bai Tu Long – an off the beaten tourist track

Bai Tu Long Bay
Bai Tu Long bay
From Threeland Travel's Blog - October 2012
Bai Tu Long is a beautiful bay lying within the area of the gulf of Tonkin, on the northeast of Vietnam. This tourism site is located 60 km from Bai Chay and situated in Ha Long commune, Van Don District, Quang Ninh Province. It comprises a part of Halong’s sea, Cam Pha town and Van Don Island District. It shares the border with Halong Bay on the southwest, with the sea on the east, with Cam Pha town on the west and with Co To island district on the northeast. The bay is a long string of islands which was created when the entire limestone plateau sank below sea level, including hundred of islands and islets, several among which are residence for local people. There are a rich biodiversity with two main ecosystems: a tropical, moist, evergreen rainforest ecosystem; and a marine and coastal ecosystem. It is estimated that there are 391 species of marine creatures, most of which bring about high economic and scientific value.

According to legend, an immense dragon descended to Ha Long Bay (meaning "Descending Dragon") millions years ago, dropping numerous eggs. These eggs hatched forming thousands of rocks and islands. The tail of the dragon extended far to the sea, forming Bach Long Vi (meaning "The Tail of the White Dragon"). As she returned to heaven, she said good bye to her offspring at the Bai Tu Long Bay (means "The dragon parts the offspring").

Bai Tu Long Bay has great potential for developing tourism. Along with Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay is one among the wonderful natural wonders, with beautiful islands and long-white-sandy beaches. Bai Tu Long is well-known not only for its natural beauty, but also for a special tourist attraction – Bai Tu Long eco-tourist site. Bai Tu Long eco-tourist site lies within the area of Van Don Island district. It covers a total area of 100 ha with over 10km coastline. The construction style is the combination of the Asian and Western architecture style with coastal self-contained stilt houses harmoniously lying among the natural scenery. Other notable attractions in Bay Tu Long Bay are Quan Lan Island, Ngoc Vung Island, Van Don Island and the fishing villages at Vung Vieng, Minh Chau Island, Thong Thien Cave, Phat Co Island, and Cua Ong Temple. Van Don Island is one of the main highlights of Bai Tu Long Bay as it’s the first island you come to, the most developed, and is connected to the mainland by bridge. Quan Lan Island is also a popular Bai Tu Long Bay attraction, more laidback than Van Don. The bay is also home to the large must-seen Bai Tu Long National Park. It is one of seven Vietnamese amphibian national parks which has both terrestrial zone and aquatic zone. It represents Vietnam’s sea preservation site, which has attracted a larger number of both domestic and foreign tourists. Visitors can get there by speedboat or by road from Bai Chay Beach.

A trip to Bai Tu Long can be done with minimum 2 nights stay requires. The best way to take advantage of Bai Tu Long Bay is to get on a boat tour/ high speed hydrofoil from Halong Bay, or go from Cai Rong pier on Van Don Island within Bai Tu Long Bay to the more remote islands, or by bussing from Hanoi to Cua Ong pier, from where ferries leave for the archipelago. Some buses also run across the bridge and onto Van Don Island. The trip from Hanoi is straightforward via highway 18 and takes about four hours, while the international airport to the north of the capital at Noi Bai receives flights from all over the region. It is highly recommended for visitors to experience the life of the fisherman in Bai Tu Long by visiting fishing villages and even go fishing with the locals, or enjoy a 4-star cruise through Ha Long and Bai Tu Long on Grayline for 2 days.

Bai Tu Long is still an uncharted bay in Ha Long and promises to be a popular tourist attraction in coming time. By taking trip to this stunning bay, visitors will not only have a chance to get “off the beaten track” but also make the trip unforgettable.

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