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Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay


Ha Long Bay is a scenic and popular area in northern Vietnam. There isn't much to see in Hai Long City as most visitor's head straight out for a harbor cruise. For those arriving by cruise ship, Vietnam's capital of Hanoi is a 4-6 hour drive and 100 miles to the west.


Citizens of most countries will be issued a visa on arrival and this will be charged to their shipboard account (approx $6-$50 USD/pp depending on the ship's processing fee). It is best to confirm with your cruise line the latest visa policy.

Until 30 June 2018, visa is not required for British, French, German, Italian and Spanish citizens with passport having at least six-month validity travelling to Viet Nam for up to 15 days for all purposes. The 15-day visa exemption is for single entry only and includes the date of entry and the date of exit. http://vietnamembassy.org.uk/index.php?action=p&ct=Notice3_2017

Where You're Docked

Cruise ships may dock at Ha Long City's commercial pier or tender to the Bai Chay Tourist Wharf where boats depart for the scenic bay.

Ha Long Port

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Bai Chay Tourist Wharf

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Vietnam's currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND) but US dollars (no coins) are accepted almost everywhere. However, purchases in USD tend to be rounded up to the nearest dollar. Merchants also prefer new, crisp bills and may not accept old and worn out bills. Using Dong will save you a bit. This may not see like much but the cost of living is very low in Vietnam and goods and services are very inexpensive by western standards.

Exchange rate 23,200 VND = 1 USD (Oct 2019)

Local Transportation

There is frequent bus service between Hanoi and Ha Long with departures every 30 minutes between 6am and 6pm.


Search hotels in Hanoi here

Must See Sights

The main activity at Ha Long Bay is to take a cruise of the bay. Multiple tour operators run cruises differing in routes, class (luxury vs budget), and length of cruise. Tickets for individuals not on group packages can be purchased at ticket counters inside the information building at Bai Chay. Ignore the touts outside. The most popular route is #1 which goes to Cat Ba.

For those heading to Hanoi, the city's attractions include

  • Hanoi Old Quarter
  • Ho Chi Minh Museum & Mausoleum - resting place and public viewing of Vietnam's most famous leader
  • Ho Chi Minh's Residence
  • Hoa Lo Prison - a notorious prison also known as the Hanoi Hilton
  • Museum of Ethnology
  • One Pillar Pagoda
  • Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Be aware of long lunch time closing times and closed days when planning to visit Hanoi's attractions.

Shopping & Restaurants

Shop's in Hanoi can be found by Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter. Ba Tieu Street is the city's main shopping street.

Bun Cha is a local but simple specialty consisting of grilled pork on rice vermicelli noodles. Head to Bun Cha Huong Lien to eat at the same restaurant as Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama.


Cafes and restaurants may provide free wifi to customers.

Maps (right-click to save)

Ha Long



Ha Long Weather Forecast

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Page last modified on October 05, 2019, at 05:34 PM
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