Quang Ninh is located in the northeastern part of Vietnam. It shares a 170 km border with China and is surrounded by Lang Son, Bac Giang, Hai Duong, and Haiphong provinces. Several ethnic groups live in this province, although the Kinh, Dao, and Tay are the most numerous. The tropical humid climate has an average annual temperature of 250C.
Location: borders Cam Pha to the east, the Yen Hung District to the west, the Hoanh Bo District to the north and Ha Long Bay to the south with the coastline of 20km.
Access: three hours by car from Hanoi,
Main attractions: Ha Long Bay, a world heritage site with spectacular limestone formations, caves and beaches. Bai Tu Long Bay, about 60km from Ha Long, a new destination with the little-known beauty.
Ha Long City, formerly the Hon Gai Town, is the cultural, economic and political centre of Quang Ninh Province. The city is divided into two parts: East Ha Long and West Ha Long. The eastern part is an industrial zone where most of the province’s official buildings are also concentrated. The western part, also called amalgamating Bai Chay, a tourist area, with the much larger industrial and commercial area of Hong Gai, bustling with life, and is a good example of Vietnam’s emerging industrial cities. A stroll around the market and port is pleasant and informative. The most worth-visiting natural is Bai Tho (‘Poem’) Mountain, whose limestone peak is unexpectedly rich in bio-diversity and offers stunning views of the bay and the red backs of sea eagles swooping below. In addition, the city also bears religious significance with two attractive temples, one on each side of the mountain, and other temples, pagodas as well as historical relics.
Ha Long Bay
Halong Bay, 170km from Hanoi, means "Bay of the Descending Dragon" in the Vietnamese language. Ha Long Bay is one of the most magnificent scenic spots in all of Vietnam and was designated by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage in 1994.
It is a picturesque bay consisting of a dense cluster of 1969 limestone islets rising spectacularly from the clear emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, each topped with thick jungle vegetation. Washed by water and lapped by waves for hundreds of thousands of years, the bay owns mystical qualities and surrealistic scenery as the limestone basin has been carved into stalactic caves, crescent beaches with bizarre and awesome formations. Some of the famous creations are: Man’s Head Island, Dragon Island, Pair of Roosters Island, Incense Burner Island, Bell Island, Elephant Island, Wooden Stakes Cave, Pelican Cave, Virgin Cave, Cave of Awe, and so on… which all astonishingly resemble their namesake.
Viewed from above, the whole bay looks breathtaking as a splendid geographically works of art. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site's outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its high-concentrated biological diversity with many ecosystems of salt water-flooded forests, coral reefs, and tropical forests featuring thousands of species of animal and plant life.
It has been proven by scientists that Halong was one of the first cradles of human existence in the area at such archeological sites as Dong Mang, Xich Tho, Soi Nhu, and Thoi Gieng. It is also a region of highly-concentrated biological diversity with many ecosystems of salt water-flooded forests, coral reefs, and tropical forests featuring thousands of species of animal and plant life. Reaching the depth of about 20m into the ocean and one can admire the panorama of coral reef field stretching endlessly and colourful flocks of sea creatures.
Amongst the many ways to explore this legendary stone world, kayaking has been emerging as a new, exciting and adventurous way that can lead tourists to the most primary parts of the bay. Staying overnight on the bay is also a favourite of many visitors. One can greet the early morning sunrise on the deck, watching sun light shining on every island, waking up every grotto and gradually covering the whole area. The morning can be spent with a breakfast and a leisurely sunbathing on board, then the afternoon is perfect for some diving, swimming, fishing and even enjoy right away a seafood barbecue on deck. A romantic dinner embraced by one of the most spectacular sunsets in the world will warm up every sense and passion of yours, and the evening will be full of surprise with party on board and night squid fishing.
Bai Tu Long Bay occupies three quarters of Halong Bay World Heritage site and many islands in Van Don, Cam Pha district. Travelling to Bai Tu Long Bay is off the beaten track and promise to deliver many unique experiences, being far away from touristy sites.
In this big area, visitors can find a pristine beautiful natural landscape. Until now, Bai Tu Long still remains a wide unexplored area. Being as beautiful as neighbor Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long has many attractions to visit: Cong Do area, Vung Vieng fishing village, Da Xep Park, Cong Dam area, Thien Canh Son cave, Tra Gioi beach… There are some islands that people living there: Quan Lan Island, Ngoc Vung Island, Cong Dong, Cong Tay Island with many beautiful beaches. In addition, Bai Tu Long bay national park is rich in biological diversity, home of many different flora and fauna.
Location: Bai Tho (Poem) Mountain lies at the heart of Halong City, Quang Ninh Province.
Characteristics: In 1468, during his inspection tour to the eastern region, King Le Thanh Tong stopped here. Inspired by the stunning beauty of Halong, the King wrote a poem and had it carved into the southern side of the mountain, hence its name Bai Tho (Poem). In 1729, Lord Trinh Cuong composed a poem in response to that of King Le Thanh Tong and also had it carved near the former. The mountain features other poems by Nguyen Can and some other poets.
Atop Bai Tho Mountain, you feel surprised at the magnificent landscape of Halong Bay. In the background of immense emerald waters, of rock bobbing, of high sky, of surrounding flowers and trees, you can figure out the tiny images of boats. Bai Tho makes up one of the beauty spots of Halong.
Location: Bo Hon Island lies in Halong Bay.
Characteristics: There are many grottoes located here, such as the Surprise, Luon, Virgin and Male grottoes. There is also a concentration of high mountains with vertical cliffs like citadel wall, mountains follow closely make a huge beautiful watercolour picture on the sea. French calls this island Les Surprises. There are various species of plants such as benjamin fig trees, cycads and orchids... and animals are monkeys, deer and chamois. Perhaps, Bo Hon Island famous for the grotto system hiding inside it. Each of them has their own marvellous beauty and is related to the moved legends.
Characteristics: It has an area of 23,363m2 and its mountain reaches a peak of 172m.
The island features many lagoons, which are the residence of numerous species of sea-life, such as shrimp, crab, fish, squid and aquatic plants. On the south-west side of the island, there is a wide coral reef displaying a myriad of colours. Coral reef ecosystem is more than 700m long and 300m wide. It is preserved almost undamaged. In the future, there are plans for the development of a zone for scuba-diving. On the south-east side of the island, vestiges of the ancient commercial port of Van Don were discovered. This confirms beliefs that Cong Do Island once held an important position in terms of foreign trade.
Location: Quang Ninh Museum is located at 165 Nguyen Van Cu, Halong City, Quang Ninh Province.
Characteristics: Quang Ninh Museum was founded in 1960 under the original name of the Historical and Revolutionary Museum of Hong Quang at 5B Cau Cao, Hong Gai Town (Halong City now). In 1964, Hong Quang Area was merged with Hai Ninh Province to form the new province of Quang Ninh and the museum took its new name following the merger.
During periods of war, all documents and artifacts from the museum were evacuated to various sites while the building of 5B Cau Cao was leveled in the dust by bombing. In 1990, People’s Committee of the province decided to build Quang Ninh Museum at 165 Nguyen Van Cu, Halong City (former place of Quang Ninh Import and Export Company).
Exhibitions include: the early Halong culture; Ly and Tran Dynasties culture; culture of Quang Ninh's ethnic groups; times of wars; the history of the region's coal industry; revolutionary tradition of working class in mining area; Uncle Ho with Quang Ninh and Quang Ninh Province in renovation time. Over the last 40 years, the museum has found and preserved over 10,000 artifacts.