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Halong Bay (aka Ha Long Ba) is a popular cruise travel destination located in Quang Ninh province (eastern Vietnam). The region administratively belongs to Ha Long City. Bay's signature features are the numerous limestone karsts, caves and cute islands of various shapes and sizes.
Ha Long Bay is the center of a bigger area that additionally includes Cat Ba Island (to the southwest) and Bai Tu Long Bay (to the northeast). These zones share similar geological, cultural and climate characteristics.
Halong Bay's core has an area of approx 334 km2 (129 ml2) with around 770 islets. The area's geo-diversity has developed biodiversity, including sea, shore and oceanic biosystems, as well as tropical evergreen biosystem. The bay is home to many faunal and floral endemic species.
Unfortunately, with the increasing tourism, many of the the bay's mangroves and seagrass beds were cleared and resorts were built. Numerous jetties and wharves were constructed for mooring tour boats and docking of cruise ships. Game fishing near its coral reefs threatens many of the endangered marine species.
Halong Bay was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. It is also among Vietnam's Renowned National Landscape Monuments, and member of the "Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World".
A tour ship went on fire on the night of March 6, 2016, in Halong Bay, forcing 2 guards to leave the vessel. The fire broke out in the cabin at midnight when the wooden boat was docking at Tuan Chau International Port, but the 2 crew members managed to escape. It was built in 2008 and capable of carrying 48 passengers.
In January 2017, 14 foreigners, 6 crew members and a tour guide were rescued after their cruise ship went on fire as it was returning to port after a night trip. In February 2017, an anchored cruise ship went on fire while waiting for 7 tourists, including 5 foreigners, who had just left for kayaking. Local authorities announced plans to replace all wooden boats and tour ships (that are highly flammable) with metal vessels by the year 2023. In 2016, they also considered banning cruise ships from staying overnight on waters in both Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay for safety reasons.
In July 2018, Van Don International Airport (also serving Ha Long Bay) received its first aircraft. The new airport was officially opened on December 30 (2018) and is located approx 50 km (31 ml) from Ha Long City, approx 20 km (12 ml) from Cam Pha (city and a major coal export port) and 220 km (135 ml) from Vietnam's capital Hanoi.
- The Van Don airport has total area 325 hectares (800 acres), one single runway (length 3,6 km, width 45 m), 7 aircraft parking stands, 1 traffic control tower (height 42 m / 138 ft) and one passenger terminal building.
- The airport serves planes of Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Air, with direct flights to and from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
- Van Don is Vietnam's first international airport developed by a private company (Sun Group, specializing in entertainment, tourism and leisure development projects). The facility costs VND 7,463 billion (USD 310 million) and was built with the assistance of Netherlands Airport Consultants. The airport has annual capacity 2,5 million passengers plus 10,000 freight tons.
Also on December 30 (2018), Sun Group unveiled 2 more infrastructures projects in Quang Ninh province - Halong International Cruise Port and Halong-Van Don Highway. The new highway (4-lane, length 60 km) will reduce travel time from the airport to Halong City to under 50 min.
By the budgeted VND 1,032 billion (USD 43 million) Halong International Cruise Port project will be constructed cruise terminal with modern amenities and capacity to handle international passenger ships. The new facility is located in Halong City's Bai Chay ward and can berth 2 of the world's largest cruise liners in Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class (up to GT 225,000 tons each) simultaneously. Terminal's max capacity is 8460 passengers and crew. The new cruise terminal is designed by Bill Bensley.
Port Halong Bay cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Halong Bay, Vietnam. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|19 May, 2019|
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