Of all the holiday options available in the world, Halong Bay cruises give you the opportunity to spend leisurely, relaxing time in a truly unique landscape. Unlike anywhere else on the planet, the region has developed a special culture and climate all of its own. If you’re spending any time at all in northern Vietnam, then you should make every effort to explore this incredible spot. Here is a brief look at what makes the area so special.
The Geography of the Region
If you are spending time in northern Vietnam on Halong Bay cruises, you’ll find yourself with access to a dense collection of over 3,000 monolithic islands with jungle vegetation perched atop the limestone piles. Some of the islands have hollow centres and are home to vast caves. One of the largest of these caves is formerly known as Grotte des Merveilles, after its rechristening by the French administrators. The cave is now known by the native name of Hang Dau Go. The cave is home to three enormous chambers that are packed with stalactites and stalagmites and is also a brilliant place to spot a bit of old-school French graffiti.
The Local Population
Two of the larger islands, Tuán Châu and Cat Ba, are permanently settled and are well equipped with both elements of tourist infrastructure and beaches. However, some of the most beautiful beaches are to be found on the smaller islands. Just over one and a half thousand people live around the islands, with four main fishing villages providing the population centre – Cuá Ván, Ba Hang, Cong Tàu and Vông Viêng. The people who live in the region live on floating houses and manage to feed themselves on the fish and marine vegetation that grow in abundance in the area. If you partake in Halong Bay cruises then you’ll have the opportunity to meet the locals and observe their unique way of life.
The waters are home to more than 200 species of fish and 450 species of mollusc. Other creatures in the area include bantams, antelopes, monkeys and lizards, although some of the islands have very little large wildlife. The area is divided into two main ecosystems, one of which is a tropical rainforest eco-system while the other is a coastal marine eco-system. Cuttlefish, oysters and prawns live around the area. If you undertake Halong Bay cruises you will have ample opportunity to sample some of the local seafood.