Out of the Gulf of Tonkin’s emerald seas rise colossal limestone pillars and little islets covered in forest. The scattered islands of Halong Bay, which are peppered with grottoes worn by wind and waves, were named a World Heritage Site in 1994. It is no surprise that Halong Bay is the top tourist destination in northern Vietnam.
The major entrance to the bay is the sprawling Halong City (also known as Bai Chay). Most tourists choose boat packages that involve overnight stays in the bay, but an increasing number are skipping the main bay entirely in favour of Cat Ba Island, from which journeys to the less-frequented but no less beautiful Lan Ha Bay can be organised with ease.
There are different admission tickets for sights in the bay, like caves and fishing villages, and all visitors must buy entry tickets to the national park.