However, there's a lot of debate over whether it's a beautiful wonder of the world, or an over-run tourist trap full of junk boats and garbage littering the bay.
Before you book a trip there, see what other travelers have to say about this majestic sight.
The unique beauty of the bay with its karsts make it a natural to be added to UNESCO's World
There are more than 1,600 islets in the bay, their limestone worn down by 500 million years of tropical downpours, and topped by thick jungle growth. Some of the islands are hollow, creating majestic caves. Some of the larger islands have their own lakes.
Want to know more about Vietnam? Head to our Stories section to delve a little deeper.
On the downside, there is now a well-worn path that leads from the hostels of Hanoi to Halong Bay.
What were once quintessential sleepy fishing villages, are now transport hubs for hundreds of vessels that ply the waters. The Irish backpacker you met at Siem Reap is likely to be in front of you in the queue to buy a ticket, and the last free berth has just been sold to a honeymoon couple from Pittsburgh.
Regulation and safety
So, is Halong Bay in danger of being loved to death? Should you stay away, or as one Nomad put it: "Go, find out for yourself."
Here are some of the most asked questions about Halong Bay, and the answers from our Nomads. Ask your own questions, here.
"Is Ha Long Bay (one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature) worth visiting?" – Surenio
The quickest answer came from those who love the place, such as Quang Minh, "It definitely is, cheap place too. Unique and can't be found elsewhere."
Sentiments echoed by Dwight Z a World Nomad, and local tour operator, who's either
"Ahhhh! Let's see. I've been there three times and will go back.
Queen of Sheeba (welcome your Majesty) was another happy Nomad:
"We've been on a cruise about 1 1/2 weeks ago and we truly enjoyed it. We went on a 2 days/1 night cruise and that's enough to see the Bay, but if you want to relax some more then better take a
But, Bob Bobbus wasn't so sure:
"After spending the money, not convinced. A must see, or a 7 new wonder hmmm... still not convinced, but as I always say, go, find out. Not expensive for westerners and life is short. Got one day to live? Go elsewhere and avoid bad light shows, no swimming warnings, warm beer etc. Oh and canoe paddles that sink and cost you $20 to replace, as they dive down to get them back."
Then we came across this question from Drejah, expressing concern for ethical travel. It certainly caught our attention:
"How controversial is it to visit Ha Long Bay? I've heard that the area is being compromised environmentally."
Halcyonicole's answer was enlightening:
"I visited Ha Long Bay in June 2011. I felt that its environment was heavily compromised. The place is overrun by tours with very little concern for waste, and conservation. However, part of my visit included Nam Cat
And Travelbuggy chipped in:
"It's a beautiful place! 360 views of huge amazing lime stone cliffs! It's truly a gorgeous place but I imagine the tourism is not helping preserve this heritage. We witnessed so many workers throwing garbage off our boat into the water. Sad but true this was couple years ago now so I can imagine the struggle to keep up
So, you've decided to give it a go, or at least get there before it's totally compromised, and like Brain Thacker you want to find a reliable cruise, as you're worried by news reports of boats sinking.
"Anyone recommend a good cruise in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam? I don't want overcrowded booze cruises or posh boats full of old people! Something in the middle."
To that, Catharina Stam said:
"I think they are all about the same, and they each have a day, two days/1night or 3days/2nights option. I would recommend 3 days, so you can really get to see Ha Long Bay properly, and then also experience Can Ba Island - which is one of the biggest islands in Ha Long Bay. I went with a company whose boats were labeled FantaSea. We had some younger people, some older people, and families. I am 28, and not a party animal and I thought that our particular group was a nice mix."
TravelEater had a word of warning:
"Be careful. Lots of scams on these cruises. Double check your paperwork to be sure you get what you paid for. Tour companies will charge you what they think they can get away with, and many misrepresent the amenities you will get on board. And everyone on your boat will have paid wildly different prices for the same thing. It's beautiful, but proceed with caution."
In terms of logistics, Halong Bay is about 150
"How do you get to Ha Long Bay from Ho Chi Minh?" Asked
KLDavis is all about the destination, and so if you've got limited time, take a flight.
"I would fly. There are cheap airlines throughout if you can book in advance. The bus will take at least a day or two. And less travel time will probably equal costs to fly."
But this local, Nguyen Van, was all for taking the slow road.
"It depends what feeling you would like to enjoy. You can travel by train to see Vietnamese life, or chat with people when joining tourist bus, or get there fast on the plane. You can book a tour or rent
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