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Bai Tu Long Bay
Bai Tu Long Bay, located to the east of the Halong Bay core zone, is in some ways actually more stunning and pristine than its famous neighbour, thanks to its harder-to-reach location. For foreign travellers, it’s a laid-back alternative to the touristy bustle of Halong Bay, where it is easy to take extra time for kayaking and swimming among awesome rock formations similar to those in Halong Bay. Bai Tu Long Bay is also home to the large Bai Tu Long National Park, one of seven Vietnamese national parks which has both a terrestrial zone and an aquatic zone.
As with Halong Bay, the best way to experience the full gamut of limestone pinnacles scattered around this seascape is via a cruise. Normally, only 3 day 2 night cruises can reach Bai Tu Long Bay, as it is located further to the east. Charter boats can also be arranged to explore Bai Tu Long Bay from Halong City.
Among the more remote and distant attractions of Bai Tu Long are Co To Island, Quan Lan Island and Ngoc Vung Island, well known among Vietnamese tourists, but harder to reach by water. Local people typically take a bus or car to Cai Rong Port, Van Don District, Quang Ninh Province, and there board a high-speed boat to reach them. While getting there is a little more difficult, these islands’ beaches have probably the best water and sand quality found anywhere in Northern Vietnam.
Visiting fishing villages is a typical activity in Bai Tu Long Bay, allowing travelers to get close to the local lifestyle and witness how some local people still live on the water.
Step aboard a traditional rowing boat for your tour through a fishing village in Bai Tu Long Bay such as Vung Vieng, Cap La or Cong Dam floating fishing village. Each location offers a different experience. You will see local fishermen who spend their lives here in small houses lashed together atop floating platforms, raising fish in netted enclosures or taking boats further out to sea for a catch.
Fishing villages are not only available for visiting by rowing boats, but you can also kayak there. Kayaking into fishing village areas offers a different feeling from kayaking through natural seascapes. With a bit of maneuvering, your kayak can carry you deep into the living area of the locals, close to the houses, schools and community structures.
Cong Dam Village is also home to various species of corals and small lakes inside limestone mountains, natural havens and their creatures waiting for you to explore. Meanwhile Vung Vieng fishing village (25 kilometers from the mainland) is one of the most famous floating villages which is often found on Halong cruise itineraries.