Ba Be National Park

24

Nov
2021

Bai Tu Long Bay

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An island-peppered stretch of shallow coastal waters, Bai Tu Long Bay may not be quite as celebrated as Halong Bay, but it is just as spectacular. With hundreds of karst out crops, tiny islets, as well as a few large islands and lovely beaches, it is less crowded and more pristine than Halong Bay. The largest, most develop ed island in the area is Van Don, accessible by both road and sea from the indus trial port of Cua Ong. Gor geous beaches and dense man grove swamps line the southeast coast of the island, mak ing it a popular destina tion. Most of the accommo da tion in the Bai Tu Long area is con cen trat ed in Van Don’s main town, the color ful fishing port-town of Cai Rong. This makes it an excellent base for excursions  to neighboring islands. Unfortunately, Bai Tu Long Bay offers few tourist facilities. This is partly due to its isolated location, lying beyond the grimy coastal coal belt that stretches from Hon Gai District in Halong City to the small town of Cam Pha. As a result, most visitors prefer to join a tour from Hanoi, spending the night on board a boat and exploring the bay. Another option is to drive from Hon Gai to Bai Tu Long Bay, pass ing through Cam Pha and Cua Ong. The huge, open-cast coal mines on the way are quite a sight. From here, boats may be chartered to explore the out lying reaches of the bay.

Environs The outermost of the three islands south of Van Don is

Quan Lan. The main attraction on this destination is Bai Bien, a splendid white-sand beach. This is one of the few places beyond Cai Rong with facilities for an overnight stay.

Co To, well into the South China Sea, is the most distant island lying off Cai Rong. The ferry journey takes about five hours each way. With a small  beach and simple accommoda- tion at Co To village, it makes  for a quiet getaway. About 12 miles (20 km) from Cai Rong is Bai Tu Long National Park. Spread over Ba Mun Island and its surrounds, this park, established in 2001, is slowly gaining popularity as an ecotourism destination.

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