- The beaches of Cat Ba island
- Wanboy and Freedom Islands
- Beaches of resort areas and hotels
- Beach in Mongkai
Quang Ninh Province in northeastern Vietnam is well known to tourists. Its main natural attraction, Halong Bay, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The bay is part of the Gulf of Tonkin of the South China Sea and includes more than three thousand islands - large and very tiny. Over millions of years, the islands, rocks, cliffs and caves of Halong, under the influence of winds, sea water and precipitation, have taken bizarre forms and now rise above the waters of the bay in the form of fairy castles, unknown mythical monsters, beautiful ships and mysterious animals.
Most often, tourists come to the bay for visual pleasures, but after enjoying the majestic spectacle, they decide to relax for a couple of days on the seashore. North Vietnam cannot boast of ideal weather all year round, and therefore the beaches of Halong are usually empty from February to April. In the rest of the year, sunbathing and swimming in this part of the country is possible even with small children: the cold season is behind, and the weather pleases with real southern warmth.
However, when planning a beach holiday in Halong Bay, pay attention to the peculiarities of the climate in this part of Vietnam. At the end of April, the water in the South China Sea warms up enough to open the swimming season, but in June the rainy season begins, and the air humidity approaches its maximum values. The greatest amount of precipitation falls in the second half of summer. By mid-September, the rains begin to fall less often, and the first half of autumn is the most favorable time for a beach holiday in Halong Bay.
Daytime air temperature rises to + 27 ° С in April. At the height of summer, temperature values reach + 32 ° C during the day and + 29 ° C at night. By October, the heat subsides, but even in the last days of this month, mercury columns do not drop below + 28 ° C in the afternoon.
From August to October, typhoons sweep along the beaches of Halong Bay several times a month. They are short-lived and end just a couple of days after the start, however, when planning a trip, it is better to study the weather forecast for the upcoming trip in advance.
The beaches of Cat Ba island
Nestled among thousands of beautiful limestone karst formations in the South China Sea, Cat Ba Island can be found on the map of Halong Bay just east of the mainland. The island's plan shows many beautiful places that are easy to reach. At the same time, there are no large crowds of travelers on Cat Ba, and therefore rest here can become secluded and meditative.
Cat Ba is the perfect place to rent a moped and explore the scenic surroundings for a few days. If you prefer a lazy getaway, Cat Ba beaches are suitable for swimming and sunbathing from May and throughout the summer months.
There are four beaches on the island, which are similar both in appearance and in the conditions created for them for visitors:
- Just five minutes walk from the waterfront promenade of the administrative center of the island of Catba Town, you will find yourself at Cat Co 1 Beach. It is especially lively and popular, and there can be quite a lot of locals here on summer weekends.
- Cat Co 2 is located a little further from the center of the village, and it will take about a quarter of an hour to reach it. At the end of 2018, the beach was closed for reconstruction and by the 2019 swimming season it promises to be one of the best in Halong Bay.
- If you walk along the cliffs of the Cat Co 1 beach, you can get to the most youthful beach of the island - Cat Co 3. There is also a passage to this place of rest from the waterfront of Catba Town.
- The fourth beach of Cat Ba is called Emerald or Tung Thu Beach. It is located on the opposite side from the other three, and its infrastructure has been actively developing over the past couple of years. A new modern road has been laid from the center of the village to Catba Emereld Beach, and the beach area is being improved as much as possible. At the service of vacationers - rental of sun loungers and umbrellas and a cafe with local cuisine and refreshing drinks on the menu.
The sea water on all legal beaches of Cat Ba Island warms up quickly enough and does not drain too much during low tide. The coastal strip is covered with yellow fine sand, which is regularly looked after by employees, clearing the beaches of algae and debris.
Locals do not recommend looking for secluded wild beaches: the rocks off the coast of the bay can be too dangerous.
There are no usual active entertainment on the beaches in this part of Halong, and therefore you should rely only on a contemplative vacation, which can only be slightly diversified by snorkeling. However, the water in this part of the South China Sea is not characterized by perfect transparency, and therefore visitors to the beaches on Cat Ba, in addition to the traditional sunbathing, are engaged only in kayaking here.
Kayaking around the stunning Lan Ha Bay off the coast of Cat Ba Island can be a great adventure for those who love the seascapes. The karst formations of Halong Bay off the coast of Cat Ba are often called a natural wonder of the world. You can rent a kayak from residents of floating houses, which are enough in the bay. The peculiarity of local rental is the almost complete lack of control over the rental time, so kayaking on the Cat Ba beaches in Halong Bay is a very profitable entertainment for tourists.
Wanboy and Freedom Islands
The other two islands of Halong Bay, where there are pretty beaches, are often destinations for travelers looking for a break away from civilization.
Wanboy Island is located off the southeast coast of Cat Ba, and its small and very beautiful beach is usually empty even in high season. The beachside café is rarely visited, although its owners try to keep a varied assortment of drinks and food. Rest on Vanboy is suitable for lovers of solitude, fans of oriental meditation practices, yoga and those who come to Southeast Asia to merge with nature in every sense.
The complete opposite of the previous beach location is Freedom (Freedom) islet west of Cat Bo. The island of Liberty itself is very beautiful, and its picturesque nature adequately represents Halong Bay in advertising photos of travel guides. Freedom has a couple of small beaches covered with white fine sand and surrounded by bizarre karst formations. The sea water on the island is clear and warms up quickly with the beginning of the swimming season. One of the beaches on Liberty Island was chosen by noisy youth groups. The atmosphere there is appropriate - a lot of alcohol, soft drugs and noisy parties that end only in the morning. This beach is not very suitable for a family vacation, but if you decide to break away from civilization and part with the complexes, Liberty Island will live up to its name in full.
Beaches of resort areas and hotels
If a wild beach vacation is not your strong point, and you prefer civilized service and perfectly ironed sheets to any adventures, choose the beaches of Halong, where you can fully enjoy the benefits of the modern tourism industry:
- The tiny island of Tuan Chau is connected to Halong by a bridge. More recently, it was turned into a modern resort area, and hotels and villas have grown on Tuanchau, an artificial beach with white sand and a lot of all kinds of entertainment has appeared.
- Near the largest island in Halong Cat Ba Bay, you will find a small piece of land on the map, the beach on which breaks all Asian records for the number of rave reviews. You can relax on the island of Nam Cat at Cat Ba Sandy Beach Resort, which is located on the beach. The bungalows of this hotel are quite inexpensive, but the service it offers is enough even for the fastidious guests.
- You can also stay in a bungalow on a small island, which is separated from Cat Ba by a ten-minute boat trip. The island is called Monkey Island, and its only hotel is Monkey Island Resort. Monkey Island Beach is covered with light sand and picturesquely framed by tropical greenery.
- The uninhabited isle of Cat Ong, five kilometers from the coast of Cat Ba, welcomes guests in comfortable bungalows of the eco-lodge Cat Ong Beach Cottages. The beach at the hotel looks very picturesque. It is covered with soft golden sand and offers sun umbrellas. The administration of the eco-lodge offers guests a transfer from the island of Cat Ba. Beach holidays on Cat Ong can be pleasantly diversified by kayaking, which are free for hotel guests.
Wealthy tourists will enjoy staying in hotels on the aforementioned Cat Ba beaches. On Cat Co 1, you can stay at the Cat Ba Island Resort and Spa with its own area on the beach. If you like Cat Co 2, choose Cat Ba Beach Resort with cozy stone bungalows and a large green area. The Cat Ba Sunrise Resort hotel "looks" at the Cat Co 3 beach.
Beach in Mongkai
The city on the very border of Vietnam and the PRC is an important trade center. The proximity of the Celestial Empire determines the presence of six large markets in Mongkai, where you can buy goods produced in both countries. But not only shopping interests tourists who regularly arrive in Mongkai. To the southeast of the city, on the shores of the South China Sea, is the Tra Co beach, which ranks high in the ranking of the most beautiful in the northern part of the country.
Tra Co beach stretches for almost 17 kilometers. The coastal strip with a width of more than 20 meters is covered with white fine sand, the entrance to the water is relatively gentle, the sea is quite transparent in the dry season. The infrastructure on Mongkaya Beach is very poorly developed, although even a couple of five-star hotels have been built in the city. And yet, most of the hotel stock in the vicinity of Tra Co Beach in Halong Bay is hostels and bungalows built from scrap materials right by the water.