Inside the caves you will find huge halls with many stalactites and stalacmites.
It was recently lighted with the help of the Chinese Government. There are lights of various colors in the main highlights.
The guide will show you different shapes made on the rocks by the water falling drop by drop.
There is a marvellous view of the bay from the exit gate.
Also called as Hang Dau Go, and "Grotto of Wooden Stakes".
These are the main caves here, and your boat will surely stop here on the first afternoon. The cavesentrance is in the middle of the rock wall, you will disembark at a wooden pier and climb some (usually slippery) stairs up the wall till the entrance.
Once there, the visit lasts about 1 hour.
Here is a little known secret, that will make your trip to Halong Bay. Halong Bay often has Bioluminescence...that's Latin for Living Light! So if you're in Halong Bay when it's active be sure to take a midnight swim. It an awe inspiring experience!
Bioluminescence can only really be seen at night and the darker it is the more magnigificant the glow. Since Halong Bay is so delsolate and the boats turn off their power and lights after about 11 PM you will have total darkness to take a midnight swim!!!! The only light will be the glow of the moon and the stars from above AND the electric blue light generated in the water when it is disturbed (by ME in this case)!!!
If you've ever seen light inside a cresting wave at night...or your steps glowing behind you in the sand...then you've seen this type of Bioluminecence (it's Dinoflagillates...a type of plankton that inhabits the shallow coastal waters). Dinoflagillates glow when disturbed by objects passing through their colonies, and since they are plankton so they are so small you won't feel them as you swim.
1) To check to see if the Bioluminescence is active - wait till it is dark and use the end of the ships rope...just toss one end in the water and look for blue sparkels - we didn't see them until the boats turned off their lights
2) The electric blue glow in the water and your cries of joy and excitement (we just couldn't be quiet) may attract attention, so you may want to think twice before skinny dipping! Remember it's a LONG way from the water to the boat.... so you'll be on that ladder a long time on your climb up to the boat (plenty of exposure time)!
3) Bring a waterproof camera for the swim and/or have someone from the boat there to take the pictures....for the best results use a tripod and at a high ASA film
We were having too much fun to think of taking a picture during our swim but I did find an ok picture of the blue glow on the web at http://animals.about.com/library/weekly/year2002/aa062102a.htm
Hang Dau Go (Wooden Stakes Cave)- Ha Long
Hang Dau Go is one of the most beautiful cave at Ha Long. The islet itself stands 187 m above sea level. Upon arriving visitors must hike the 90 rocky steps that lead to the cave's entrance. There are three chambers with the outer one having the most spectacular stalagmites and stalactites. Some are as tall as 20 m in height. The locals claim that these giant formations resemble human forms and are the keepers or guardians of Dau Go cave. The outer chamber is also the largest with capacity for three to four thousand people. The cave's floor is approximately 6 m lower than the entrance and the distance from floor to ceiling is approximately 25 m.
The middle chamber is accessible through a narrow passage approximately 1.4 m wide. There is a round crystal like structure on the path. When struck by light, this structure emits a kaleidoscope of light that is both breathtaking and unique. The inner chamber is famous for the colorful stalagmites and stalactites.
The inner chamber is much smaller by comparison. It is here that visitors will find stone wells filled with fresh water. According to the locals these wells are filled year round.
Be sure to spend the night up on the rooftop deck instead of spending a boring night in yet another hotel room. The night air is cool and peaceful.
And since they turn off the electricity on the boat at night it is stifling hot in the rooms! Plus I didn’t see any roaches on the deck! The room well – YIKES!
Be sure to bring a wear long sleeves (mosquitoes), a flashlight (bathroom trips in the dark), and a blanket (it gets cooler as the night goes on…thankfully).
I woke up totally refreshed and energized.
Ha Long - Bay of the Descending Dragon
Vinh Ha Long or Bay of the Descending Dragon is often touted by proud Vietnamese as the world's Eighth wonder. One of the main attractions of Ha long is the bay's calm water and the thousands of limestone mountains dotting the seascape. The Bay's water is clear during the spring and early summer. Some of the islands are quite large and there are small alcoves with sandy beaches where swimming is possible.
Make sure you book your trip on a boat that has Kayaks on-board the boat itself. This will give you the opportunity to Kayak through a floating village. Most of the boats do not have them and it was a real highlight of our trip.
Gill and I were also able to kayak while we were there. I talked her into going pretty far out into one of the floating villages but I couldn't talk her into stopping and getting off, despite the calls from several men inviting us in.
Because the mountains are so steep they are inhabitable. The people in the area live in floating villages, living off the sea. They have little floating shacks that they tie up their little boats. You can see them on their little two-person boat at night using a big light to attract the fish to catch. During the day they are home working on their 'fish farms.' They have large grids in front of their houses that from the surface look like large blue oil drums connected with planks. Under the water, there are nets in which they raise fish. Some of them also grow and harvest cultured pearls in this same way. There bright little shacks, with a backdrop of the mountains, left me breathless. Wait till you see the pictures!
This is the main island in the archipelago. Is the only inhabited one, with hotels and restaurants. There is a National Park, where you can do some trekking.
Most tours stop there by night, to leave passengers.
There are some caves and beaches too.
Pelican Cave (Hang Bo Nau)- Ha Long
Bo Nau is a compound word derived from two words, bo cau meaning pigeon and nau meaning brown. Bo Nau literally means brown pigeon. For some reason, many foreign translations refer to this cave as Pelican cave.
Hire a boat for a daytrip to see the caves. Leave early in the morning and allow at least 6 hours for the trip. Buy bread and beer before going to the dock. Merchants with lived fishes, shrimps, crabs and squids will approach your boat. Your lunch will be a quick but delicious meal of seafood steamed in beer. Boat captain usually provides pot, salt, pepper and lime.
Cave of Awe (Hang Sung Sot) - Ha Long
Sung Sot cave is on the same island with Trinh Nu cave. The path to Sung Sot is quite steep and is lined with shady trees. The cave has 2 chambers. The outer chamber is square and is often referred to as the waiting room. The cave's ceiling is approximately 30 m high. The walls are almost perfectly smooth as if it was built by man. The walls generate a variety of colors that blend with the setting of the area.
The path to the inner chamber is approximately 3m wide. The inner chamber is known as the serene castle. The formations in the chamber take the form of sentries conversing with one another, animals in varying poses etc. In the middle of the chamber stands a formation which resembles a general surveying his troops.
Locals flock to the beach during summer. Some of the things you can do there
1) Swim and engage in water sports
2) Fly kites
3) Suntan on the deckchairs (payment required)
4) Go to the nearby casino
5) Watch sunset
There is a 24 hour flower "market" in front of the statue of Le Chan. Comprising of a few stalls, we mostly saw roses put on sale. Something nice to get for your good friend or loved ones, at a small price.
Fountains at the plaza in front of Le Chan are gathering points for locals and tourists alike. The fountains create different patterns with coloured lights shone on them to add on some special effects.
Cat Ba Islands, you should go on a boat trip.Bring along your camera as it is very scenic, as well as a hat, it was very hot when i went. Also bring your swimming costume, as you may be allowed to jump off the boat/ferry for a swim among the islands. We also visited Halong Bay, complete with caves.