Bai Tu Long Bay
There’s more to northeastern Vietnam than Halong Bay. The sinking limestone plateau, which gave birth to the bay’s spectacular islands, continues for some 100km to the Chinese border. The area immediately northeast of Halong Bay is part of Bai Tu Long National Park.
Bai Tu Long Bay is every bit as beautiful as its famous neighbour. Indeed, in some ways it’s more beautiful, since it has scarcely seen any tourist development. This is good news and bad news. The bay is unpolluted and undeveloped, but there’s little tourism infrastructure. It’s pretty hard travelling around and staying here, and unless you speak Vietnamese, it’s difficult to get information.
Charter boats can be arranged to Bai Tu Long Bay from Halong Bay; boats range from 100, 000d to 250, 000d per hour depending on size and amenities. See the Halong Bay entry for more details; the one-way trip takes about five hours. A cheaper alternative is to travel overland to Cai Rong and visit the outlying islands by boat from here. Foreigners are almost always charged double the going rate on the ferries around Bai Tu Long Bay.