HaLong Travel Guides
If Halong Bay is heaven, Halong City can be hell. Overdeveloped but underloved, the hideous high-rise hotels come in every shade of pastel and the beaches are definitely not the best in the region. However, the majority of food, accommodation and other life-support systems for Halong Bay are found in Halong City. The capital of Quang Ninh province, it is sin city, with “massage” heavily promoted at every hotel. The town draws large numbers of domestic tourists and, until recently, was a major magnet for Chinese tourists. Suddenly they stopped coming, giving birth to a million conspiracy theories about bankrupting hotels to buy them out.
Halong City is bisected by a bay, and the most important district for travelers is called Bai Chay. Located on the western side, Bai Chay is closer to Hanoi and offers a better choice of hotels and restaurants. It’s also where the majority of tourist boats are moored. A short ferry ride (500d) across the bay takes you to the Hon Gai district. Hon Gai is the main port district for coal exports, which means it’s a bit dirty, but at least there is some local flavor. There is a bridge nearing completion to finally link Bai Chay and Hon Gai, which is good news for everyone (except perhaps the ferry captains). District names are important: most long- distance buses will be marked “Bai Chay or ‘Hon Gai’ rather than “Halong City”.
Industrial & Commercial Bank
Add: Le Thanh Tong
Useful ATM for those staying in Hon Gai.
Main post office
Add: Halong Str
Along with the usual postal services, there’s cheap and fast internet access with plenty of webcams.
Add: Halong Str
A new and more convenient branch in Bai Chay with the usual exchange facilities and ATM.
The ‘beaches’ around Halong City are basically mud and rock – a problem the authorities have tried to “correct”. There are two beaches in Bai Chay, both “built” with imported sand, but they are not great for swimming as the water is pretty murky.