If you are traveling to Halong Bay for a quick weekend, it makes sense to hit the hot spots. If you have a little extra time or are in the mood for something slightly more unique, however, there are many different ways to see Halong Bay. Rather than ticking off a checklist of universally known tourist spots, consider experiencing Halong Bay like a local.
Stay like a local
Airbnb is a more recent phenomenon that has allowed a whole new world of accommodation for travelers. Not only can airbnbs often provide more affordable lodging, they are incredibly convenient for people in search of more home-like comforts. You can choose places with private bathrooms, full kitchens in many different locations. Halong Bay Airbnb listings offer a wide range of prices and locations to choose from. The best part of an airbnb is that you can experience the life and culture of your destination first-hand. Hosts are often more than willing to offer advice on local customs, festivals, restaurants or landmarks. Depending on where it is within a city, you may find yourself right in the heart of Halong Bay daily life.
Try traditional breakfast
Tasting traditional cuisine is an ideal way to experience the local life of Halong Bay. Since Halong Bay is next to the sea, it is no surprise that seafood is one of its main specialties. Don’t get caught up in touristy restaurants that only promote international food. One of the best ways to experience local flavor is by having a traditional breakfast. Jump into the local taste buds and try some of the traditional Halong Bay fare. Taste the seafood noodle bowl called Bún Bề Bề or the sweet rice powder-based Gat Gu Cake. Banh Cuon Cha Muc is essentially a fried squid sausage often served with sticky rice. You can find this delicacy for breakfast near Bach Dang cinema. Don’t miss the opportunity to feast on these essential Halong Bay delights.
Visit Ba Vang Pagoda
Ba Vang Pagoda is a Buddhist Temple first constructed in the 13th century. Its first major renovation took place in 1706 by the Buddhist Monk Tue Bich and today’s manifestation is the result of the most recent renovation in 2011. Warring and political drama took its toll throughout the years but the recent transformation makes it a beautiful tourist attraction. The structure faces the Bang Dang River with its back to Ba Vang Mountain. It is a beautiful exhibition of ancient Vietnamese architecture. One of its most defining features is Dai Hung Bao Dien, regconized by Indochina Records Organization as “the largest sanctum in Indochina”. It is also an excellent place to visit for its annual Chrysanthemum festival.
Adventure around Dragon Park
Dragon Park is part of a large amusement complex called SunWorld in Halong Bay. It has many thrilling attractions that are perfect for the intrepid adventurer. Some notable diversions include the Queen Car Cable and Sunwheel. The Dragon Park segment is famous for its three riveting roller coasters: the Dragon’s Run, the Mysterious Journey, and the Little Dragon’s Flight. There are also twenty-nine other rides ranging from the carousel to tea cups to tropical gardens. It’s a delightful place to experience a little excitement and local fun.
(To be continued)
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