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Travel Tips

Cooking Class in Halong Bay
Vietnamese cuisine is one of Asia’s most fantastic foods, and there are several places in Halong Bay where you can learn to cook like a local without it costing a fortune. If you are a fan of Vietnamese food you should definitely take a cooking class, you will find out the food in Vietnam is among some of the best in the world.

Visiting Fishing Village in Halong Bay
The floating villages draw a lot of attention and are one of the highlights of the trip. Locals have been living in these floating houses for many generations as fishing is still the villagers' main income. Some communities offer reasonably priced home-stays to visitors, too. If you pass by them on your cruise, don’t be surprised if the boat's on-board chef stops to shop for fresh seafood from one.

Swimming and Sunbathing in Halong Bay
Halong Bay has thousands of limestone islands and grottoes. There are countless places to stop for swimming, fishing… when cruising around. The stunning scenery of sheer mountain cliffs rising out of Halong Bay makes an ideal backdrop to water-based activities.

Kayaking in Halong Bay
Halong Bay is the spectacular featuring thousands of limestone islands and rocks rising from tranquil turquoise waters and offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Asia. Halong Bay is also the extraordinary place for arranging kayaking trip.
Going on a kayaking trip in Halong Bay is the perfect way not only to enjoy the outstanding beauty of nature, seafood and the comfort of the accommodation on deluxe junk, but also to explore the hidden caves, untouched beaches and all the challenges this active trip may brings…

Diving in Halong Bay
The time from April to December is the most wonderful period for Travellers to join “Halong Bay Scuba Diving”. The temperature of water at this time is from 26-29 celsius degrees. You can explore hidden beauty underwater with thousands of splendid coral such as sun mushroom coral, leather coral, magnificent stag horn coral, compact coral and fish like sergeant major fish, Clark’s anemone fish... in Halong Bay. With internationally- licensed, well- trained scuba divers and assistants, you will have unforgettable experiences.

Eating in Halong
Like other coastal areas of North Vietnam, Halong has a wide variety of seafood specialties. The most popular are:

- Arca: Lives under mud and has two shells, it is as big as a cup and it can be steamed, grilled or made into soup. "Ruou ngan" (arca wine) is a specialty of Halong, which is highly nutritious and simple to process.

- Sopuncuchlac (sa sung): are varieties of sea worm that live in the sand and are about 4 cm in long, with tiny veins running lengthwise. This species is peculiar to Halong. After processing the fresh sopuncuchlac it should be stir-fried with celery and leeks or grilled. It goes well with beer drinking, especially as a noodle consommé.

- Holothuriodiac: is referred to as sea ginseng. There are two kinds, black and white. It looks like a cucumber with a soft body. It is prepared with pork, chicken, and bamboo shoots and dried pigskin as a dinner dish.

- Sepia esculenta: is a kind of large cuttlefish weighing up to 2kg., which can be prepared with leeks, garlic leaves or boiled. The fresh Sepia esculenta can be dried, grilled or fried with sweet and sour source. It goes well with beer and is makes a good present for friends after a trip.

- "Blood" shellfish: has been a famous seafood specialty in Indochina for some years. It can be steamed with beer, fried or boiled and eaten with pepper-salt.

- Teredo: lives in the aegiceras and mangroves, mostly at the foot of the mountains. Opening two hard and sharp shells reveals the teredo's meat. It is prepared with egg and flour or used for soup and is a popular dish.

Besides these sea products, there are the usual seafood specialties such as: shrimp, crab, garruppa fish, pomfret fish, threadfin fish etc.

Cafes in Halong Bay

Apart from bars and cafes in the larger hotels, there are many other cafes:

- Trung Nguyen Café No 1, Nguyen Van Cu Street, Halong City.

- Trung Nguyen café No 2, Cong Doan Hotel, Halong Street, Baichay.

- Thang Long Hotel: House on Stilts café, "ruou can" (rice wine drunk out of a jar through pipes).
Tel: 033.847276

- Noinho Café, 10 Tran Hung Dao Road, Halong City
Tel: 033.628027, 033.629128.

There are numerous cafés and refreshment locations in Halong Street (Baichay) and Le Thanh Tong Street (Hongai).

Seafood specialty restaurants in Ha Long

1. Sea Food Restaurant in Halong Street, Baichay
Tel: 033.845.822

2. Thu Huong Restaurant, in Halong Street, Baichay
Tel: 033.845.142

3. Bin Bop Restaurant in group 10, zone 1, Tran Hung Dao Ward
Tel: 033.627.686

4. Noi Nho Restaurant, Tran Hung Dao Street
Tel: 033.825614

5. Bien Xanh Restaurant, No. 8 Le Thanh Tong Street
Tel: 033.825112

Apart from the restaurants on the mainland, customers can contact the floating restaurants if they want to have an appetizing meal on the sea:
Bien Mo floating Restaurants, No 1 and No 2, belong to Quangninh Marine Products Export Company.

Customer reception at 35 Bentau Road, Halong
Tel: 033.828951; 825196
Fax: 033. 826683
Visitors can also arrange with the tourist boat owners to have an appetizing meal aboard ship

Time zone: GMT/UTC + 7 (the same zone as Thailand, Laos and Cambodia)
Business days: Monday through Friday.
Business hour: Mornings: 07h30 - 12h00; Afternoons: 13h00 - 16h30.
Museums are usually closed on Monday but you can visit temples and pagodas every day. Most restaurants and shops open from 08h00 till 22h00.

Entry visas for most nationalities are obtainable from a Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate. Processing usually takes 4-10 working days. The validity of tourist visas is one month and is extendable

Hospitals and Emergency phone numbers:

1. International SOS: 24 hour alarm center & medical emergency teams.
Add: 31 Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi
Tel: 9340555 Fax: 9340556

2. Vietnam International Hospital: 24 hour emergency clinic
Add: Phuong Mai road, Hanoi
Tel: 5740740

3. Medex: 24 hour emergency (090401919)
Add: A1 Van Phuc, Suite 109-112, Kim Ma.Hanoi
Tel: 8430748 Fax: 8461750
Ho Chi Minh City:

4. International SOS: 24 hour emergency
Add: 65 Nguyen Du, Dist.1., Ho chi Minh city
Tel: 8298424, 8298520 Fax: 8298551

5. Alain Carpentier Foundation- IMC-Heart Institute: 24h emergency
Add: 520 Nguyen Tri Phuong, Dist.10, Ho chi Minh city
Tel: 8654025

6. Colombia Asia Saigon: 24 hour emergency
Add: 8 Alexandere de Rhodes, Dist.1, Ho chi Minh city
Tel: 8238455

Police: 113
Fire Brigade: 114
First Aid: 115