Ha Long Bay is best known for its vast display of limestone karsts. Halong City, the capital of Vietnam's Quang Ninh province, is located north of the gulf and offers plenty to do for anyone looking to explore the area.
There are two main parts of the city center. Bai Chay, the touristy half, offers a plethora of hotels and restaurants. Hon Gai, the local half, hosts the businesses and markets. The two parts are connected by the Bai Chay Bridge. The large sea port makes Halong a major industrial center in northern Vietnam, receiving imported fuel and oil.
World renown for its beauty, there is a lot to see near the bay. Take a lift to the top of the cable-stayed Bai Chay Bridge for a view overlooking the city. At night the bridge is decorated with colorful lights. For a day spent seaside, find a spot along the 500 meters of shoreline that Bai Chay Beach has to offer. Historical seekers will enjoy the Quang Ninh Provincial Museum, which displays natural and cultural history of the region, or Hon Gai Roman Church, a cathedral built in 1933 that was damaged in war.
After absorbing the sights of the city, adventure awaits at Bai Tho Mountain. Bai Tho is located in the middle of the city and if a great climb for anyone who enjoys hiking. The top offers a panoramic view of the entire city. It is also a historical location, where the Vietnamese Army hid equipment during an American bombing.
In the past few years, there have also been an increase of large scale investments for the city center. Amusement parks such as Sun World, Ha Long Park and White Rabbit Park accompany an indoor ice skating rink for different options of family fun. Sun World broke two Guinness World Record. Ha Long Queen Cable Car became the largest reversible aerial tramway and the Ha Long Sun Wheel became world's highest wheel.
While the cruise industry offers everything from family to couples cruises, the city center is a great place to spot while you are exploring the area.