Halong bay in north Vietnam

Halong bay in north Vietnam The north of Vietnam offers many different superb holiday destinations as well as many different types of holiday. The country's capital city, Hanoi, is of course in the north and is an excellent choice for anyone interested in Asian cities. It's architecture is amazing with many delightful French colonial buildings blending perfectly with the older Eastern architecture and the modern glass towers. The Old Quarter here is a wonderful place to spend time. Bohemian by nature its many art-house style coffee shops, bars and restaurants are fascinating to visit. This part of town is becoming recognised as the artistic capital of Southeast Asia with many galleries and art collectives now finding permanent residence in the city.

Sapa of course is easily attainable from Hanoi. The overnight train drops travelers off in the early morning ready for a fleet of minibuses to shepherd them into the hilltop town. From here trekkers head out in voyages of discovery into the exquisite surrounding countryside. Hill side rice terraces form a wonderful backdrop to any walking holiday here. Many choose to climb Mount Fansipan, Vietnam's highest peak. The mountains here are actually the southern most part of the Himalayas.

All of these superb destinations are among the biggest tourist attractions in the country. It would take something very special indeed to top them. That they are topped, is testament to one of the greatest holiday experiences in the world. Halong Bay, is quite simply, heaven on Earth. Five hundred million years in the making, this six hundred square mile paradise is home to an abundance of rare flora and fauna, some of the greatest scenery imaginable and people who have lived their lives in much the same way, for centuries.

Halong Bay has won just about every accolade that is available to it. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also one of the "Seven Wonders of Nature" voted for in a global poll. The most popular and by far the best way to see the bay, is to book a cruise on one of the many cruise boats that ply their trade in the area. These are of an exceptionally high standard and offer comfort to the standard of four or five start hotels. Sipping a cocktail on the top deck off one of these vessels, whilst watching the sun bid farewell to the day, in Halong Bay, has to be one of life's great experiences.

The bay has almost two thousands islands, most are no more than limestone karst formations that jut imperiously out of the water and tower above the boats. Many cannot be landed, but those that can offer delightful beaches, magnificent views and mysterious caves. The cruise companies offer holiday makers the choice of either 5 star total relaxation or adventure on a grand scale. Many choose to go swimming, kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling, scuba diving, rock climbing, trekking, fishing or all of the aforementioned. Late night beach barbecues and party boats are also very popular.

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