Ha Long Bay
Apart from Ha Long
Bay, the rest of Quang Ninh Province has a range of attractions
to tempt visitors.
Tu - the sacred mountain
Located about 130 km from Hanoi, a few kilometres north
of the main road to Ha Long at Uong Bi, is Yen Tu Mountain,
the location of a complex of 11 pagodas and close to a
hundred shrines and towers. Many are dedicated to the
early founders of Vietnamese Buddhism who lived and worked
visited by domestic pilgrims during the early part of
the year, it is worth the long, steep climb not only for
its historical interest, but also for the attractive landscape
and views. A cable car is a recent innovation.
heroic battles of Bach Dang
The Bach Dang estuary, the site of two of Vietnam’s greatest
victories, lies between Ha Long and Haiphong. In 938 AD,
Vietnamese rebels led by General Ngo Quyen defeated a
vastly superior Chinese army by sinking sharpened ironwood
stakes into the mud so that the enemy ships were impaled
when the tide fell, thus ending a thousand years of Chinese
occupation. Three hundred and fifty years later, General
Tran Hung Dao humbled the mighty hordes of Kublai Khan’s
Mongol army, using the identical strategy in exactly the
same place, suggesting that the Great Khan should have
studied Chinese military history!
from some of the stakes still in their original position,
little physical evidence of the battlefield remains to
be seen. However, the small town has a good commune house,
a decent museum, and is located in a tranquil area of
traditional villages and agriculture.
Pha and coal mining
Cam Pha, 20 km east of Ha Long City, has one of the largest
open cast coal mines in the world. It's far from beautiful,
but the scale of operation (and pollution!) is impressive.
A visit needs careful planning, though – we have to negotiate
access with the mine authorities.
the Cua Ong district of Cam Pha, the Cua Ong Temple is
a rewarding visit, particularly during the festival period
in the three lunar months of spring. Its classic architecture
and striking engravings are noteworthy.
Cam Pha, there are several ‘soil’ large islands created
by alluvial deposits from the Red River. Their sea-facing
shorelines are long sandy beaches, and their remote location
means that few people visit them, and these is virtually
no development of any kind. A boat takes several hours
to reach them.
The best of these is Quan Lan, a peaceful island with
a small population. There's a three places to stay. Two
are very basic but a recently-built small resort is a
to the shore, and thus more developed, Van Don Island’s
beach is long and sandy, and overlooks the eastern extreme
of the limestone towers of Ha Long Bay. There are a few
local hotels and restaurant. A more up-market ‘resort’
is being developed.
Cai and Tra Co Beach
In the extreme northeast of the area is the large border
town of Mong Cai, devastated during the abortive Chinese
invasion of Vietnam in 1979 and now re-built. Not far
away, and best reached by hydrofoil from Ha Long City,
is Tra Co Island. It has a long beach of hard sand – wide
and practically deserted. There is also a village with
an interesting commune house and pagoda. Accommodation
is available in Mong Cai. A new five-star hotel with a
casino has opened in the town, but it is mainly aimed
at providing overnight accommodation for people passing
though the border gate to and from China.