5 EXTRAODINARY CULINARY EXPERIENCES IN VIETNAM

Trying the local cuisine is an excellent way to discover a country’s culture. During a trip to Vietnam, prepare to be amazed. From the traditional little roadside stalls of the cities to the contemporary floating restaurants of Halong bay cruises, Vietnam is full of delicious feasts.

Through the centuries, the Vietnamese assimilated and adapted many specialties and techniques from China, India, France and even Japanese to their own cuisine and taste.

Pho

Pho Noodles

This is the most famous Vietnamese dish, mainly eaten at breakfast. It consists of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles, a few herbs, and meat, whether beef or chicken. People like to add some lime juice as well as some chili sauce before eating it.

Dog meat

Dog Meat

Dog Meat

Seen as similar to pork meat, dog meat is believed to improve male libido. Sensitive souls should avoid this experience, which isn’t hard as it is considered a delicacy and usually only sold in specialist restaurants.

Banh Chung

Banh Chung

Banh Chung

 

 This special rice cake can only be consumed during Tet holiday (the lunar New Year eve).

Snakes heart

Snecks Heart

Snakes Heart

Some tours offer the chance to eat the still beating heart of a snake … You have to get down your knees while two men handle the snake. One of them cuts its throat and you snatch the beating heart of the snake with your own teeth. Tasty!

Gourmet cuisine

Gourmet Cuisine - Bhayacruises.com

Gourmet Cuisine

A tour to Halong Bay is full of delightful surprises, including the food! Halong bay junks provide a fusion of Oriental and Vietnamese food onboard, while 3-day Halong tours offer true gourmet cuisine for each meal. Enjoying such sophisticated cooking onboardHalong cruise tours, surrounded by countless impressive rock islets, is an unforgettable experience.

For more information on Halong Bay tours: www.bhayacruises.com

 

 

 

TOP 5 HALONG BAY HOTELS ON TRIPADVISOR

A trip to Halong Bay can be done in one day. However, many Halong Bay cruises are available, offering several different kinds of activities (exploring islands, visiting floating fishing villages, discovering grottoes, kayaking…), and it definitely requires more than one day to get the whole experience.

To go on Halong tours, the drive takes about 4 hours from Hanoi (depending on your driver!). Most travel agencies will offer 1-day Halong Bay tours, but it is highlyrecommended that you stay longer to truly enjoy the experience.

Many hotels can get pretty good deals to go on Halong cruise tours, so don’t hesitate to ask them directly!

Here is a list of the 5 best Hotels in Halong Bay, according to trip advisors’ reviews.

1 – Novotel Halong Bay

80% of the reviewers found the Hotel Very Good or Excellent. Location is said to be good as the beach is very near with beautiful views from the windows.

Novotel Halong Hotel

Novotel Halong Hotel

2 – Royal Lotus Hotel Halong

74% ranked the hotel as Very Good or Excellent. A great rooftop bar and spa are available!

Royal Lotus Halong hotel

Royal Lotus Halong hotel

3 – Halong Paradise Suites Hotel

100% of Excellent reviews (only 5). This hotel is located on the beautiful Tuan Chau Island…

Halong Paradises Suites Hotel

Halong Paradises Suites Hotel

4 – Halong Plaza Hotel

66%. Breakfast and dinner are“must-taste” according to some reviews.

Halong Plaza Hotel

Halong Plaza Hotel

5 – Royal International Hotel & Villas

57%. Reviewers noted the spacious and clean rooms.

Royal Halong Hotel

Royal Halong Hotel

For people affected by seasickness, you should travel to Halong bay anyway, and try to go onboard the Halong Bay junks if possible.

VISITING A FLOATING FISHING VILLAGE ON HALONG BAY TOURS

On a trip to Halong Bay, one of the most popular activity is the visit of a floating village. It’s a “must see” on any Halong Bay junks. That is why most of the Halong tour operators will include this visit in their package.

Vung Vieng Floating Village

Vung Vieng Floating Village

There are 4 villages accessible on a Halong Bay cruise, gathering a total population of around 250 residents, with nearly 30% of children. Fishing is their main source of income, men goes to the mainland to sell the big catches while keeping the little ones, to feed them until they get bigger and sell them later on.

School in Vung Vieng Village

School in Vung Vieng Village

The visit of the village is organized on a sampan, driven by a woman as men are fishing. This very charming tour to Halong Bay usually includes the visit of the local school and the community floating home. Tourists are welcome to bring some scholar furniture and will definitely a very warm smile in return.

Don’t forget to tip your driver as well, and try out to drive the basket boat yourself, it is way more difficult than it seems and will be great fun for your partners. Halong Bay cruises actually became an important source of income as well.

Villagers in Vung Vieng Fishing Village

Villagers in Vung Vieng Fishing Village

Unfortunately, those villages tend to disappear as the local authority wants to relocate them on the land, to ensure their security during the violent summer storms, and also to limit their rapid expansion and the environment risk linked to it.

According to travelers’ opinion, meeting the local population of these villages is one of the best moments of their travel to Halong Bay during their cruise tour. 

TOP 3 SPOTS FOR A VIETNAMESE CRUISE

Planning a trip to Vietnam? Be prepared to face the crowd because you won’t be the only one in town!

And I am not only talking about the locals, trying to sell you tens of trinkets around the inevitable tourist areas, but also mates of your own country.

This past decade saw tourism becoming one of the pillars of the Vietnamese economy. International arrivals went from 2.1 million in 2000 to 6.8 million in 2012.

If you wish to avoid the almost-24h big cities hustle, you should definitely take a trip to Halong Bay, the Mekong Delta or Hue to enjoy a lovey, quiet, relaxing cruise…

Here are the top 3 cruising destinations in Vietnam:

Halong Bay

Bhaya Cruises on Sunrise

Bhaya Cruises on Sunrise – bhayacruises.com

There are many Halong tours operators, so you can easily find a wide range of prices.

No matter the weather, a Halong Bay cruise is unforgettable. If it’s cloudy, the view from a Halong Bay junks is unreal, and if it’s sunny, well, don’t forget your board shorts because a tour to Halong Bay usually implies water activities.

Mekong Delta

Mekong cruises offers are similar to Halong cruises, except for the water, which is a river instead of a sea. Different locations, different scenery, different trip! From Ho Chi Minh, you can actually sail up to Cambodia.

Sundeck in Mekong cruise

Sundeck in Mekong cruise

Hue

Unlike the Mekong and Halong cruise tours, Hue offers a short 22 kilometers quiet journey on the Huong River. It’s a perfect point of view to have a look at the Vietnamese casual life around the river.

Boat cruise in Huong River - Vietnam

Boat cruise in Huong River

WHEN SHOULD YOU TRAVEL TO HALONG BAY

Vietnam is located in the Torrid Zone. Thus, it is impossible to describe “Vietnamese climate” at once: it goes from glacial winters in Northern Mountains, to continuous heat in the Mekong Delta.

Upfront, there aren’t any bad months for a tour to Halong Bay.  Halong cruises deserve many beautiful and different surprising types of scenery each time of the year.

Let’s focus on the North. Meteorologists, blogs and websites will tell you Vietnam is rhythmed by two seasons: spring and winter monsoons. Vietnamese, however, will tell you there are four seasons in the North. And they are right.

Northern Vietnamese Climate

Monsoon

Winter

Spring

Season

Autumn

Winter

Spring

Summer

Months

Oct – Nov – Dec

Jan – Feb – Mar

Apr – May – Jun

Jul – Aug – Sept

Halong Bay °C

27° / 15°

16° / 22°

21° / 32°

32° / 25°

Halong Bay °F

81° / 59°

61° / 72°

70° / 90°

90° / 77°

The winter monsoon brings cold and humidity to all regions above Nha Trang, while spring monsoon comes with heat and humidity, (except for areas sheltered by mountains).

February and March usually have persistent, light and drizzling rain. It doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy your Halong Bay cruise, scenery tends to become unreal, mystical, with a morning fog that transforms the bay in a ghost sea town.

Halong bay - Bhaya cruises

Halong bay – Bhaya cruise tours – www.bhayacruises.com

Advertisers will advise you to plan your trip to Halong Bay in April, March or October. But Halong tours are spectacular anytime of the year! 

Halong Bay Junk

Halong Bay Junk