Reviewing a trip to Ha Long: How to enjoy delicious food and a 5 star hotel with a budget of VND 2 million.

Reviewing a trip to Ha Long: How to enjoy delicious food and a 5 star hotel with a budget of VND 2 million.

Quang Ninh - Hai Phong 14.05.2021

Let's have a trip to Ha Long to enjoy the beautiful scenery and unique specialties of this land with Vu Hoang Thang.

Translated by nguyendo

Written by huongnt

Vu Hoang Thang (born in 1998 - student) is working in the tourism industry. The young man had a trip to Ha Long at the end of December 2019. “Revealing” to Nem-vn.net, Thang said that he wanted to find a resort with pleasant weather, which is not too crowded or too far from Hanoi, so he chose the coastal city Ha Long as his destination.

This is the second time Thang has been to Ha Long. Based on his evaluation, this place was beautiful with a diversity of services, but the costs were a bit expensive. Within 2 days and 1 night in Ha Long, he had many exciting experiences. He also followed online reviews to find famous and delicious restaurants.

The trip reviewed by Thang is quite detailed and especially convenient for those who are planning to “breathe new life” into their busy schedule within a short time to get away from the noise and bustle of cities.

Transportation

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The panorama of Ha Long city from above. Photo: thanhnien

Thang said that from Hanoi to Ha Long, there were quite a lot of coach companies, and the most famous ones are Kumho Viet Thanh, Phuc Xuyen and Ka Long with the standard price ticket ranging from VND 100,000 to 120,000/person, departing from My Dinh or Gia Lam station. He advised that when traveling by this means of transportation, you should ask carefully whether the coach would follow the highway Hanoi - Hai Phong - Ha Long or not, as the travel time will be very different based on types of routes. While traveling along the highway only takes about 2 hours to reach Ha Long, while it can take around 4 hours arriving at the destination from other routes.

The means of 7-seat limousine to take you at any location such as Phuc Xuyen or Kumho is also chosen by many people with the ticket price from VND 150,000 to 250,000/person/turn. With the advantages of high speed and not taking passengers along the routes, limousines have been gaining popularity in Vietnam.

Accomodation

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The hotel where Thang stayed. Photo: Vu Hoang Thang

During this trip, Thang chose to stay at Muong Thanh Luxury Hotel, which is opposite to Sun World park, due to its convenient location for traveling. If you have a “big budget”, you can choose to stay in 4-5 star hotels like Muong Thanh and Novotel; otherwise, you can reserve a room in Hon Gai or Cai Dam with cheaper costs (about VND 400,000 - 800,000/room).

Another popular form of accommodation in Ha Long is homestay, which is very suitable for family trips. You can stay in a fully equipped house with a kitchen and necessary items. The homestay rental depends on the area in the center or not, ranging from VND 200,000 to VND 800,000.

Food in Ha Long

Thang has a special affection for dishes during his trip in Ha Long. In point of fact, he did some “research” on finding good restaurants which are only known by local people.

Yogurt

Address: Ms. Cuong Yogurt, 29 Minh Khai Street, Ha Lam

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Yogurt is a familiar food that is “transformed” into various types such as chewy yogurt or jackfruit yogurt, but yogurt with tapioca balls probably first appeared in Ha Long. The yoghurts here are all homemade to create the perfect sweetness and softness. When enjoyed with chewy tapioca balls, this food becomes harmonious.

Ha Long is famous for the yogurt brands such as “Ms. Nghi” or “Tuan Lien”, but from Thang’s perspective, Ms. Cuong yogurt is the best. According to him, the yogurt here is “smooth, thick, and has a strong milky scent. The most special thing lies in the tapioca balls - supple, chewy, fragrant with coconut milk - and what makes it different from other kinds of yogurt is the light aroma of cassava flour and the rich flavor of roasted sesame. Everything is in harmony and pushes the taste of tapioca balls to “another level”. You can feel its deliciousness by enjoying a teaspoon of cool yogurt blending with some sweet and fragrant tapioca balls. What even surprised me more was that two cups of yogurt and a bowl of tapioca balls only cost VND 13,000”.

Rice noodle roll with grilled chopped squid

Address: Goc Bang Rice noodle roll with grilled chopped squid, No. 189 Lane 1, Nha Hat, Le Thanh Tong Street

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Rice noodle roll with grilled chopped squid in Ha Long. Photo: dacsanbakien

Rice noodle roll is a popular dish in Vietnam, but the best one with grilled chopped squid would be in Ha Long. The rolls will be made from fine white rice flour, but unlike the common ones with pork fillings, in Ha Long, some shrimps will be added to create sweetness. Another point that makes this dish special is that the squids here are often home-prepared and cooked, leading to its freshness and “crunchiness”. 

You can feel the soft layer of the rolls blending with aromatic fried shallots, sweet shrimp, crunchy squid pies and mildly hot-and-sour fish sauce. Enjoy the dish and you will be definitely impressed by the perfect combination.

A set of rice noodle rolls with grilled chopped squid here includes a plate of rolls and 2 grilled chopped squids with the price of VND 35,000. Thang shared that the squid pies were completely hand-made, creating the freshness and sweetness, while the sweet and sour sauce was really tasty. The best thing was the rolls, which were both thin and chewy, filled with fragrant fillings. Just dip the rolls in the sauce, have a bite out of the squid pies and you will feel satisfied.

Grilled oysters

Address: Gate 5 of Cai Dam market

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Delicious and attractive grilled oysters. Photo: Vu Hoang Thang

Grilled oyster is a prominent dish in coastal areas, so you should definitely try it when travelling to Ha Long. Thang was recommended to this oyster restaurant by a guide in Ha Long. The dish here was both delicious and cheap at the price of VND 65,000/10 oysters. The fat, fresh and greasy oysters are covered with spring onion oil, tamarind and cheese before fragrantly being grilled.

Seafood noodle soup

Address: at the end of Vuon Dao market

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Seafood noodle soup is a specialty that should not be missed when traveling to Ha Long. Photo: Vu Hoang Thang

Ha Long has abundant marine resources, so seafood noodle soup should not be missed when you come here. The Noodles are the type with small vermicelli with a medium level of toughness, and the broth is stewed with pork bones to create a light sweetness. The toppings are shrimp, crab meat, squid, mantis shrimp, fish ball, mustard greens and water dropwort. While enjoying the dish, you will clearly feel the sweetness of toppings blending with soft noodles and fresh green vegetables. With a more spicy taste than normal noodles, the dish can easily whet your appetite, which is an ideal option on cold days. The price for a bowl of seafood noodles is about VND 30,000.

Breakfast buffet at Muong Thanh Luxury

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Staying at Muong Thanh hotel, Thang also “took advantage” of enjoying breakfast here. He said that the food was delicious; main dishes were varied; salads were diverse with a variety of salty, sweet and spicy sauces; cakes were fragrant, soft and sweet, while drinks were quite good with passion fruit, coffee, tea and others.

Places to go in Ha Long

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Thang stopped at Bai Chay bridge to see the scenery of Ha Long city. Photo: Vu Hoang Thang

Thang wanted to experience the city on his own, so he rented a motorbike to go sightseeing. He stopped at the foot of Bai Chay Bridge with an immense view: one side was a spacious road while the other was the large sea.

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From a distance, Bai Chay Bridge is like a harp on two high hills. Photo: baoxaydung

Bai Chay Bridge is located on Highway 18, connecting two parts of Ha Long City (Hon Gai and Bai Chay), through Cua Luc Bay, where it flows into Ha Long Bay, in the territory of Quang Ninh province. Due to technical factors, large budget and hydrological conditions, after 20 years of planning, the bridge was completed in 2006. This is a single-plane cable-stayed bridge, pre-stressed reinforced concrete box girder. The bridge applies balanced cantilever casting technology, while the bridge girder reaches the sea and ends at connecting two cantilever to ensure that boats can still operate normally during construction. From a distance, Bai Chay Bridge is like a harp on two high hills in the sea breeze and led lights at night.

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Ha Long Fish Market from above. Photo: halongcruisecenter

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Thang visited Ha Long fish market. Photo: halongcruisecenter

Ha Long Fish Market is also a favorite stop of Thang. The market is located in Bach Dang ward (Ha Long city) in the fishing port area. This place is famous for its rich and diverse seafood resources and is always busy from 2am - 7am. The items here are mainly hundreds of types of fish, shrimp, crab, squid, snail and so on. Coming here in the early morning, visitors can feel the hustle and bustle of the fisherman's life: the sounds of ships, boats entering the wharf, sounds of paddle and bargaining of sellers and buyers, etc. Thang advised that the season of squid was in cold weather (big squid with a lot of meat) in Ha Long, so if possible, you should hire a boat to fish squids and enjoy the ones you had just caught. This is also one of the best ways you can experience the life of the local people.

In addition to the destinations that Thang mentioned above, coming to Ha Long, you can also visit following destinations:

Sun World Park

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Sun World Park covers an area of up to 214ha with many amusement parks. Photo: bestprice

This place is located right next to Bai Chay beach with a large scale of 214ha. The park has 2 main areas: the amusement park on the top of Ba Deo and the coastal amusement park. Ba Deo amusement park is priced at VND 350,000/ticket for adults or children over 1.3m tall, and for children from 1m to 1.3m, the ticket price will be VND 250,000/ticket. You can participate in many interesting games such as walking on the queen cable car (with 2 guiness records), playing on a ferris wheel 215m above sea level and visiting Japanese Zen Garden. The coastal amusement park will include Ha Long Water Park (with water games at the ticket price of VND 350,000/ticket) and Ha Long Dragon Park with 31 adventure games such as  “magic umbrella”, “tornado”, “mysterious itinerary” or “reptile corps” at the price of VND 100,000/ticket.

Quang Ninh Museum

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Quang Ninh Museum has a typical jet black color. Photo: bestprice

Located on the edge of the sea in the East Coast of Ha Long City, this place is considered a highlight of Quang Ninh's cultural works. From the outside, the black-colored museum is likened to a giant mirror reflecting the impressive image of the sea and sky of Ha Long.

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The artifacts in the lobby of the first floor in Quang Ninh Museum. Photo: thegioidisan

The space of the museum is predominantly white and is divided into 3 floors outlining the features of this land in accordance with space and time. The first floor is the place for exhibiting artifacts related to the sea theme with 4 pillars like mountains covered with cloth, featuring the image of Ha Long Bay. The second floor has archaeological artifacts of prehistoric, ancient and early modern history - sketching out the ups and downs of Quang Ninh. The 3rd floor stands out with the historical reconstruction of a coal mine - a precious resource of this land.

What to buy as gifts when coming to Ha Long?

Specialties in Ha Long are grilled chopped squid, dried seafood and shrimp floss. You can choose to buy them at shops in Ha Long 1 market, but the grilled chopped squid can be bought at Thoan’s shop (which is also in this place). You can also buy some souvenirs made from seashells or pearl necklaces sold on the second floor of the market.

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You can buy dried seafood and grilled chopped squid at Ha Long 1 market. Photo: Vu Hoang Thang

The trip lasted only 2 days and 1 night at a cost of about VND 2 million/person, however it made Thang feel quite satisfied. He shared with Nem-vn.net that if he scored on the quality of services, food and entertainment in Ha Long, he would give 9 out of 10.