Halong city is a town located on the northern side of the Ha Long Bay Archipelago of Vietnam. It’s the capital of Vietnam’s Quang Ninh province.
This city is primarily a transit point and is divided into two parts: Bai Chay and Hon Gai. The Bai Chay part is perfect for tourists, offering them an abundance of hotels and restaurants.
Hon Gai is the local, more economic part with business and markets. The two parts are connected by the enormous Bai Chay bridge.
This city has one of the biggest sea ports in entire Vietnam, which is what makes it a major industrial center in Northern Vietnam. This port receives imported fuel and oil supplying the whole North Vietnam.
Unfortunately, during the war, the city of Halong was partly damages, since it was a major target of American Air Force.
Warnings & Dangers in Halong
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Halong is a safe city to travel to. It is primarily a transit point, so tourists are not targeted by pickpockets nor are there instances of violent crimes towards them. There is some street crime, but much less than in Hanoi.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Means of transport and taxis aren't very safe in Halong. Even though you'll probably travel in a ‘private van’ throughout Halong, the road conditions are pretty bad, and fatalities are common.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Pickpocketing and bag snatching isn't a very common issue in Halong. Still, you should keep your belongings by your side at all times and try to leave all your valuables in a security deposit box of your hotel.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Natural threats include occasional typhoons (from May to January) with extensive flooding. In case of a natural disaster, follow the instructions of local authorities.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There are some areas where cases of mugging have been reported, it is generally rare, and foreigners are rarely targeted.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There is low probability of a terrorist attack, however they should never be ruled out so be vigilant and watch out for suspicious activities.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
You can get overcharged by rental services in Halong, and pretty much everyone: street vendors, taxi and bus drivers, hotel owners and worst of all - the police. Double check every information and pay or negotiate everything in advance.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There is a certain risk for women traveling to Halong. Avoid overnight trains and buses, and parts of the city that are filled with bars and clubs, since there is a higher chance of running into intoxicated people. Follow basic common sense and avoid walking alone at night and in poorly lit and secluded areas.
So... How Safe Is Halong Really?
Halong Bay is a rather destination for both male and female tourists when it comes to petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching.
As in any country, there are parts of this city that may be dangerous, like the entire trip from Hanoi to the point of boarding in Halong.
Though you’ll probably travel in a ‘private van’, the road conditions are pretty bad.
The most common risk for tourists in this city remains petty crime such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and valuables theft, usually not involving violence of any kind.
One of the common issues in Halong is motorbike snatching. This usually involves thieves on motorbikes snatching pedestrians’ bags, mobile phones, cameras and jewelry.
As for streets, they are generally safe but there are areas that should be avoided, such as parts of cities filled with clubs and bars that are usually filled with suspicious individuals.
Sexual assaults and robberies are more probable in these places, so be cautious and avoid these places late at night.
Avoid purchasing liquor from street vendors since they may not be authentic, and bear in mind that drugs in Vietnam can be laced with toxic ingredients and potentially fatal.
- Visas - All US citizens wishing to visit Vietnam will need to apply for a tourist visa, and no earlier than six months before their planned departure. Your passport should be valid for at least six months past your date of return.
- Currency - Vietnamese dong is the official currency in Halong. We recommend changing your money in post offices, banks or larger hotels. Airports also offer a convenient exchange rate.
- Weather - Halong has humid and tropical climate, characterized by a hot, humid summer and dry, cold winter. Halong's temperature varies from 15ºC to 25ºC.
- Airports - The best way to get to Halong Bay, is to fly to the Noi Bai International Airport, 40km outside Hanoi, Vietnam's capital city. From there you can travel to Halong City, for which there are couple of ways.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Halong, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.