Seaplane revs up to give visitors a bird's-eye view of Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay and beyond

By Vy An   November 21, 2017 | 07:16 am GMT+7

Visitors will have yet another option to tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A new seaplane service will launch next year transporting tourists from Ha Long Town to Co To Island off the coast of Quang Ninh Province.

The Quang Ninh provincial administration has signed off on a proposal from a private company to sell flights across the bay, offering visitors to the world-renowned site an alternative to the many ships that cruise its waters.

The new seaplane service operated by the Hanoi-based Hai Au Aviation will take 20 minutes for a round trip between Tuan Chau Port in Ha Long Bay and Co To Island.

Hai Au already offers flights between Hanoi and Ha Long that can carry up to 12 passengers, and will use the same model of plane for the new service.

A seaplane over Ha Long Bay. Video by Minh Cuong

Ha Long Town has been doing its best to protect its visitors and image in recent times.

The city recently suspended a cruise ship that cut a sightseeing tour from four hours to two and a half on November 12 without informing passengers who had paid VND250,000 ($11) each for the trip.

The cruise ship has been docked for 20 days starting from Monday, while the captain has been suspended for 30 days.

Ha Long Bay was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam.

The bay was used to film the recent Hollywood blockbuster “Kong: Skull Island”, and has been raved about by many travel bloggers.

Ha Long City received over 6.1 million visitors in the first nine months this year, up 19 percent against the same period last year, official data from the city shows.

The number of visitors is expected to rise when a new expressway scheduled for completion in March next year reduces travel times from Hanoi to the world famous bay to just an hour and a half.

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