As the starting point for the majority of cruises, most visitors to Halong Bay pass through Bai Chay and the steady influx of tourists has seen a wealth of hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops open up along its lively waterfront. Its name, Bai Chay, translates as ‘Scorched Beach,’ a tribute to the 13th-century forest fire that swept across the mainland, but traces of its turbulent past have long since disappeared.
Today, the wide sandy beach of Bai Chay is the main pull for visitors, stretching for 500 meters along the waterfront and buzzing with activity day and night. Stroll along the picturesque Bai Chay harbor, where a jumble of white-painted junk boats await their passengers; ride the elevator to the top of the Bai Chay Bridge for a view over the bay; then head to the beach to swim, try water sports like waterskiing and kayaking, or watch a traditional water puppet show.
Bai Chay is located at the mouth of Halong Bay and is the main starting point for boat cruises.