On June 1, a new highway connecting capital city Hanoi and UNESCO World Heritage site Halong Bay will open, cutting the four-hour drive time between the popular northern destinations in half.
“This is a game-changer,” said Nguyen Cao Son, chief operating officer of Paradise Cruises, the bay’s leading luxury cruise provider.
“The fact is, not every traveler has the ability to fit an overnight trip to Halong Bay into their schedule. And those that choose to, typically do so at the expense of visiting another beautiful city in Vietnam. But with the introduction of this new highway, tourists can now maximize their time and enjoy a lot more," Son added.
The $572 million highway is one of two major transport projects scheduled to finish soon in Quang Ninh province. A new international airport lain in the east of Halong city is also expected to debut in the second quarter.
The impending milestones come on the verge of a breakout year for Quang Ninh. As the official location of Vietnam National Tourism Year 2018, the province is slated to host more than 50 cultural, sports and tourism events this year and welcome as many as 12 million visitors. Last year, Quang Ninh accommodated 9.87 million tourists.
“The timing couldn’t be better,” said Son. “With so much happening in this region all the way up until the opening of the ASEAN Tourism Forum in January of next year, there’s no doubt visitor interest will be at an all-time high.”
In celebration of the highway opening and in an attempt to further drive tourism to Halong Bay, Paradise is rolling out a day-cruise promotion.
Available from June 10, the package starts from $80 per person and includes roundtrip transfer by shuttle bus from Hanoi, lunch aboard Paradise Explorer and all sightseeing fees as well as any taxes and service charges.
“Our day cruise is perfect for anyone who is short on time but still wants to explore the best of Halong Bay,” said Son. “It also gives them the opportunity to experience Paradise’s five-star service at a fraction of the price."
“Tourists and travel agents have been crying out for a luxury day cruise in Halong Bay for quite some time. Paradise Explorer fills the void,” he said.
Founded in 2008, Paradise runs a total of seven luxury cruise ships in Halong Bay as well as the 156-room Paradise Suites and Paradise Trend hotels, the first and only boutique luxury hotels in Halong city.
The company made another significant splash last year when it launched Paradise Elegance, the biggest overnight cruise option in Halong Bay ever.
Now Paradise is sailing into uncharted waters again.
“It’s our understanding that we’ll be the first cruise operator to use the new highway to transfer guests to Halong Bay,” said Son. “That excites us. It meshes with our pioneering spirit.”