Seaplane tours to Ha Long serve 3,500 passengers in a year hinh anh 1A Hai Au seaplane takes a tour around majestic Ha Long Bay. (Photo: VNA)

Hai Au Airlines, a private air carrier, has offered seaplane tours between Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province to more than 3,500 domestic and foreign passengers since the service debuted in October last year.

The service, the first of its kind in Vietnam, has given passengers a birds-eye view of the majestic bay and World Natural Heritage Site, where thousands of limestone karsts jut up from the green waters, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Dinh Thu Trang said.

The trip costs each passenger 275 USD, or about 6 million VND, for a 30-minute one-way flight from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay. It normally takes a three to four hour road trip to get there.

A 25-minute Ha Long Bay tour is also offered at 275 USD per person per way while a one-hour flight with a scenic tour costs 385 USD per person per way. Passengers are served by an experienced crew and five-star services in Cessna Grand Caravan EX seaplanes.

The British daily Telegraph newspaper, US-based Forbes magazine, ABC Television and many travel sites have described the tour as a must-try experience.

Hai Au plans to open new sightseeing seaplane tours from Hanoi to Trang An landscape complex in Ninh Binh province and from Trang An to Ha Long Bay in the coming time.

The airline expects to soon launch seaplane flight services in central and southern Vietnam, for example central Quang Binh and Quang Nam provinces, Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta.

Covering an area of 43,400 ha and includes over 1,969 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and unaffected by humans, Ha Long Bay was in the list of the world’s top ten best and romantic destinations for 2011 by the UK’s Lonely Planet magazine and ranked 6th among top ten sailing cruises by National Geographic book “Journeys of a Lifetime”

​​In 2013, the bay was included in the list of “100 trips you must take in your lifetime” released by the US magazine Business Insider. 

The magazine recommended spending a night on a junk boat in the bay, amid a multitude of limestone islands and islets rising from the sea, in a variety of sizes and shapes and presenting picturesque, unspoiled nature. 

​Last year, it was listed in the world’s top ten Valentine’s Day Retreats recommended by the US National Geographic’s book “Four Seasons of Travel”. 

The website of the US magazine described the twice-recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site as “a vision of astonishing beauty” with more than 1,600 islands and a sweet and romantic destination for international tourists.-VNA