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Our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend taking the quintessential day trip from Hanoi to magical Halong Bay, which is about a three-hour bus ride north of the city center. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, this spectacular corner of the country is marked by its iconic limestone karst formations dramatically jutting out of the Gulf of Tonkin. There are thousands of tiny islands and islets dotting the remarkable landscape — the easiest way to take in all the natural splendor is on one of the many boat tours available throughout the day. Cruise times vary, with some lasting five hours or longer, and some tours include visits to stunning illuminated caves, such as Sung Sot on Bo Hon Island. Your hotel concierge should be able to provide tour company recommendations and help arrange transportation to and from the bay. To make the most of the trip, plan on staying overnight.