Usually, tourists visiting the Ha Long Bay in Vietnam opt for cruise views, but starting this month, they also have the option to hop on a helicopter to see the area’s famous karst rock formations from the skies.
There is now a Ha Long heli made up of five-seater helicopters that can soar up to 300 meters (1,000 feet) in order to offer passengers stunning views of the limestone towers, cruise ships, and the odd houseboat dotting Ha Long’s green waters.
The number of visitors to Vietnam grew nearly 20% last year, with one-third of the total coming from its powerful communist neighbor to the north, but domestic tourism is also rising among the country’s fast-growing middle class.
The helicopter rides start at $125 for 12 minutes, with helicopter manufacturer Bell saying the trips are aimed at the tourists coming from the world’s second biggest economy. David Sale, Bell’s managing director for Asia-Pacific stated: “With the Chinese economy growing, you’re seeing more tourists come here.”