If you're planning to visit Vietnam then one place that should be on your list is Halong Bay, which translates as 'where the dragon descends into the sea'. If you've never heard of it then I'm sure you'll have seen pictures of it, because it's one of the most visited and photographed places in the north of Vietnam - and you can see why below.
There are almost two thousand towering limestone pillars and small islets in the bay, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994. It's spectacularly beautiful and is a must if you're in Vietnam. Halong City itself is full of high-rises, so give it a miss - the best way to see the bay is to do a tour - some tours include sleeping on board within the bay.
Halong Bay attracts visitors all year round, with peak season between late May and early August, but to avoid the crowds many people visit in November. Others skip the main bay and head for Cat Ba Island where you can take a trip to Lan Ha Bay which is just as beautiful but not as busy.
Personally though, I think sometimes you just have to accept the most beautiful places in the world will be busy when you visit, so bear with the crowds and soak up the stunning views in this piece of paradise. Isn't the world an amazing place?