Recognized many times by UNESCO as one of the world’s natural heritage Halong Bay has become Vietnam’s most visited tourist attraction. It’s a haven for adventurers and nature lovers alike.
Halong Bay has always been regarded as a top destination for a relaxing holiday for its scenic beauty. It can be said that Halong Bay is a paradise with a mysterious and majestic beauty that everyone must admire.
A descending dragon created the thousands of limestone karsts that rise from the emerald waters of Halong Bay. Plenty of untouched places to go swimming and kayaking, a handful of floating villages to visit, some uninhabited islands to go hiking, a variety of food and drink to savour, etc. numerous things to do in Halong Bay to keep you busy.
Without further ado, here’s our list of the 7 best things to do in Halong Bay, Vietnam.
6 million tourists visit Halong Bay annually, including celebrities, fashion icons, world leaders, etc. Facebook’s Founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Hollywood directors, many presidents, and prime ministers paid a visit to the stunning Halong Bay city of Vietnam.
1. Take a Cruise
Cruise is the best way to discover Halong Bay. Cruises are about relaxing, but the type of cruise experience you want to explore in Halong Bay depends on you. A half-day tour around the day, two-day, one-night trips to overnight trips leaving from the capital Hanoi.
We can say two-day, one-night trips are amazing if you want to relax without having any plans that offer food, including buffet meals as part of the cruise, and luxury accommodations to make your trip truly memorable. Always choose a cruise which has activities like kayaking, swimming, cave exploring, onboard cooking classes, and sometimes excursions to floating villages.
2. Explore the breathtaking Cave
Want to explore the cave in Halong Bay? There are 59 ‘discovered’ caves in Halong Bay to date, and experts believe there could be as many as double this number still waiting to be found. The most popular of these are Hang sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave), Thien Cung Cave (Paradise Cave), and Trinh Nu Cave (Virgin Cave).
Hang Sung Sot Cave is located at Bon Hon Island. People need to hike up a steep path to get here. There are two chambers in the cave with a square-shaped outer chamber and a ceiling about 30 meters high. The inner chamber structures look like guards talking with one another. The moving light reflected from the water’s surface seems to bring these structures to life. It is worth the effort of hiking for the inner views.
Thien Cung cave has three ponds, and it’s decorated with colourful lights because the light creates ghostly images that dance on the walls as visitors walk by.
Dau Go cave has some impressive chambers. The entrance of Dau Go cave, for example, is “only” 12 meters high, but the highest dome inside is 25 meters tall and covered in stone pillars and stalagmites.
They are a must-see and one of the most interesting Halong Bay activities.
Tours & Things to do hand-picked by our insiders
Dine in the Caves, how about that to have an unforgettable experience?
Dining in a Halong Bay cave is a must-try. For those who desire to experience brand new feelings when travelling to Halong Bay, enjoying Halong Bay dinner in a magnificent cave is definitely your superior choice. Instead of eating onboard on your booked cruise, you can get a unique experience when having a delightful dinner in Halong Bay’s caves.
3. Visit Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island is Halong Bay’s biggest island in this part of Vietnam. Cat Ba is full of the usual tourist scenario; hotels, restaurants, and bars. Cat Ba also has three beaches, every tour company offers a trip to the island. The best place to get a kayak and swimming is because it is quiet in the mornings before cruises arrive.
Explore the caves on the island, take off on a hike through the national park (trails are clearly marked so you won’t get lost), or do some rock climbing. Between May and September, it’s also possible to snorkel around the island. Rent a bicycle and ride to the perfect countryside. One of the best things to do here is to explore outside the main town.
4. Scuba Drive
Scuba diving and snorkelling are the top activities in Halong bay to experience the underwater scenic beauty that are as beautiful as what you get above. Cong Do Island and Van Gio Island are especially good starting points because their isolated location has less boat traffic and rare corals such as red and forest corals, seagrass beds, living space like sea turtles and sea horses greater variety of marine species.
It must be a memorable experience for you. You don’t need to worry about your safety. There are a number of diving schools here, or if you prefer, you can just take a boat to the islands and swim and snorkel around.
5. Visit Lan Ha Bay
Lan Ha Bay is located in the southwest. A very famous part of the region with pristine scenery with an intense concentration of limestone mountains. Known for white sandy beaches includes swimming, rock climbing, and sea kayaking, and you can also visit the Cai Beo Floating Village.
Beautiful, small beaches are lying in the mountains. You can find a good spot for organizing a private beach or overnight camp. Lan Ha Bay is honestly a great place to chill.
6. Shop at Bai Chay and Cat Ba Island
In Bai Chay market, you can find many fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of seafood. Also, local items such as clothing and textiles are really good there. This is a good spot to visit if you want to stock up on souvenirs.
And If you are staying on Cat Ba Island, head for the central market for some of the local delights. Huge mounds of crabs, jump shrimp, and fish are both available in those markets. You can set up your own BBQ on the beach by shopping from the market.
7. Go night squid fishing
Fishing huge squid is a pretty good way to enjoy a beautiful night in the Bay. Barbecue these delicious sea creatures that only appear at night. Enjoy this amazing night with beer and BBQ squid; make it worth it to become a night-time fisherman.
If you are on a boat tour, you will ask them about these activities because most of the tour boats will offer you the opportunity to try your hand at squid fishing.
How do you fly to Halong Bay?
Noi Bai International Airport is 30 km (19 miles) from Hanoi. This is also the closest and biggest international airport to Halong Bay. Most travellers will spend a day and explore the capital and travel to Halong Bay the next day.
How do I get from Hanoi to Halong Bay?
The best way to travel the 175km distance from Halong Bay to Hanoi is by bus. This bus journey takes 3.5 hours and costs $14. Alternatively, you can also go by train, or taxi, or travel in style by seaplane. The bus is the most common way to travel from Halong Bay to Hanoi.
How many days do you need in Halong Bay?
People will need to stay in Halong Bay for 2 days to 3 days, either on a cruise or a hotel on land. Let’s examine the pros and cons of each length of stay.
Is December a good time to visit Halong Bay?
Anytime is a great time to visit Halong Bay, but some months receive more visitors than others. The peak season falls in December and January – the months that coincide with Christmas and New Year break. Other months that also see busy lines of travellers include October, November, February, March, and April.
Should I stay overnight in Halong Bay?
Overnight on a cruise is considered the best place to stay in Halong Bay. You can spend all night long listening to the timeless sound of splashing waves as you find yourself facing a blue shimmering sea.
Is the Halong Bay cruise worth it?
Halong Bay is otherworldy. The sea is bright green, and so many karst islands and rocks are rising from the water in every direction that it looks misty.
Can you swim in Halong Bay?
Halong Bay is said to be one of the best places to swim in Vietnam, with numerous beaches. The bay is not only an ideal place for sunbathing with dazzling sunlight but also a beautiful beach with calm tides and clean and green water.
Greetings, travellers! I’m Molly Martin, the passionate explorer behind this vibrant travel platform. Alongside my team—Lorena, Jermaine, Ana, and Alen—we curate awe-inspiring travel destinations to ignite your wanderlust.
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