Your trip to Vietnam might not be completed if you are yet to visit Halong Bay – one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Let’s check out why it’s worth visiting this bay with these 29 best things to do in Halong Bay and city, Vietnam!
14 Attractions to See in Halong Bay
1. Sung Sot Cave
Sung Sot Cave should be on top must-visit destination when you are in Halong Bay. It is the largest and also the most renowned, the most visited cave of all. The cave is around 1000 square meters consisting of thousands of stalagmites and stalactites. As the typical karst caves, Sung Sot has high scientific value as well. Located in Bo Hon Island, the center of Halong Bay, the cave is covered with a layer of countless “light beams” hung with glittering stalactites, “velvet carpet”, and stone statues. For such values, Sung Sot Cave is one of the favorite places to visit in Halong Bay.
2. Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island is the largest island in Halong Bay. It is home to plenty of hotels, restaurants, and bars. Located off the coast of Hai Phong City, it has clean beaches (named Cat Co 1 and Cat Co 2) which are ideal for sunbathing and swimming during the summer. And if you are not a fan of crowds, you can go to Monkey Island where the beaches are cleaner and quieter, and you can rent a kayak or charter a speedboat there.
3. Dau Be Island and National Park
Dau Be Island is famous for Ba Ham Lake which is a system consisting of 3 big ocean basins. Inside the cave, there are many stalactites on the ceiling which create odd shapes and dimensions. The island is home to many species of orchids, banyans, and palm trees. There are also many gold monkeys, bats, flying squirrels, birds, and flowers blooming throughout the year.
4. Me Cung Cave
Me Cung Cave (or Maze Cave), as fanciful and appealing as its name, is one of many famous attractions in Halong Bay. The entrance looks like a house roof which carves deep into the slopes of the island. Inside, you may get the feelings as if you are entering in a great palace of a Persian King. With the light shining from the outer, the sparkling stalactites make the cave shimmering like in paradise. Besides, the blue waters of Me Cung lake inside the cave also creates picturesque beauty of nature.
5. Monkey Island
Monkey Island is a famous popular tourist attraction that most of the tours encourage visitors to visit this island. It is an ideal destination for swimming in the blue water. And, the existence of many monkeys is of course the highlight of Monkey Island. Here, the visitors will have chances to take photos or frisk with monkeys on boughs comfortably. Apart from the monkeys, the bungalows on the island will provide tourists with unforgettable moments.
6. Virgin Cave (Hang Trinh Nu)
Virgin Cave or Hang Trinh Nu has probably the most moving legend about love behind its name. Inside the cave, you can find a shrine which is dedicated to the woman who is a symbol of pure and eternal love. Legend apart, the cave is a beautiful and ideal stopover for any Halong luxury cruises. Entering the entrance located at the foot of a cliff, you will go through the tunnels of the cave which reaches the middle of the island about 2 km long.
7. Lan Ha Bay
Located to the south of Halong Bay, Lan Ha spreads over an area of more than 7000 ha. The bay reserves the pristine scenery which has an intense concentration of limestone mountains. There are hundreds of beautiful, small beaches lying at the feet of mountains so there is no problem to find a good spot for an overnight camp or organizing a private beach BBQ. After a long day of exploration, Lan Ha Bay is a truly a good place to relax.
8. Dau Go Island
Seemingly floating on the emerald water, Dau Go Island or Wooden Head Island, is a popular name among Halong tourist attractions which is famed for Dau Go Cave – a spectacular cave. The cave, from afar, looks like a jellyfish with a 90 step staircase. Discovering the inner beauty of the cave is a wonderful thing to do because it is extremely mysterious and surprising. You will feel like you are lost in a fairy-tale place which brings an incredibly beautiful scenery.
9. Bai Tu Long Bay
Located in the East of Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay is an off-the-beaten-track destination which is outstanding with the beauty of karsts and limestone mountains. In Bai Tu Long Bay, you can kayak in Vung Vieng Fishing Village, snorkel in Ban Chan Beach, relax in Ang Du area, and learn the history of Thien Canh Son cave.
10. Poem Mountain (Nui Bai Tho)
Poem Mountain has got its name since 1268 when King Le Thanh Tong carved a poem on a cliff at the mountain. Thanks to the mountain side which overlooks the bay, Poem Mountain is the most ideal viewing spot in Halong Bay. Standing on the mountain and looking down, you will understand why the bay is called Halong. The air in this area is cool throughout the year so you can visit it whenever you want. It is where you can see hundreds of different plants growing on cliffs, enjoy melodious birdsong, and play with the goats grazing on the slopes.
11. Cua Van Floating Village
Cua Van is the largest fishing village in Halong bay which is situated at Hung Thang commune. The village lies in a calm bay surrounded by islets and limestone mountains. It is home to 733 people who mainly live by fishing. The fishing families all live on little floating houses which are anchored in protected bay. Cua Van is voted as one of the most 15 beautiful fishing villages in the world. And it is an ideal place to get to know the daily life of fishermen who will teach you how to make fishing trap and fishing net.
12. Ti Top Island
Located about 14 kilometers from Bai Chay tourist harbor, Ti Top is famous for a crescent moon shaped beach which has beautiful still blue waters and tranquility. Thanks to the calm waters and immaculate white sands, the beach is perfect for water-based activities like swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. There is also a bar where you can rent all kinds of swim gear or stop for a drink if you want.
13. Tuan Chau Island
Covered by pine forests, Tuan Chau Island consists of multiple sloping hills and two man-made beaches with white and fine sand. It is a memorial site as President Ho Chi Minh used to spend his holidays there. The island has many attractions like animal circus club, the performing-seal club, cultural-sports center, rural market, villas, and ornamental fish lake,… It also offers plenty of activities for tourists such as Jet Ski, sea fishing, and canoes parachute,…
14. Quan Lan Island
In the 11th century, Quan Lan used to be in the middle of an important trade route between Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and China. Now it looks like a sleepy island more than a busy port. Despite being inhabited by locals, Quan Lan’s scenery remains mostly untouched with beautiful forest areas and 3 long white sandy beaches. It is also a great place for sampling local seafood thanks to the abundance of butterfish, mackerel, squid, and shrimp in the waters.
15 Activities & Things to Do in Halong Bay
1. Have Overnight on Board
Suggested for: those who want to get a brand new overnight experience
An overnight on board is the best way to enjoy Halong Bay. You can look to experience the ordinary life of a fisherman at its purest. Friendly and hospitable locals will show you to cast a fishing net, paddle your own rowing boat, and go fishing like a real deal. Moreover, you can enjoy its famous seafood such as crabs, sea clams, and prawns.
2. Visit Cannon Fort
Suggested for: those who wish to take in the best of Cat Ba Island view
From a place of vantage, you can see rolling hills, bobbing fishing boats, and karst formation which juts out of the sea. On the way to the cannon fort, you also have a chance to check out underground tunnels and a number of attractions such as gun emplacements.
3. Take a Cruise
Suggested for: those who truly want to see all of Halong Bay
Signing up for a boat cruise is the best way to discover Halong Bay. With 2000 islands, you can choose where you want to go and what you want to see, from the most well-known to smaller islands. It is a memorable cruising experience for you to enjoy a buffet meal as part of the cruise or stay on the boat overnight as well.
4. Jump a Seaplane
Suggested for: those who want to see Halong Bay in a different way.
If you are wondering how Halong bay looks from above, just get on a seaplane tour. It is a totally unique experience within 25 minutes. The sightseeing flight will let you see some of the 1600 islands and islets which are scattered across the Gulf of Tonkin, along with beaches, lagoon, and towering sea cliffs. There are both morning and afternoon flights, so you can choose a convenient time for you. The aerial view of Halong Bay will surely blow your mind!
5. Go Scuba Diving
Suggested for: those who expect to explore marine life
By scuba diving, visitors will have a chance to see the great underwater world of Halong by their own eyes. You can explore various kinds of fish and pristine coral reefs at the bottom of Halong bay and touch them. It must be an amazing experience for you, especially for visitors who love discovery. You don’t need to worry about your safety because all facilities are regularly checked and match safety standard.
6. Climb on Rocks
Suggested for: those who are fans of sports and have a good health
Cat Ba National Park is a great spot for climbing on rocks. You can find some amazing hiking trails including 18 km trail climbing to the summit of the main peak. Climbing gives you a chance to see all the flora and fauna as you trek around and renting a guide for your trekking is better to get to know the history of the region.
7. Swim at Bai Chay Beach
Suggested for: those who wants to enjoy clean, cool waters at Bai Chay beach
Bai Chay is a large, beautiful, and artificial beach which is close to the coast of Halong bay. The beach is an ideal destination for swimming with 100-meter-wide sandy beach which spans over 500 meters. In summer days, Bai Chay beach attracts plenty of local and foreign people to visit. Significantly invested, it is rapidly transformed into one of the most captivating beaches in Halong bay.
8. Shop at Bai Chay Market
In Bai Chay market, you can find huge heaps of fresh fruits and vegetables, and plenty of seafood. In addition, you also can buy other local items such as clothing and textiles. This is a really good spot to stock up on souvenirs and sample some of the local produce in Ha Long Bay as well.
9. Cycle around
Suggested for: who wants to enjoy quiet atmosphere
Most people think of water activities when visiting Halong Bay. But it actually has a lot more to offer. Cycling around Cat Ba is relaxing and romantic. The scenery along the coastal road will make your cycling a wonderful thing to do in Halong Bay. To experience the best coastal scenery, renting a bike is the perfect choice for you. You can rent a bike for VND 20.000/ hour.
10. Sunbathe on Beach
Suggested for: anyone who wants to get tanned skin
Halong Bay is said to be one of the best places for sunbathing on the beach in Vietnam with numerous beaches. With dazzling sunlight, beautiful beaches with calm tides, clean, and green water, you will feel very comfortable when enjoying sunbathing. To name some beaches, they will be Tuan Chau, Ti Top, Ngoc Vung, and Trai Dao. They are the best ones with beautiful views of the bay.
11. Dine in the Caves
Suggested for: those seeking for a brand new dining experience
Dining in a cave is a must if you haven’t done this before. Now, several cruises offer this service in everyday. You can contact some agency to ask whether they include this experience in their itinerary. The dinner doesn’t only come with a candlelit dining experience but also admiring the miracle work of Mother Nature. This is something that you may never find in other places.
12. Go Night Squid Fishing
Suggested for: anyone who is a night owl
Night squid fishing is a popular night time activity in Halong Bay. When you sign up for this activity, you will be provided with a fishing rod. When darkness falls, you can take in large shoals of squid swimming around in these waters. If you have caught the fish, you can enjoy a barbecue with these delicious creatures and the staff will show you the way.
13. Go Kayaking
Suggested for: who want to get relax time
Kayaking is listed as a must-try thing to do in Halong Bay. It is an exciting activity to sit on a tiny kayak, paddle in the blue water, wriggle into the cave, and touch the stalactites. You can go kayaking to visit fishing villages and learn works of fishermen on the sea, and admire the limestone islands as well.
Suggested for: those who want to experience Vietnamese traditional seafood market
14. Go Snorkeling
Suggested for: those who want to admire the fascinating underwater world.
For nature and adventure lovers, your trip will not be complete without snorkeling. You will marvel at colorful coral reefs and diverse creatures in sparkling sea life. This can be a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to immerse into an aquatic world, swim with the cuttlefish, and dance with the octopus. Note that the best time of the year to go snorkeling in the bay is December. And good areas to see the coral reefs are Cong Do Island, Trai Cave, and Van Gio Island.
15. Sleep on a Board
Suggested for: anyone looking for a new experience of sleeping on a board.
The best thing about sleeping on a board is the “escapism”. You can feel the freedom of your own space, the sense of peace and being surrounded by water. Besides, you also can enjoy the lifestyle on the board which is without any stress. Staying on a board also gives you the chance to watch the sunset and wake up to the sound of the wind and sea waves in Halong bay.
With above interesting places and must-do activities, we hope that you can choose some of your favorite things to do when visiting Halong bay. If you have any questions, please let us know.