Halong Bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin, is one of Vietnam’s prime tourist destinations. Known for its stunning natural beauty and ethereal landscapes, Halong Bay offers a range of activities that cater to different interests and preferences. From exploring hidden caves and islands to indulging in local cuisine and cultural experiences, there are plenty of things to do in Halong Bay that will make your trip unforgettable.
Whether you’re a nature lover looking to immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery or an adventure seeker seeking adrenaline-pumping activities, there is something for everyone in Halong Bay. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the top things to do in Halong Bay that will help you plan your itinerary accordingly.
Things to do in Halong Bay
Taking a cruise
Taking a cruise is one of the best things to do in Halong Bay, with many options available for travelers to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious experience or an adventure-packed itinerary, there’s a cruise that will suit your preferences.
One of the highlights of taking a Halong Bay cruise is the opportunity to explore the various islands and caves that dot the bay. Many cruises offer excursions to places like Sung Sot Cave and Ti Top Island, where visitors can hike, swim, and take in panoramic views of the surrounding area. For those interested in learning more about Vietnamese culture and history, some cruises also include visits to fishing villages where locals show off their traditional way of life.
Besides, stay overnight in the middle of the sea would be aplus point that make your experience on a Halong Bay Cruise become memorable.
For those who want to do a lot in a short time, a cruise in Halong Bay would be the best option.
If you are visiting Halong Bay, exploring the caves is an absolute must-do activity. Halong Bay is home to over 2,000 limestone karsts and islands that were formed millions of years ago, and many of them have fascinating caves.
The caves in Ha Long Bay are known for their exquisite beauty and feature some of Vietnam’s most stunning rock formations. These ancient caverns have been carved out by water over millions of years, giving them an otherworldly feel that is impossible to find anywhere else in Southeast Asia. Whether you’re interested in geology or just want to marvel at nature’s wonders, visiting these caves will be an unforgettable experience.
The most famous cave in Halong Bay is the Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave). This cave got its name because it was a surprise discovery by French explorers in 1901. From Bai Chay Beach, you can take a boat or a kayak to the Surprise Cave, which is on Bo Hon Island. Once inside, you will be amazed at the sheer size of the cave, which covers an area of 10,000 square meters.
Most Popular Cave in Halong Bay: Thien Cung Cave, Sung Sot Cave, and Dark and Bright Cave
Swimming in Halong Bay is an experience unlike any other. The stunning natural beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is unparalleled, with towering limestone cliffs jutting from the emerald-green waters below. There are few places on earth where you can swim in such a breathtakingly beautiful environment.
The clear waters of Halong Bay make it an ideal place to take a dip and cool off from the heat. Whether you’re swimming off the back of one of the traditional wooden junk boats that cruise around the bay or diving into the water from one of the many hidden beaches along its shores, you’re sure to be amazed by your surroundings.
You’ll swim amongst schools of colorful fish and coral reefs, as well as have views across to some of Vietnam’s most iconic landmarks like Cat Ba Island and Ti Top Island.
Kayaking in Halong Bay is an experience that promises to leave you mesmerized. With its towering limestone cliffs and emerald waters, Halong Bay is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Kayaking through the bay’s calm waters allows you to truly appreciate the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As you glide through Halong Bay, take in the breathtaking scenery around you and immerse yourself in the tranquility of your surroundings. You’ll have ample opportunities to explore hidden lagoons, secluded beaches, and mysterious caves that are inaccessible to larger boats. The kayaking routes are carefully planned to ensure that you get a glimpse of all the top sights while also avoiding crowds.
If you’re worried about your kayaking abilities, don’t be! There are options available for both beginners and experienced kayakers alike.
Learn about the local life of fisherman.
Nestled in the heart of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lie lots of charming local fishing villages that transport visitors back in time. These villages are known for their simple way of life and traditional floating houses that have been used for generations. Visitors can take a boat tour through the village’s intricate network of canals to get an up-close look at how the locals live and work.
As you glide past the wooden boats and nets draped over the water, you’ll witness fishermen casting their nets into the bay, just as they have done for centuries. The villagers are friendly and welcoming, often offering visitors fresh seafood caught right from their own backyard. In addition to fishing, many villagers also make their living crafting beautiful souvenirs such as woven baskets, handmade pottery, and delicate silk embroidery.
Some worth-visiting village: Vung Vieng Fishing Village, Cua Van Fishing Village,..
Sunbathing on the beaches
There’s one activity you should not exclude from your “top things to do in Halong Bay,” and that’s enjoy the beaches. Halong’s beaches offer crystal-clear water, white sand, and a beautiful view.
For sun seekers, there are plenty of opportunities to soak up some rays. Whether you choose to lounge on a boat deck or lay out on one of the area’s many beaches, you’re sure to enjoy some much-needed sunshine. And with temperatures typically ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius during peak season (May–August), it’s the perfect place to catch some rays without feeling overheated.
Editor Suggestions: Ti Top Island Beach, Ba Trai Dao Beach, and Soi Sim Beach
Welcome Sunset and Sunrise
Halong Bay offers a breathtaking sunrise and sunset.
As the sun rises in Halong Bay, it illuminates the towering limestone cliffs, casting a warm golden glow over the water. The tranquil waters of the bay reflect the magnificent hues of orange and pink as they merge with the blue sky. Visitors can witness this stunning spectacle from various vantage points, including on board a boat or from one of the many scenic viewpoints.
At sunset, Halong Bay becomes even more magical with its serene atmosphere and romantic setting. The sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors as it changes from deep blues to fiery oranges and reds before fading into darkness. Witnessing these mesmerizing colors gradually fade away while surrounded by nature is an experience that will leave you in awe.
Halong Bay offers an unforgettable underwater experience for snorkelers of all levels.
As you dive beneath the surface, you’ll be greeted by a vibrant world filled with colorful fish, sea turtles, and coral reefs. The warm waters make it easy to spend hours exploring the underwater landscape as you swim alongside schools of fish and marvel at the intricate patterns on the coral. If you’re new to snorkeling, there’s no need to worry! Many tour operators in Halong Bay offer guided trips that cater to beginners who want to learn how to snorkel safely.
Seaplane – A way to see Halong Bay from above
While there are plenty of things to do in Halong Bay, none are quite as breathtaking as seeing it from above in a seaplane.
As you soar over Halong Bay, you’ll be treated to panoramic views that will take your breath away. From the air, you can truly appreciate the scale and beauty of this natural wonder. As you glide past towering karst cliffs and sailboats making their way through hidden coves, you’ll feel like you’re flying over a fairytale world.
- It means to be an expensive way of travel. The ticket is cost about 100USd/25 minutes flight. But it would well worth it.
- Hai Au Aviation is the only company which are allowed to operate seaplane in Halong Bay.
Things to do in the surrounding of Halong Bay
Immerse yourself in the world of Halong Bay Food
Halong Bay is not only famous for its stunning natural beauty but also for its unique cuisine. From fresh seafood to traditional Vietnamese dishes, Halong Bay has something to offer every food lover.
One of the most popular dishes in Halong Bay is grilled squid. The squid is caught fresh from the bay and grilled with a mixture of garlic, chili, and fish sauce to create a flavorful dish that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Another seafood delicacy you shouldn’t miss is the shellfish soup. This soup is made using various types of shellfish, like clams, mussels, or scallops, cooked together with herbs and spices for an aromatic broth that will warm your soul.
Overall, Halong Bay Food will make you surprise with its wide variety as well as the quality of each dishes.
Visit Sun World Halong Park
Sun world Halong Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to have a memorable adventure. Located in the heart of Halong City, this amusement park offers a wide range of thrilling rides, attractions, and entertainment options that are sure to keep visitors of all ages entertained.
The park is designed to cater to both thrill-seekers and families with young children. Thrill-seekers can enjoy an array of adrenaline-pumping rides such as Dragon’s Run (roller coasters), giant swings, and Monster Spin (free-fall). Families with younger children will appreciate the calmer rides such as carousel horses, bumper cars, and smaller slides.
Aside from rides, Sun World Park also has several other attractions, including arcade games, carnival game stalls, etc. There are also food vendors offering a variety of delicious snacks, such as cotton candy, popcorn, and hot dogs.
Sun World Halong Bay Park
Address: Bai Chay, Halong City, Vietnam
Experience World Records Cable Car
Visiting Halong Bay, travelers will have the chance to explore the world’s highest cable car abutment. The cable car system spans over 2 miles from the Bai Chay beach area to Ba Deo Hill, offering breathtaking views of the bay along the way. Visitors can glide above the water and take in panoramic vistas of more than 1,600 limestone islands dotting Ha Long Bay while enjoying a comfortable and safe ride on one of the world’s most scenic cable cars.
Queen Cable Car
Address: Sunworld Halong Park, Bai Chay City, Halong Bay, Vietnam
Ticket Fee: 350,000vnd/adult
Opening hours: 09:00 to 19:00 at weekends & 14:00 to 18:00 at week days
Climbing Bai Tho Mountain
With a height of 200 meters, Bai Tho Mountain offers breathtaking views of the bay and its surrounding limestone cliffs. The name Bai Tho means “Poem Beach” or “Poem Water”, and it is believed that in ancient times, poets would come to this mountain for inspiration.
The climb up Bai Tho Mountain can be challenging but rewarding. It takes approximately an hour to climb to the top of the mountain, where visitors can see panoramic views of Ha Long Bay and its many islands.
Along the way, there are several stops with stunning viewpoints that allow visitors to take a break and capture some “thousand likes” Instagram photos.
Visitors should be aware that there are no facilities on Bai Tho Mountain, so it’s important to bring your own refreshments.
Binh Lieu Dinosour Spine
Binh Lieu is a district located in the northernmost region of Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam, about 100 kilometers from Halong City. The region is known for its picturesque landscapes, diverse culture, and rich history. Binh Lieu possesses an abundance of natural resources, such as forests, mountains, and rivers, that make it an ideal place for eco-tourism.
One of the most notable attractions in Binh Lieu is the famous “Binh Lieu Dinosour Spine”. The viewpoint offers visitors a breathtaking view of the entire district, with stunning mountain ranges, lush green forests, and terraced fields.
The most common way to explore the area is by camping overnight. Visitors can set up camp on top of mountain peaks to enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. There are also plenty of hiking trails that take travelers through dense forests and past cascading waterfalls, providing ample opportunities for adventure.
For those looking to learn more about local culture, Binh Lieu is home to several ethnic minority groups that still practice traditional ways of life.
– Best time to visit Binh Lieu is October, when the entire area colored with yellow of growing paddy field.
– It might get extremely cold during winter time, so pack warmly.
Explore Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island is one of the most popular travel destinations in Vietnam. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, it’s a part of the Cat Ba Archipelago and Ha Long Bay UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island is surrounded by stunning landscapes, including mountains, crystal-clear waters, and white sandy beaches.
If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Cat Ba Island should be high on your list. It offers various outdoor activities, such as trekking through beautiful national parks or kayaking in secluded bays. You can also explore hidden caves that are only accessible by boat or tour floating fishing villages where locals have lived for generations.
Another highlight of the island is Cat Ba National Park, which covers an area of 109 square miles and is home to a variety of wildlife, including over 70 species of mammals and more than 200 different bird species.
The park also boasts some breathtaking views, with rugged limestone cliffs towering over dense forests and clear waters.
If possible, take a cable car to Cat Ba to get the beauty of the whole area from above. The starting station is at Cat Hai Island, located right next to Cat Ba Island.
Visit Historical Cannon Fort
Cannon Fort, located in Cat Ba Island, is one destination you should not miss when traveling to Halong Bay. The fort was built in 1942 by French colonialists, who used it as a defensive structure during World War II.
The Cannon Fort sits on top of a hill overlooking Cat Ba town and offers breathtaking panoramic views of Cat Ba Island and Lan Ha Bay. Visitors can take a hike up to the fort through lush greenery and enjoy the picturesque scenery along the way. Once at the fort, they can explore its various rooms, tunnels, and artillery positions that were used during wartime.
– Open Hours: 6:00 to 18:00 daily
– Entrance fee: 40,000vnd (~ 1.5USD)/person
Learn about Vietnamese culture in Ba Vang Pagoda
Ba Vang Pagoda is a well-known religious site in Vietnam that attracts thousands of visitors every year. Located in Uong Bi city (about 80km from Halong city) of Quang Ninh province, the pagoda was built in 1706 and has been renovated numerous times over the centuries. The stunning architecture of Ba Vang Pagoda reflects both traditional Vietnamese and modern styles, making it a unique destination for travelers.
The pagoda’s main attraction is its beautiful statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, which stands 13.5 meters tall and weighs 50 tons. The statue was crafted from more than 3,000 pieces of bronze and copper by skilled artisans who spent years perfecting their craft. Visitors can also admire the intricate carvings on the walls and pillars inside the pagoda, which depict scenes from Buddhist scriptures.
- Wear long clothes as a way to show respect for Vietnam culture.
Visit Yen Tu – One of the oldest Buddhism Complex in Vietnam
Yen Tu is a mountainous region located in the northern part of Vietnam and is considered to be one of the most sacred destinations for Buddhists. The area has been a place of pilgrimage for many centuries, attracting thousands of visitors annually. Yen Tu holds a special place in Vietnamese history, as it was here that King Tran Nhan Tong decided to abdicate his throne and become a monk.
The journey to Yen Tu begins with a cable car ride that takes you to the top of the mountain. The view from the cable car is breathtaking, with lush green forests and mountains stretching out as far as the eye can see. As you ascend higher, you will notice several pagodas and temples nestled among the cliffs and rocks.
Halong Bay is not only a picturesque landscape, but it also offers an array of cultural events that attract tourists from all over the world. The city’s cultural scene is very vibrant and varied, with festivals held at different times throughout the year. These events showcase the traditions and customs of the local people, making them a unique experience for visitors.
One popular event in Halong Bay is the Ha Long Carnival, which takes place every April. The carnival features spectacular parades with dancers wearing colorful costumes and performing traditional dances to the sound of drums. There are also street performances by acrobats and magicians, as well as food stalls selling delicious local cuisine. This event is an excellent opportunity to immerse oneself in Vietnamese culture while enjoying a fun-filled atmosphere.
Another exciting cultural event in Halong Bay is the Quang Ninh Sea Festival, held every two years in June or July.
In conclusion, Halong Bay and its surrounding areas offer an array of activities that cater to everyone’s interests. From cruising on a traditional boat and exploring caves to hiking in the mountains and discovering local markets, there is something for everyone. The breathtaking scenery of Halong Bay is truly unforgettable, and visitors will leave with memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience this incredible destination for yourself. Book your trip today and explore all that Halong Bay has to offer!
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