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Halong Bay Weather In Winter: Features & Activities

It is thought that winter is not a suitable period to visit Halong Bay because of the cold weather. However, this season is still blessed with sunny and warm days, enabling a variety of outdoor activities in the bay. Additionally, winter also offers Halong a bewitchingly mysterious charm that makes the Heritage worth your discovery. Check out this article for a useful guide on Halong Bay weather in winter as well as recommended entertainment choices.

Overview of Halong Bay 

Halong Bay is located on the Western side of the Gulf of Tonkin (the Northeast of Vietnam), surrounded by Bai Tu Long Bay to the East and Lan Ha Bay to the South. On the adjacent coast to the North of the bay lies Halong City. It takes about 2.5-3 hours to travel from Hanoi City Center to Halong Bay through a 155km route. 

Halong Bay covers an area of 43,400 ha and comprises over 1600 islands and islets in numerous sizes and shapes. The outstanding highlight of this property is being centered around the drowned limestone karst landforms, displaying majestic pillars with various arches and caves which form magnificent natural scenery. The limestone in Halong Bay has gone through 500-million-year geological processes under different conditions and environments to form unique karst landscapes found today.

Thanks to its exquisite seascapes and significant geographical and biological values, Halong Bay was recognized as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage twice in 1994 and 2000 and was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2011. 

Visit Halong Bay in winter
Make your winter to remember with a Halong Bay adventure

Halong Bay weather in winter

Halong Bay’s winter lasts from November to January, featuring cold and dry weather and a low average temperature of 14-23°C. In this season, the nighttime is often longer than the daytime with sunshine hours between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm. Rain occurs sporadically in form of drizzle. Without sunlight on many days, the bay seems to be fully covered in thick fog and clouds, especially in the early morning and late afternoon, making it like a mystical and serene “ink-wash painting”.

Halong Bay weather in November

Halong Bay weather in December

Halong Bay weather in January

Best things to do in Halong Bay in winter

Taking a cruise

Cruising is regarded as the best way to admire the charming Heritage and travellers’ leading choice for a bay adventure. Not only take visitors across stunning landscapes, but cruises also offer all-inclusive packages of itinerary, transportation, accommodation, cuisine, entertainment, etc. There are a large number of Halong Bay cruise tours with various routes, schedules, attractions, conveniences, and activities for your choice.

If you are looking for ultimate enjoyment in Halong Bay, Ambassador Cruise will definitely make your dream vacation come true. This largest 5-star luxury cruise, which encompasses top-of-the-range amenities and services, will bring you an impeccable voyage. Tourists can make a choice between 2D1N or a day itinerary.

You are also recommended to take a cruise voyage on Christmas Eve or New Year to experience attractive festive promotions and events. You can check the cruises’ website or social media channels for details of special programs, which helps you choose a suitable travel schedule. Importantly, do not forget to make an early reservation to get a reasonable rate and ensure available accomodations.

Cave visiting

Cave exploration is a must-try activity when visiting Halong Bay. The Heritage is home to a variety of marvelous caves which definitely impress travellers at the first sight. Thanks to the formation of stalactites and stalagmites over thousands of years, Halong caves feature such unique exquisiteness and valuable archaeological systems. Learn more about the most famous and beautiful caves in Halong Bay that you cannot miss.

Visit caves in Halong Bay
Cave visiting is the top choice in your Halong Bay check-list

Titov Island discovery

Titov Island, located about 14 kilometers to the East of Bai Chay tourist harbor, is one of the most favored destinations in Halong Bay. The island was named after the Russian cosmonaut Gherman Stepanovich Titov who, together with President Ho Chi Minh, visited the island in 1962.

Despite a moderate area of 3.7 hectares, Titov Island attracts nature lovers thanks to its one-of-a-kind and picturesque splendor. It possesses a crescent moon-shaped beach featuring white sands and enchantingly turquoise waters. Another highlight of this landscape is a mountain with a summit height of 110 meters (360 ft). Visitors are expected to take about 450 steps to reach its peak beholding a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Bay. 

Thanks to the immaculate white sand and the calm waters, the beach on Titov Island is perfect for sunbathing and swimming. You can also go for a walk to enjoy the stunning nature and admire an alluring sunset by the island.

Since seawater in winter is cold due to the low temperature, swimming is not recommended during this period. However, for Western tourists who come from countries having an extremely cold winter, they can enjoy water-based activities.

Titov Island
Titov Island features a mesmerizingly magnificent beauty


Kayaking is one of the most fantastic things to do on your Halong Bay excursion. This is no doubt the best way to discover the beautiful charms of the New Natural Wonder’s nature at a close distance. Sit on a small kayak, paddle slowly through grand islets to explore cliffs beneath the waves, feel the calm water, wriggle into water caves, or touch stalactites. With specific instructions about how to paddle and guide on the safe area, you will take delight in fun and amazing experiences.

This activity is also suitable for excursions in winter because it helps warm up tourists’ bodies in cold weather. When taking part in Kayaking, you have to use a lot of energy to control the kayak. However, you should paddle at a slow speed to avoid water splashes that can make you feel chill.

Most of the Halong Bay cruises include Kayaking in their itineraries. There are several popular areas for this exciting sport such as Luon Cave, Sang Toi (Dark and Light) Cave, Dragon Eye Island, Vung Vieng Fishing Village, and Tung Sau Pearl Village.

Kayaking is a must-try experience in Halong Bay

Visiting Halong floating villages

Floating villages are among the top Halong Bay attractions for tourists’ fascinating and genuine experiences. Cua Van floating village is the largest and oldest one in the bay, encompassing rows of colorful houseboats and rafts sitting next to each other. Coming there, you have a chance to meet local people and learn more about their daily lives as well as work tasks. 

Another choice is Tung Sau Pearl Farm, where tourists can witness the entire production of a valuable pearl. From the growing location to processing natural pearls and finally creating sophisticated pieces of jewelry. You may find impressed with the local working life and admire the polished pearls cultivated by skillful artisans. There is also a souvenir store for you to buy your favorite items or gifts for your loved ones. It is an exciting activity for anyone visiting Halong Bay at a cheap entrance fee of 30.000 VND (~1.5 USD).

Floating village in Halong Bay
A rustic and tranquil floating village in Halong Bay

Night squid fishing

Night squid fishing is also an interesting thing to do in Halong Bay, included in many overnight cruise itineraries. This recreational option brings tourists experiences of being a true fisherman and a chance to try your luck. You can spend your night fishing, chatting with your friends/family, admiring the tranquil and sparkling beauty of the bay, and enjoying tasty dishes cooked from fresh squid that you just caught. The cruise staff will instruct you how to use a fishing rod and how to catch squid in the sea.

Squid fishing season in Halong Bay takes place in autumn and winter (August – January, especially between October and November). During this period, due to low rainfall, the sea level decreases dramatically, enabling you to easily access the squid’s habitat. 

Night squid fishing
Winter is an ideal time for squid fishing in Halong Bay

Pros & cons of visiting Halong Bay in winter



Useful tips for Halong Bay travel in winter

In conclusion, Halong Bay weather in winter features a cold and dry climate with mild sunlight and low rainfall (sometimes drizzle may happen). Although this season is not a great choice for swimming and diving, you are able to take delight in various sightseeing and onboard recreational activities. What about celebrating a sparkling and shining festive season in the heart of the World Heritage Site? An array of exceptional attractions in Halong Bay awaits your discovery and enjoyment.

Halong Bay nature in winter
Halong Bay in winter appears like a mystical “ink-wash painting”

FAQs about Halong Bay weather in winter

Is winter the high tourist season in Halong Bay?

Winter is not the peak season of domestic tourism, therefore there are not crowds at attractions in the bay during this period. However, public holidays including Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Lunar New Year may see an increase in the number of tourists. You should make an early booking to avoid sell-outs and other unexpected disappointments.

Can I swim in Halong Bay in winter?

Actually swimming or diving is not recommended in winter due to the cold weather and low sea temperature that may affect your health. However, for Western tourists who come from countries having an extremely cold winter, they get used to cold water and can enjoy water-based activities.

Does it rain in Halong Bay during winter?

Winter is the driest season of the year with the average rainfall of 12-22mm. For several days, there may be drizzles due to the influences of Northeastern monsoons. You had better check the weather forecast in advance and prepare a raincoat or umbrella to protect your body from rain.

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