Things To Do In Halong Bay – Top 15 Suggestions
Halong Bay, UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage, is one of the most well-known and attractive destinations in Vietnam. Thanks to a diversity of naturally gifted landscapes, from islets, islands, and beaches to limestone caves, travellers can discover the bay in different wonderful experiences. This article will highlight 15 best things to do in Halong Bay that you can add to your bucket list for a remarkable trip.
Things to do in Halong Bay Cruise
Take a Halong Bay 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, 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.
- Duration: 1 day, 2 days 1 night, 3 days 2 nights
- Cruise route: Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay
- Budget: luxury, mid-range, standard
- Types of boat: modern style (steel ship), wooden junk, or small boat
In addition, tourists can decide on their favorite cruise based on the highlights of each one such as family cabins, vegetarian menu, Halal food certificate, Michelin-starred dining, Jacuzzi/swimming pool, Spa service, etc.
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 2D1N voyage.
Enjoy Sundown Party on the Sundeck
What a greater way to admire the glorious and breathtaking sunset in the bay than sitting back for Afternoon Tea and savoring delicious canapes or sweet delights with a cup of tea. Besides, luxury cruises also include an amusing Sundown Pool Party, where you can indulge in upbeat music and immerse yourself in the refreshing water while sipping some chilling cocktails. The good news is that many ships offer the “Happy Hours” promotion which allows you to enjoy “Buy-1-Get-1 Free” for drinks during the sunset party.
Get a Squid Fishing experience
Night squid fishing is also an interesting thing to do in Halong Bay, included in many overnight cruises’ 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.
Join a Vietnamese cooking class
This is a popular activity that can be found on the majority of Halong Bay cruises. You have a chance to learn how to make the most basic traditional Vietnamese specialties, namely spring rolls, and prepare the dish by yourself. Such interesting experiences are especially favored by foreign travellers who love Vietnamese cuisine.
Halong Bay Sightseeing
Explore majestic caves in Halong Bay
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. Here are the most famous and beautiful caves in Halong Bay that you cannot miss:
- Sung Sot (Surprising) Cave: The largest cave in Halong Bay (10,000 square meters, 200 meters long, and about 80 meters wide). A special highlight of this cave is that although the entrance looks quite small, the deeper you go, the bigger areas.
- Thien Cung Cave: The most interesting and legend-filled cave with three large chambers and a complex interior structure offering in-depth adventures.
- Dau Go (Wooden Stakes) Grotto: The marvelous cave brings tourists the feeling of an ancient and pristine beauty thanks to stone pillars, small and high stalagmites, and a rich flora and fauna system.
- Luon Cave: The cave looks like a circular iron bow with a blue lake in the middle. You can discover this cave by a bamboo boat or kayak and marvel at sparkling and eye-catching stalactites.
- Me Cung (Maze) Cave: The highlight of Me Cung Cave is big stone pillars formed by the development of thousand-year-old stalactites and stalagmites. When exploring the cave, you will have a chance to see and even touch fossilized freshwater animal bones on the wall of the cave.
Discover Titov Island
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.
Because of the immaculate white sand and the calm waters, the beach on Titov Island is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports. You can also go for a walk to enjoy the stunning nature and admire an alluring sunset by the island.
Visit 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).
Take a Halong Bay seaplane tour
There is no better way to behold the natural magnificence than from the height of 300 meters on the seaplane. Flying over the stunning karst formations and emerald water, you will treat your eyes to a 360-degree majestic view of Halong Bay. In addition to scenic flights, you can book a scheduled flight between Hanoi and Halong for the fastest and most convenient transfer.
Hai Au Aviation is the exclusive provider of Halong Bay seaplane tours with the price of a scenic flight of 95 USD/person while a round-trip between Hanoi and Halong costs at least 400 USD/person. You can book this service through Hai Au Aviation or travel agents. Despite such a high expense, many travellers desire to experience the one-of-a-kind Halong seaplane tour at least once to enjoy the Heritage beauty to the fullest.
Water-based activities in Halong Bay
Halong Bay is blessed with a calm sea and splendid beaches surrounded by limestone islands, which are ideal to sit back on the white sand, enjoy the refreshing atmosphere, and indulge in crystal-clear water. The top highlight is Titov Island, followed by Soi Sim beach – well-known for its emerald waters, verdant foliage, and the ultimate display of flora and fauna. Some other recommended beaches you can try include Quan Lan, Ngoc Vung, Ba Trai Dao, and Tuan Chau Beach. However, please note that beaches in Halong Bay may sometimes be overcrowded, especially during peak tourist season.
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.
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. The best time you can go Kayaking is from March to June and October to December due to pleasant weather without storms and heavy rains.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are both the greatest ways to enjoy the ultimate peace and explore the stupendous marine life in Halong Bay. Some ideal places for these spectacular water-based activities include Cong Do Island and Vung Ha Island. The lesser-known spots feature a pristine beauty and tranquil atmosphere as well as a high diversity of flora and fauna in the sea (plankton, marine fish, coral, underwater vegetation, etc.). What a greater way to refresh yourself in a hot summer than indulging in the incredible ocean, walking along impressive coral reefs, or dancing with colorful fish. Tourists are suggested to scuba dive or snorkel from May to September (except for late July and August due to the rainy season). You can check detailed information on Halong Bay weather in advance with online weather forecast platforms or travel agents/cruise operators.
Things to do in Halong Bay other than cruise
Encompassing over 1,600 limestone karst islands featuring steep walls emerging directly from the sea surface, Halong Bay is one of the best rock climbing destinations. There are well-bolted crags in the bay that are perfect for this adventurous activity: Butterfly Valley, Hidden Valley. It is thrilling but exciting to behold a magnificent overview of the bay from the height. There is also a chance for experienced climbers to deep water solo in some areas in Cat Ba Island and Lan Ha Bay.
You can find some operators arranging rock climbing tours on Cat Ba Island. They will guide base skills and notices during the climbing time, and provide you with safe and comfortable certified UIAA harnesses, shoes, and helmets. Even if you are a beginner, the instructive guide will help you to conquer the rocks.
BBQ Party on the beach
Halong Bay is naturally gifted with a wide range of seafood and calm beaches, which cannot be better for a beach barbeque with baked king prawns, squid, crab, lobster, etc. There are various choices of beach BBQ in Halong, from restaurants along the coast to an overnight cruise itinerary.
Nothing is more delightful than savoring delicious and fresh local seafood whilst admiring the glorious sunset in the bay or immersing yourself in the mysterious scenery at a starry night. A BBQ party on the beach is not only suitable for groups of family/friends but also a perfect suggestion for romantic couple dates.
Discovery of Halong on land
If Halong Bay features a serene and pristine exquisiteness, Halong City can be described as vibrant and dynamic with an array of exciting entertaiment choices. Enjoy seafood at local restaurants, taste Halong’s specialties or street food, indulge in nightlife activities, visit night markets, shop for hand-made souvenirs, etc. All make them the best things to do in Halong.
Fun experiences at Sun World Halong Park
Sun World Halong Park is one of the largest amusement complexes in Vietnam encompassing various exciting games and activities. The park can be visited all year but May to September is the most ideal time. If you go to Halong Bay with kids, spend some time experiencing this fun option.
The park is located in the city center, a short walk from the Bai Chay area. It consists of two main areas: The Coastal Amusement Park and Amusement Park on Ba Deo Hill, connected together with a unique cabe car system. You can select among multiple water-based activities and thrilling games such as Mystery Journey, Cyclone Dance, or Reptile Army. The ticket prices range from 750.000 – VND 550.000/full combo/adult or child above 1.3m and child below 1.3m respectively.
Best time to visit Halong Bay
Autumn (September – October) and Spring (February – April) are the most perfect times for a Halong Bay excursion. The pleasant weather of these seasons enables your absolute enjoyment of outdoor activities, especially water-based ones. For those who prefer the heat, sunshine, and swimming/diving, summer is ideal, but you should consider the storm period between July and August. Do not forget to check the weather forecast to avoid unexpected weather.
- For cruising: February, March, April, September, and October
- For sightseeing trips: all year (except late July and August)
- For water-based activities: April, May, June, September, and October
Learn more about Halong Bay weather and the best things to do in each season.
After all, Halong Bay is truly a wonderland of incredible charms and unique experiences that you cannot find anywhere else. Visiting the Heritage Site, you will never feel bored because of various fascinating activities. Cruising, sightseeing, water-based options, or city exploration, no matter what you love and choose, your trip will always be filled with much joy and excitement. Our list of 15 things to do in Halong Bay is expected to help you find the most suitable ones for your unforgettable time.