Halong Bay is a rare masterpiece bestowed upon Vietnam by nature. If you have ever seen pictures of Halong Bay somewhere, when you arrive, witnessing its majestic beauty with your own eyes, you will still exclaim in amazement. The image of thousands of age-old mountains rising from the sea’s surface, formed over millions of years, has created an indelible mark on the undying charm of Halong Bay. Join us in exploring Halong Bay and discovering its must-visit places and intriguing information.
Overview of Halong Bay
Halong Bay is located in Quang Ninh Province, a relatively developed province in terms of socio-economic aspects in northern Vietnam. It lies 165 km away from the capital city Hanoi, with a well-connected highway system that facilitates convenient travel between provinces.
Halong Bay covers an area of 1,553 km2, consisting of 1,969 islets (of which 980 islets are named). Halong Bay has been honored multiple times by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage site.
Upon arriving in Halong, you will be overwhelmed by the magnificence of thousands of mountains, ranging in size from small to large, emerging from the sea. Among them, the most famous are the islands: Tuan Chau Island, Ti Top Island, Bo Hon Island, Soi Sim Island, and the beautiful caves: Virgin Cave, Surprise Cave, Dark Cave, Luon Cave, and Three Palace Cave.
Best time to visit Halong Bay
The periods from October to December and from March to May are the best times for a trip to Ha Long. The dry climate and pleasant temperatures will help you enjoy all the fun activities, relaxation, and sightseeing.
The average annual temperature is 23.7 degrees Celsius. Winter usually starts from November to February of the following year, with an average temperature of 16.7 degrees Celsius; the coldest temperature is 5 degrees Celsius. Summer occurs from May to October, with an average temperature of about 28.6 degrees Celsius; the hottest temperature can reach up to 38 degrees Celsius.
How to Explore Halong Bay
There are 3 ways for you to fully explore Halong Bay.
Buying Cruise Tickets to Visit Halong Bay
At the ports in Halong Bay or at your hotel, you can also purchase day tour tickets for visiting Halong Bay. The tour typically lasts around 4 – 6 hours. The cruise will take you to various points of interest in Halong Bay before returning to the port. Onboard, you will be served with drinks and light snacks.
Booking an Overnight Cruise on Halong Bay
This is a choice favored by many international tourists. You will spend 2 or 3 days (depending on your chosen itinerary) on a cruise ship with 3 to 5-star quality. The ship will have modern bedrooms and facilities, along with premium services.
Exploring Halong Bay by Seaplane
With this option, you’ll get to admire the entirety of Halong Bay from above, capturing its beauty in one breathtaking view. There are 2 choices for touring Halong Bay by Seaplane:
- Option 1: You fly from Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi directly to Halong Bay with the seaplane.
- Option 2: You arrive in Halong Bay and rent a seaplane service to explore the bay.
Transportation to Halong Bay
To reach Halong Bay, you need to travel by car from Hanoi. The highway is quite beautiful, so it will take you about 2 hours to get there. If you are far from Hanoi, you can take a flight to Noi Bai Airport and then continue your journey by car to Halong Bay.
Read more: Top 8 Museums in Hanoi You Should Visit
Best Attractions in Halong bay
Sung sot cave
Sung Sot Cave is located in the heart of Ha Long Bay, about 8 km from Tuan Chau pier – which is likened to the center of the world natural heritage Ha Long Bay. Most of the schedules of overnight cruises pass through this cave.
Luon Cave is one of the ideal sites for kayaking in Halong Bay (you can choose to take a bamboo boat – with locals rowing). With a length of about 100 meters, the journey through this cave will give each visitor an interesting feeling because of the beautiful natural stalactites hanging down from the ceiling of the cave.
Located about 8 km southeast of Tuan Chau wharf, it takes you 2 hours on the cruise to arrive at titop island. This is an ideal place for every visitor to immerse themselves in the clear blue water and natural scenery of Ha Long. Besides that, if your hobby is photography, Titop Island is a must-see. After passing about 400 stone steps you will come to the top of Titop Island. Most of the beautiful photos of Halong are all taken from here. With a 360-degree view, you can fully enjoy the panoramic view of Halong Bay from many different angles.
Thien Cung cave
This cave is considered as one of the most beautiful ones of Ha Long Bay. The nearly 10,000 square meter cave has a very complex structure. In particular, you will be amazed by the stalactites and stalagmites with strange shapes when entering Thien Cung cave.
Bai Tho Mountain (Poem Mountain)
Bai Tho Mountain is a limestone mountain located in the center of Halong Bay. Many poems by King Le Thanh Tong and Trinh Cuong are still preserved on the mountain, all inspired by the romantic beauty of Halong Bay. This is why the mountain is named Bai Tho Mountain. It’s an ideal tourist destination in Halong, where you can fully admire the beauty of Halong Bay.
Trong Cave and Trinh nu Cave (Virgin Cave)
Trong Cave and Virgin Cave are two caves located opposite each other on Bo Hon Island in Halong Bay, about 3km away from Surprise Cave. Here, besides admiring the beauty of the caves and the captivating stalactites, you will also be told a romantic love story symbolized by these two caves.
Dau Go Cave
Dau Go Cave covers an area of about 5,000m2, with an entrance that is 12 meters wide and 17 meters high. The cave’s vault reaches a height of 25 meters, and it is situated 27 meters above sea level. Inside the cave, there is a spacious area divided into three sections. The first section receives the most natural light, showcasing various differently sized and colored stalactites. As you go deeper into the cave, the natural light fades, creating an enchanting, surreal atmosphere. This cave can be considered one of the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay and is a must-visit.
Kim Quy Cave
Kim Quy Cave is located in a mountain with a height of 187m. The cave is about 100m long and 5-10m wide. Inside the cave, there are numerous captivating stalactites. Kim Quy Cave is associated with an intriguing legend about a golden turtle that helped King Thuy Te eliminate monsters. To this day, the cave still houses a stone resembling a sleeping turtle.
Con Coc Islet (Toad Islet)
Toad Islet is one of the uniquely shaped islets (resembling a toad) in Halong Bay, with a height of about 9m. It’s considered a stunning masterpiece gifted by nature to Halong. Located around 18km from Tuan Chau Harbor and about 12km from Bai Chay Harbor to the southeast, Toad Islet is a popular attraction for both domestic and international tourists visiting Halong Bay.
Trong Mai Islet
Trong Mai Islet is an iconic symbol of Halong tourism, situated about 5 km from Bai Chay Tourist Port. Trong Mai Islet consists of two small mountains nestled side by side with a unique shape. Each mountain is just over 10m tall. The base of the mountains is relatively small and looks precarious, giving the impression that a few strong waves could cause the massive rocks to collapse at any moment. However, for millions of years, these two mountains have remained steadfast.
Cua Van fishing village
This place preserves the unique traditional culture in the ancient floating raft houses and bamboo stands in front of the houses. Visiting the Fishing Village, you will be directly guided by the local fishermen, showing you how to row a boat, cast a net, cash shrimp, fish and listen to stories as well as witness the idyllic life in the fishing village.
Activities in Halong bay
When visiting Halong Bay, you can participate in many interesting activities such as: Climbing, visiting caves, swimming, Yoga, kayaking…
Kayaking in Halong bay
Kayaking to explore Ha Long Bay is one of the most interesting experiences for tourists. Almost overnight cruises on Halong Bay will include this activity in their itinerary.
The mountains here are not too high, you can completely conquer the top of the mountain easily. In return, you can enjoy the full view of Halong Bay and take great photos from the top of the mountain.
Halong Bay has many caves with enchanting and mysterious beauty. You will admire the pristine stalactite caves formed tens of millions of years ago.
Swimming is a wonderful activity during a family vacation. Beautiful beaches like Titop or Soi Sim Beach have clear blue waters and white sands. Don’t miss out on this activity when you explore Halong Bay.
Cuisine of Halong Bay
Ha Long squid cake
Being a specialty and the most famous dish in Halong, squid cake has a golden appearance and a delicious aroma after being fried. This dish is a blend of various ingredients, with the main component being the meat of squids caught in Halong Bay.
Some Good Overnight Cruise Ships in Halong Bay
There are numerous overnight cruise ships operating in Halong Bay, ranging from 3 to 5 stars with prices varying from a few tens to a few hundred USD. Here are some 4 to 5-star cruise ships that could be good options for you.
- Amanda Halong Cruise
- La Pandora Cruises
- Elite of the Seas
- M’Gloria Cruise
- Le Journey Halong Bay Cruises
Tips for Visiting Halong Bay
- If you visit Halong Bay during the summer, you should prepare sunscreen, sunglasses, and swimwear.
- If you come here in the winter, it’s advisable to bring warm clothing as Halong Bay can get quite cold, and there might be strong winds at times.
- Carry a camera with good zoom capability to capture distant shots.
- Bring a power bank to ensure your devices don’t run out of battery.
- When kayaking or traveling on high-speed boats, wear a life jacket for safety.
- Adhere to regulations in the visiting areas to ensure your safety.
- When swimming in the sea, it’s recommended to go in a group and swim in crowded areas to minimize risks.
Halong Bay is a unique travel destination, a masterpiece of nature unlike anywhere else in the world. Therefore, if you’re visiting Vietnam, it would be a pity to miss the opportunity to explore Halong Bay. We hope the information we’ve provided will help you understand more about Halong Bay, the places to visit, and the enjoyable activities here. If you have questions or want to book a tour to explore Halong Bay, please contact our travel consultant for more details.