Halong Bay is one of the most famous places in Vietnam and consists of a series of impressive limestone islands that are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are around 2000 islands in Halong Bay and many of them are with beautiful lush vegetation, making them ideal for walking. Many of the islands are also the home of caves. The best way to explore Halong Bay is by cruise.

5 reasons to visit Halong Bay

  1. Take a fantastic cruise through the beautiful landscape.
  2. Do an adventurous activity such as kayaking or rock climbing.
  3. View the local life in the floating villages.
  4. Explore different islands with viewpoints and caves.
  5. Be romantic with a luxury cruise, spa and dining in a cave

Practical information

In short

Region

Quang Ninh, North Vietnam

Recommended travel days

2 days

Vietnamese name

Vịnh Hạ Long

Best travel time

  • The best travel time for Halong Bay is spring (March, April) and fall (September, October). The weather is cool and you enjoy the best time of the year.
  • The summer time lasts from May to early September, when the bay is sunny and warm to swim under a clear blue sky. In some days there will be light rain and even an unexpected typhoon that could cancel your cruise.
  • The winter in Halong Bay lasts from November to March, leading to cold weather, especially in January and February; not ideal for swimming. The foggy days and the strong monsoon are also present during this period.

What to see and do in Halong Bay

Best things to do

The thousands of islands and floating villages already make an unforgettable experience, but there is more to see and do at Halong Bay. Most of these sights are included with the cruise that you book. Therefore, pay attention to which cruise you book. Below you can read the best things to do at Halong Bay.

1. Cruise through Halong Bay
A cruise through Halong Bay is the most popular thing to do. There many cruise boats; from small budget options to luxury passenger ships. With activities such as cooking classes, kayaking and cave visits, a cruise is the best way to see the sights in Halong Bay.

2. Sightseeing flight over the bay
Although it is quite expensive, a seaplane flight over Halong Bay is one of the most exciting activities you can do, with the best panoramic views of the bay.

3. Kayaking
One of the best things to do in Halong Bay is to explore in your own kayak. With a kayak you can often go to hidden places where you can never go by boat. Most cruise boat trips have this included.

4. Floating villages
The floating villages are one of the top sights in Halong Bay and one of the highlights of a boat trip. Local residents have been living in these floating houses for generations, because fishing is still the main income of the villagers.

5. Relax on beaches
There are several beautiful islands scattered in Ha Long Bay, most islands are uninhabited and some also have beaches. A few cruise boats also organize a BBQ on the beach.

6. Explore Cat Ba
The largest island of Halong Bay is Cat Ba Island, a paradise for nature lovers and active travelers. The majority of the island consists of the Cat Ba National Park and so a large part of the wildlife here falls under the protection of the park.

7. Visit Lan Ha Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay
Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay are both similar to Halong Bay, only slightly smaller. The best of these locations is that it is much less frequented by cruise boats.

8. Caves
Among the thousands of jungle-covered mountain peaks that rise from the water of Halong Bay are a number of hidden caves. You can also visit a number of caves.

9. Nice viewpoints
To get a good view of ​​Halong Bay you have to go higher. There are a number of viewpoints in Halong Bay where you have a great view. The best known are Titop Island and Bai Tho.

10. Rock climbing
The bay is also one of the most majestic climbing areas in the world. It is a paradise for adventurous rock climbers.

Most popular activities in Halong Bay

Favorited experiences, day trips and tours in Halong Bay booked by fellow travellers.

Accommodation in Halong Bay

Where to stay

Stay overnight on a cruise – The cruise is the most popular method that travelers choose to spend the night in Halong Bay. There are two types of cruises, a luxury cruise and a normal cruise. Depending on your budget during the trip, you can choose a suitable option.

Staying in Halong City – Ha Long City actually consists of two cities, Bai Chay and Hon Gai, which are connected by a bridge. The first is the tourist district of Ha Long City, while the second is more of a local scene. Bai Chay is full of hotels and has the pier where the tour boats depart from Halong Bay.

Stay on Cat Ba – If you want to stay on the island of Cat Ba, find accommodation in Cat Ba Town. This is by far the best region. There are plenty of freshly caught seafood restaurants, pier access, scooter rentals and close to things to do such as Cat Ba National Park and Halong Bay cruises.

Best cruises in Halong Bay

Transportation

How to get there?

Cruise package

Almost all Halong Bay cruises include transportation to and from Hanoi.

Bus

There is a bus from Hanoi to the Halong City, 160 km away and takes about three and a half hours. Buses leave from My Dinh, Gia Lam and Luong Yen bus station and the ride costs between $ 5 and $ 10. Most buses stop at a terminal near the Bai Chay bridge.

Booking a mini bus with pick up or a private car is the most comfortable way to reach Halong Bay

Plane

There is a sea plane flying from Hanoi to Tuan Chau Island in Halong Bay, close to Halong City.

Itinerary 2 days Halong Bay

Day 1

  • Transportation from Hanoi to Halong Bay
  • Board your cruise and enjoy the views
  • Explore by kayak
  • Swimming
  • Watch sunset

Day 2

  • Visit a cave
  • Cooking class
  • Transportation back to Hanoi