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Best Things to do in Ha Long


Halong Bay is one of the most famous spots in Vietnam and consists of a series of amazing limestone islands which are also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are some 2,000 islands located in Halong Bay and you will find many of them uninhabited and covered in gorgeous lush vegetation, making them perfect for hiking. If you like walking then you can also enjoy the craggy bluffs that cover the islands of Halong Bay, and you can also explore and discover isolated bays and dainty inlets.


Many of the islands are also home to famous caves where you can go spelunking and although Halong Bay can get quite busy during the high season, there are still some secluded spots to uncover if you are willing to island hop. If you prefer to stay in the thick of things, then you can enjoy seafood barbecues, sea kayaking and a whole host of attractions in the main towns such as forts and other monuments.


Here are the best things to do in Halong Bay:

1. Take a cruise

Halong Bay Cruise

If you truly want to see all the beauty of Halong Bay then you need to take to the water and sign up for a boat cruise.

There are a huge number of companies to choose from and you can go island hopping in Halong Bay.

With some 2,000 islands to choose from, you will have lots of different options about where you want to go and what you want to see, from the main ‘big hits’ to less well known and smaller islands.

Many of the boats used are built in the traditional style and are known as ‘junk boats’. Depending on the tour operator you can also enjoy a buffet meal as part of the cruise or even stay on the boat overnight for a truly memorable cruising experience.

2. Make a Whistle-Stop at Cat Ba Island

This is the biggest island in Halong and is home to a menageries of bars, cafes, hotels, and restaurants. Almost all tour companies in Hanoi offer daily trips to Cat Ba, drawing throngs of tourists who want to enjoy a day of sightseeing during their trip. Its beaches are perfect for swimming and sunbathing during the summer months. If you don’t want to be with lots of people on the beach, you can rent a kayak or a speedboat and head to Lan Ha Bay, where the beaches are more secluded and therefor quieter.


The Jurassic Park-like feel of the surroundings creates a sense of exploration not usually experienced in other parts of Vietnam. Not surprisingly, Cat Ba provided some of the most amazing scenes in the blockbuster Kong: Skull Island. Another one of the things to do in Halong Bay, especially in Cat Ba, is to grab a rental bike, explore some of the scenic spots and get some home-cooked lunch in one of the ethnic villages.

3. Discover Hidden Grottos And Caves

Among thousands of jungle-covered peaks dramatically rising out of the emerald water of Halong Bay, there are a few illuminated caves, picturesque hidden coves, isolated grottos of all sizes and shapes. Tourists could hire a row boat before venturing out to explore those hidden gems, like Thien Cung (Thiên Cung) Cave, known as Heavenly Palace Cave, which is well-known for its stalagmites and stalactites, and Dau Go Cave (Hang Đầu Gỗ), which is known as the Cave of Wonders.

4. EDining In The Cave

Coming to Halong Bay, tourists should not miss an interesting activity like dining in a certain cave. A few cruises offer this service on their trips and the members of crews will prepare a delicious and delightful diner in the cave. Some cruises add this activity as one of their included activities while others make it optional activity.

Really, after a day of kayaking, swimming or joining in other activities, there is nothing more relaxing than having a diner in such a quiet, romantic and a little mysterious cave. Most tourists make use of this dinner for their special occasions such as a romantic anniversary, birthday party, conference group or even a small wedding with no more 60 guests. These dinning services have both fresh Halong Bay seafood and Eastern and Western cuisine for those people who would like a change from what they have enjoyed in Halong.

Believe me, give this activity a try and it will be one of the best dinners that you have ever had. This trip to Halong Bay also stays as an ideal journey in your own memory.

5. Scuba Diving

Source: divivuvn

Not only is Halong Bay a spectacular destination for sightseeing in Vietnam, but also is an ideal place for adventurous sports. Tourists coming to this landscape can enjoy not only the boat trip but also scuba diving. Scuba diving has been opened in Halong Bay recently, making it one of interesting things to do in Halong Bay, particularly for those underwater lovers. The most suitable period for scuba diving in this bay is from April to December. The water temperature during this time is about 26-29 degrees.


Travelers could also explore hidden beauty of the underwater world with thousands of fish and splendid coral such as Clark’s anemone fish and sergeant major fish. The underwater world will definitely make you feel small, novel and peaceful as you have just coming back inside the arms of your mom. Hire well-trained, internationally-licensed scuba diver or trainer to warrant for your safety while scuba diving (if you are not an experienced scuba diver). When snorkeling underwater in Halong Bay, you will be supplied with helpful equipment like fins, mask, snorkel, cylinder, compass, exposure suite, regulator… These facilities are checked regularly and adapt the safety standard. Thus, it is not necessary to worry about your own safety whilst scuba diving.

6. See the whole Halong Bay from helicopter/seaplane

As one of the top things to do when you’re in Halong Bay, a view from helicopter/seaplane is truly a wonderful way to marvel at the beauty and grandeur of the bay. There are two convenient options for tourists to consider: By helicopter and by seaplane. 

In fact, traveling to the bay by helicopter is quite expensive. In general, it can cost about over $7.000 by MI-17 (about 24 people) and $13.000 by EC- 155 (about 12 people). But, the cost is often fixed, no matter how many people take part in. For that reason, it is a good idea to travel in a large team. The more guests, the lower the charges.

On the other hand, the second option is more favored by tourists since it can help them fully marvel at the bay from the above at affordable costs. Generally, it takes about 25 minute to witness all the highlights here, from the striking landscape of limestone pillars to appealing islands. What additionally makes people love a seaplane tour at the first sight is its seasonable prices. They just pay about $99 for each flight that is very cheap, in comparison with a helicopter tour.

7. Go squid fishing at night

Squid fishing is indeed an engaging activity to spend your free time on the cruise after having a dinner. But, this activity is just done, depending on the weather. Typically, months from August to December is considered the best time for squid fishing since this is when you can luckily catch the big squid.
Once the darkness totally covers the bay, you will be welcomed to the side of boats to engage in this activity. Fishing rods and racquets are essential tools that you can get after that. Then, a local fisherman will guide you how to fish a squid in the sea. Lucky or seasoned guests may catch more than 15 squids per night. And these squids will be used to cook dishes for them.

8. Go kayaking around the bay’s islands

The serene water and exquisite islands of the bay make it totally perfect for going kayaking. This activity is done by many travelers once they spend a cruise here. For them, it is a wonderful opportunity to discover the Halong’s beauty and essence by themselves. If you are not expert at kayaking, there is no need to worry. The reason is that the junk’s crew is willing to provide you with detailed instructions.

Kayaking among hundreds of islands here is really enthralling. Watching the limestone forms from a junk boat does not give a deep experience. So, let’s sit in a kayak and gaze up at their high peaks.

9. Riding A Bicycle Around

Cycling is the best way for you to both explore the surroundings and do physical exercise.

Cycling around Halong Bay

Cycling is an outboard activity which is normally included in a 3-day and 2-night itinerary. The most popular area to organize cycling is the “isolated oasis” Viet Hai Village, located approximately 18 kilometers from Cat Ba Island and belonging to the core of Cat Ba National Park. Surrounded by high mountains, thick jungles, and vast ocean, Viet Hai is absolutely separated from the outside world. Cycling in the village, travelers will have a great opportunity to enjoy the truly airy ambiance, visit old houses, take pictures of forest trees, and admire natural scenery.

10. Climb Mountain

Source: adventurelink

The last but not less interesting one in this list of things to do in Halong Bay is climbing mountain. In fact, Halong Bay is reckoned as among the most majestic climbing regions of the world. It is estimated that there are more than 3000 limestone islands in Halong Bay area. This area has a few sport climbing routes and has much potential for additional development.


Many professional climbers visiting to Halong Bay area admit that this is the paradise of adventurous mountain climbing because it owns countless islands with high lime-stone mountains. Travelers could see a lot of beautiful limestone faces. In order to enjoy this spectacular archipelago of karsts, you could give yourself a chance of climbing the Rock Mountain. If you have not ever climbed Rock Mountain before, have a professional guide to give you some base skills and notes during the process of climbing.


From the high mountain, you can observe totally Halong Bay overview. Enjoy Vietnam in a unique way by getting much high over the blue water in Halong Bay. Does this sound great?
The above are 20 out of most recommended interesting and fun things to do in Halong Bay. In addition to exploring the natural beauty of this Natural Wonder of the world, you could also join in some outdoor activities; enjoy relaxing moments when visiting around the Bay. Last but not least, Halong Bay itself is a legendary with breathtaking, magnificent scenery that every tourist will feel and experience in their own way.

11. BBQ On The Beach

Source: baoquocte

This should be one of your gastronomic things to do in Halong Bay. Trust me! There is no doubt that having BBQ on one of beaches of Halong Bay will bring to you a unique experience that you hardly have anywhere else. With various fresh meat and seafood dishes, like roasted chicken, baked king prawns, grilled beef rump, etc, it is very promising for tourists to have an exceptional and tasty meal in the bay of islands. Just imagine, in the light of the dawn, you and your loved ones feast on a delicious BBQ meal and sip perfect cups of cocktail or wine, surrounded by green islets, white sands, and the blue sea. This is difficult to resist, right?

12. Ride the World’s Highest Cable Car

Photo by @march.rain

Budding landscape photographers head to the Sunworld Amusement Park in their droves. It offers one of the best all-embracing views of the UNESCO Site. The big attraction is the Queen’s Cable Car from which panoramic views abound. It actually holds a couple of Guinness World Records: the biggest reversible aerial tramway capable of carrying up to 230 passengers, and the highest cable car at a height of 188.88 meters. It’s no surprise tourists have coined the Sunworld Amusement park as one of the top things to do in Halong Bay. Not only is it a comfortable ride but it is very affordable too at 300k for adults and 200k for children (under 1.3m).

13. Visit a Floating Village

The floating villages have existed for hundreds of years. By far one of the most famous is Cua Van. Originally set up as a place for fishermen to sell their catch upon their return from the sea, the floating villages eventually became the home of Halong’s indigenous people.

Cua Van floating village is the most well known as well as the biggest village among all

Recently, the government directed the residents to move inland in an effort to improve their standard of living and the children’s access to education, as well as to protect the fragility of Halong’s marine environment that was beginning to suffer from the fish trade. The floating villages are now preserved, a museum of sorts, for tourists to come and learn about the people and their way of life. Visiting the floating villages is one of the most educational- as well as inspiring- things to do in Halong. Truly live like a local for the day and learn about their way of life.

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