Overview

Halong Bay, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of numerous magnificent limestone islands. It is estimated that over 2,000 islands and islets with most of which are uninhabited and have gorgeous, lush vegetation can be found in Halong Bay. Additionally, there are a lot of well-known caverns for visitors to explore around some of the bay’s islands. Several unique activities are available here for you to partake in.

Let’s see below the top 25 things to do while visiting Halong Bay.

Top-Rated Things to Do in Halong Bay

Halong Bay is home to thousands of limestone caverns and several floating villages. In addition, there are many uninhabited islands where you may go hiking and numerous pristine spots for kayaking and swimming. You can sample a variety of foods and beverages here as well.

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Things to Do in Halong Bay on Cruise

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Sleep on a boat

  • Where to do: 2-day or 3-day cruise to Halong, Lan Ha Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay

First, one of the best things to do in Halong Bay is to take a cruise to admire the beauty of the bay up close and in a more unique way. With a natural complex of around 2,000 islands and islets, the bay is best explored via waterways by a 3-day, 2-night, or 2-day, 1-night cruise, to visit popular or less-touristy destinations. Furthermore, since the cruise includes transportation, activities, meals, lodging, and other amenities, you don’t have to worry about where to go or what to do.

There are numerous options for overnight Halong Bay cruises, categorized by:

  • Duration: A day trip or overnight cruise (in 1 day or 2 days)
  • Budget: Budget cruise, mid-range cruise or luxury cruise
  • Destination: Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay or Cat Ba Island
  • Boat types: modern style, wooden boat or small boat
  • Types of vacation: family, honeymoon or private trip
  • In addition, you can choose from the highlights of each cruise, such as large cabins, kid-friendly cruises, jacuzzi/swimming pools…

If you are a newbie to cruising in Ha Long, please read more this post: Tips for choosing the Best Halong Bay Cruises may be of use.

Do Taichi on Cruise

The ideal way to start your day in Halong Bay is to do Tai Chi on the deck in the early morning. Most Halong Bay cruises offer early-morning Tai Chi sessions as part of their itinerary.

This is also an exciting activity that many visitors eagerly anticipate on every Halong Bay cruise. A Tai Chi class will be held with the committed instruction of a professional, so get up early to take in the fresh air at dawn.

Take a Vietnamese cooking class

The on-board cooking class is appropriate for all ages and helps visitors understand the significance of cuisine in Vietnamese culture more intuitively and deeply. It is offered on the itinerary of all overnight cruises for tourists to experience.

Tourists can learn about Vietnamese food through this entertaining and practical activity, which is appropriate for all ages.

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Cooking Class on Cruise

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Taichi on Cruise

Join the Sunset Party on Sun Deck

When visiting Halong Bay, you shouldn’t forget to catch the sunset and sunrise. It goes without saying that the sunset from the cruise is far more stunning. At sunset, you might decide to relax and take in the stunning surroundings while having a cup of tea. Or you can choose to participate in the enjoyable sunset party on the sundeck.

Night Squid Fishing

Sleeplessness in Halong Bay? Then consider squid fishing at night. Although it may be one of the lesser-known Halong Bay activities, everyone who participates in it will find it to be a lot of fun. You will be provided fishing gears such as a fishing rod and racquet to engage in this exciting activity. On the peak season of squid, you may find large schools of squids around the cruises. Then the squids you catch can be used to make delicious meals. Additionally, tourists can enjoy beautiful Halong Bay at night when the lights from nearby anchored cruises reflect brilliantly into the water.

Experience Massage and Spa Services on the cruise

During the trip, passengers on Halong Cruise are encouraged to take advantage of spa treatments because this service will allow you to unwind in a way that is unlike anything else you have ever experienced at a spa.

Visitors will get a rare opportunity to visit Halong and enjoy absolute peace and relaxation both physically and mentally. The onboard staff of the cruise will offer traditional Vietnamese massage and spa treatments here, bringing a healing and tranquil experience in harmony with the poetic beauty of Halong Bay.

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Sunset Party on Cruise

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Night Squid Fishing

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Massage & Spa on Cruise

Halong Bay Sightseeing

Discover Hidden Grottos and Caves

There are numerous breathtakingly gorgeous caverns in Ha Long Bay, all of which are definitely worth visiting. Ha Long cave has a priceless archeological system and exquisite beauty thanks to the stalactite and stalagmite formation over millions of years. The top caves you absolutely must visit in Halong Bay include the following:

  • Thien Cung Cave (Heaven Palace Cave): A large cave in Halong’s cave system with three breathtakingly gorgeous ponds.
  • Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave): one of the highlights of a trip to Halong Bay, known for its steep path leading up for spectacular views.
  • Dau Go Cave (Wooden Stakes Cave): a stunning cave with a maximum height of 25 meters
    Trinh Nu Cave (Virgin Cave): a mysterious cave with a legend about a young woman who was forced into an unhappy marriage.
  • Quan Y Cave (Military Hospital Cave): An underground cave that served as a covert hospital during the Vietnam War

Halong Bay’s caverns are all illuminated with colorful artificial lighting to highlight the various rock stalactites and some specific spots. Coming here will allow you to unravel a lot of mysteries and first-hand admire magnificent gifts of mother nature.

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Halong Bay

Visit Lan Ha Bay

  • As a well-known tourist destination in Vietnam, many of the islands in Halong Bay will be crowded during peak season.
  • Therefore, let’s think about taking a trip to Lan Ha Bay if you wish to explore a less-touristy destination. The island here is renowned for its abundance of activities and white sand beaches.
  • Among these are swimming, hiking, kayaking, and visiting Cai Beo Floating Village.
  • Cai Beo, one of Vietnam’s oldest floating villages, is a must-see destination if you’re interested in learning about a piece of its history.

Admire the Primitive Bai Tu Long Bay

  • Bai Tu Long Bay, in the east of Halong, is another worth-visiting tourist destination. The bay, which spans 15,000 hectares, is home to a vast natural complex of uninhabited islands, a national park, and a rich biodiversity.
  • Quan Lan Island, Ngoc Vung Island, Ang Du Area, Vung Vieng Fishing, Thien Canh Son Cave and Ban Chan Beach are some highlights of HaLong that you should not miss. It is worthwhile to spend at least one night in Bai Tu Long to enjoy the tranquility and hidden charm of this natural heritage.

For further details, let’s check the top-rated Bai Tu Long Bay Cruises

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Thien Cung Cave

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Lan Ha Bay

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Bai Tu Long Bay

Visit floating villages

  • Where to do: Halong Bay floating villages, such as Cua Van, Vung Vieng, Ba Hang Floating Village, and Cong Dam Fishing Village

An intriguing aspect of the locals’ way of life in Halong Bay is their floating villages. Taking a trip on the emerald green water and actually witnessing how the residents live amid stunning and enormous limestone karsts, which is tough to just imagine, tourists will likely find it to be a unique experience. The floating fishing community has become a second hometown for many residents where families have adapted through many generations to the daily tide variations. The sea provides a significant supply of marine life for fishermen’s livelihood.

On a trip to Halong Bay, tourists can visit this community and talk with locals to learn more about their daily lives on the water. It is sure that visiting one of the floating communities and meeting the happy and smiling children and fisherman that live there will be one of the most fascinating experiences in Halong Bay.

Take a Seaplane Tour

This may be among the Halong Bay activities that are most worthwhile to do. Due to its stunning limestone mountains and caverns, Halong Bay attracts millions of visitors every year from all over the world. To be honest, there isn’t a better way to see Halong Bay than from a helicopter.

Even though cruises to the bay might allow you to view the horizon, many limestone islands and mountains rising in the bay make it impossible to fully appreciate the vista. From the helicopter’s altitude of 300m over the sea level, you may observe almost all well-known well-known attractions such as Dau Go Cave and Tuan Chau Island.

Chill out on beautiful beaches of Lan Ha island

In contrast to Halong Bay, which is well-known for its numerous caves and islets but may not have many beaches, Lan Ha Bay owns around 100 beautiful sandy beaches. A few days here will be enough to visit the floating towns, go hiking, take in the breathtaking scenery, and go diving. Alternatively, you can unwind on one of those beaches and discover more about the local daily life.

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Halong Bay Seaplane

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Floating Village

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Lan Ha Bay Beach

Halong Bay Activities in Water

Sunbathe in Ti Top Beach

Despite not being the largest beach in Halong Bay, this crescent-shaped beach is unquestionably one of the most beautiful. The only way to get to Titop Island, a little island with calm waters and white sand, is by boat from Halong Bay.

The island is a well-liked stop for day trips and a great spot for climbing. However, the boats only stay here for a short period of time, so if you want to explore here longer, charter your own boat and spend more time relaxing on the sand and taking in the breathtaking scenery.

There is a little store on the island that also serves as a mini café. Along with beach chairs, tourists can rent swimming and snorkeling gear at this store.

Kayak between karsts limestone outcrops

A cruise is a great way to see almost all stunning attractions and appreciate Halong Bay’s breathtaking magnificence. Some tourists, nevertheless, might prefer an activity that is more adventurous. Kayaking is the finest Halong Bay activity for someone with this passion. Thousands of big and small islands, crystal-clear waters, and calm waves make Ha Long Bay the ideal setting for this recreational activity.

Every tourist to Ha Long Bay is welcome to engage in kayaking, which is held in some of the bay’s most attractive locations with surrounding mountains, beaches, and water tunnel caves. The sites that are frequented the most are Dark Cave and Bright Cave.

Fishing in Halong Bay

Going fishing with locals can be considered as the most distinctive activity among the well-known tourist activities. You can get to know some local fishermen here, discover a bit about some of the fishing myths, and try your luck in fishing as you sail out with some fisherman at dawn.

While taking a cruise to the bay, you can not only take in the breathtaking beauty of Ha Long and the nearby bays, but also watch the locals catch fish and hear their stories about how they survive at sea.

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Sunbathe in beach

Kayaking in Halong Bay
Kayaking in Halong Bay

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Fishing in Halong Bay

Go Swimming

It’s hard to find other activities that are more refreshing than swimming in the cool sea and taking in the breathtaking beauty of the Halong Bay islands.

This activity is open to visitors of all ages. You can swim at a number of beaches on the bay, from well-known beaches like Halong Beach, Titop’s Beach, and Soi Sim’s Beach to small and pristine beaches. Swimming is a great recreational activity that the whole family or a group of friends can participate in while enjoying relaxing time on Ha Long Bay.

Swimming is frequently paired with visits to Ba Trai Dao beach, Dark cave, Bright cave, and Viet Hai fishing village.

Go Diving/Snorkeling in the Underwater

In addition to being a breathtaking tourist destination in Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is also a great place to engage in extreme sports. Along with kayaking, tourists can also take part in scuba diving. Recently, scuba diving became available at Ha Long Bay, making it one of the most interesting things to do there, especially for people who enjoy the underwater sports. The months of April through December are ideal for scuba diving in this bay. During this season, the water’s temperature ranges between 26 and 29 degrees.

Other activities in Halong Bay Cruises

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Climb Mountain in Halong Bay

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BBQ in Halong Bay Beach

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A Romantic Cave Dining

Climb Mountain

In reality, Ha Long Bay is regarded as one of the world’s most majestic mountain climbing regions. It is estimated that there are more than 3000 limestone islands in the Halong Bay area. There are also several climbing sports routes and a lot of potential for further development.

Have Seafood BBQ on the Beach

This will be one of your culinary experiences on the trip to Halong Bay. Trust me! Having a BBQ on one of the beaches in Halong Bay will undoubtedly provide you with a special experience that is difficult to find anywhere. A variety of fresh meat and seafood delights, such as roasted chicken, grilled prawns, grilled beef meatballs, etc., are available to ensure that tourists have a delicious and unforgettable supper. Imagine yourself and your loved ones enjoying a delectable BBQ meal and sipping a great cocktail or glass of wine at dawn amidst green islands, white sandy beaches, and a blue sea. It’s difficult to say no to this activity, isn’t it?

Have A Romantic Cave Dining

Among all the activities available on a Halong cruise, having a romantic meal in a cozily decorated cave is one that many visitors view as a unique experience.Special dinners arranged in beautiful settings, lit by cozy candlelight, and served with delectable fare will provide a truly romantic and unforgettable experience.

Cycle in Halong Bay

In Halong Bay, walking and cycling are two excellent activities that allow visitors to truly enjoy the tranquility and the stunning landscape on the beaches. Visitors can relax on the beautiful white sand and have stunning ocean views of the bay while strolling along the beach. Those who want to discover the untamed nature might consider cycling and hiking. These activities can be combined with a BBQ on the beach.

Hike on Ban Sen Island

If you wish to engage in something truly adventurous, let’s go hiking on Ban Sen Island. This is among the most thrilling activities in Halong Bay. The island is heavily forested and presumably unoccupied, giving it a tranquil retreat for you. Take the ferry from Cai Rong (Cai Rong) to Quan Lan island (Quan Lan), where you can then relax in your own small paradise. You can also engage a tour guide who can provide you with mystical stories about the local culture if you so like.

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Cycling in Halong Bay

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Hike-on-Ban-Sen-Island

Explore Ha Long City on Land

The city of Halong is significantly more lively and exciting with a wide variety of must-do activities in comparison to the stunning and serene landscape on the bay. View the Bai Chay Bridge, sample regional cuisine at local restaurants and on the streets, take part in nightlife activities, visit the Halong Night Market, and buy local souvenirs, which are among the best activities in Halong.

Experience the Thrills of Sun World Halong Park

The coastal amusement park is a fantastic spot if you’re seeking for one of the top family-friendly things to do in Halong City.

This amusement complex includes Dragon Park, Typhoon Water Park and a unique Queen cable car across the sea which offers great views.

Visit the sun wheel and see it change color during the beautiful light show of Halong city. You can also take rides around the city to feel its sounds of life and visit tourist attractions.

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Halong City

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Halong Sunworld Park

Cat Ba Island Things to Do

Visit Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island is the most famous attraction in Halong Bay and it is also the largest island of Vietnam.

The island is close to an old fishing port, and visitors can spend an afternoon taking in the relaxing ambiance there.

Renting a bike and exploring the picturesque countryside just outside the main town is one of the greatest things to do here.

This island is considered as the ideal location for you to rest while visiting Halong Bay because it is also the point from which many boats sail to visit other islands.

Spot the birdlife and wildlife on Cat Ba Island

Ha Long Bay is home to a number of sizable islands, but Cat Ba Island, the largest island, is one of the most well-known. Cat Ba Island has a national park with over 70 species of animals and 30 different mammal species. In particular, visitors will have great opportunities to go hiking and see rare monkeys. Sometimes, hikers might encounter wild boars, huge oriental squirrels, civets, and deer in the park because it has both land and water areas. In addition, numerous bird species, including hornbills, hawks, and cuckoos, as well as other wildlife may be also found in this national park.

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Cat Ba Island

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Wildlife in Cat Ba Island

Ride on Cat Ba Island

The largest island in Halong Bay, Cat Ba island, is home to a variety of creatures and diverse natural habitats, as well as some stunning natural beauty. The island is best reached by boat, and the best ways to explore it are on foot or with a rented bicycle.

Let’s immerse yourself in the beauty of Cat Ba by discovering the limestone hills, waterfalls, caves, and lakes, as well as the wildlife that resides in the mangroves and coastal forests. You can also snorkel off in search of marine life. There are plenty of options available that you can explore the island in your own way.

Get on the Hiking Trails

Cat Ba National Park, which is frequently visited by Halong Bay cruises, comes highly recommended. The park is home to a variety of wild animals including the most endangered yellow-headed langurs in the world as well as civets, long-tailed macaques, hawks, hornbills, and cuckoos. However, it takes a lot of time and endurance to hike along the routes with the 18-kilometer ascent to the mountain’s summit. Therefore, you can take a leisurely adventure to a few observatory points.

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Hiking in Cat Ba Island

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Biking in Cat Ba Island

Where to stay in Halong Bay

Cruise

As mentioned above, the best thing to do in Halong Bay is to stay on a cruise. In addition to providing a distinctive experience, staying on a cruise is a refreshing alternative from the remainder of your holiday spent in a hotel or homestay. Both Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay are accessible by cruise.

Due to the abundance of cruise options, you may view our list of the top cruises in Halong Bay.

Cat Ba island

Cat Ba island is the most popular option for most travelers out of the various islands in Halong Bay that provide lodging. You may choose from the wide variety of hotels, hostels, and resorts here. Another advantage of staying here is that the island is so large and offers a variety of activities. You can arrange a boat ride from here if you still wish to go. In addition, there are also many restaurants serving freshly caught seafood, pier access, scooter rentals, and recreation areas like Cat Ba National Park.

Tuan Chau island

The harbor from which the majority of cruises depart is located on Tuan Chau Island. This area features a sizable tourist landscape, including hotels, resorts, and beaches, in addition to the harbor. The island, though, lacks local ambience. Tuan Chau is an island that can be accessible by road.

Halong City

Halong city is actually made up of the two cities of Hon Gai and Bai Chay, which are joined by a bridge. The former is the tourist section of Halong city, while the latter is more of a local scene.

Food and beverage

All meals are included when you take a cruise. Additionally, every overnight cruise features its own restaurant. However, beverages are typically not included. The majority of the eateries in Halong or Cat Ba are seafood restaurants, but there are also many other choices.

Do you have any questions about traveling to Halong Bay, Vietnam? Ask me anything in the comment section below. We’ll do our best to help!

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