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Top 8 Things to Do in Halong Bay

Top 8 Things to Do in Halong Bay

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated Nov. 2, 2022

Ha Long Bay, one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam and a place listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is a magnificent seascape sculpted by nature.

It consists of numerous islands and peaks, most of which are uninhabited by humans. Drowned limestone karst landforms, wonderful caves, and spectacular pillars make this natural scenery incredible.

PS: Vietnam has eased its travel restrictions from March 16, 2022. All travelers are exempt from quarantine to visit Vietnam now as long as you're fully vaccinated

Explore the Overall Scenery via a Cruise or Seaplane

Ha Long Bay Cruise and Seaplane Tour

Recommended length of visit: one to three days

You cannot miss the opportunity to take a cruise as Ha Long Bay is the best sailing destination. Taking a cruise ship to see the islands is an ideal way to appreciate the overall scenery.

You can enjoy sightseeing of the caves and karst formations, visit uninhabited islands, an oyster farm, and a floating village, and experience sea kayaking.

Ha Long Bay contains numerous limestone islands. Some have interesting shapes. The most famous are Cockfight Rock (looking like two cocks fighting, it’s the symbol of Vietnamese tourism), Incense Burner, and Man's Head.

If you have enough in your budget, exploring the scenery with a seaplane flight is highly recommended. Watch in awe as you fly over the pillars reaching up from the emerald waters. It’s awesome!

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Have a Glimpse of the Unique Lifestyle in the Floating Villages

Visit the Floating Villages

Recommended length of visit: one to three hours

Scattered all over the bay, four floating villages are home to around 1,400 people. They are Cửa Vạn, Ba Hang, Cống Dàm, and Vông Viêng. Once your boat navigates away from the stilt houses, you will enter the “actual” floating village: several dozen wooden houses floating on the river.

These villages still maintain the style of a fishing village, but they are also major tourist attractions nowadays. You can have a look at the locals' unique lifestyle: they rely on their boats for their daily living, working, and communication with each other.

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Capture the Beauty of the Small Islands

Small Islands

Recommended length of visit: half a day to a day

There are several stunning islands scattered in Ha Long Bay. Because of the precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. You can, however, take a boat to a small island and spend a few hours there, exploring and enjoying the limestone and sandy beach.

Lying on the beach, you can experience its natural quietness, cleanness, and simplicity. Just cherish this peaceful moment — it will be a good memory.

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Enjoy the Night on a Cruise

Squid Fishing

Recommended length of visit: a night

If choosing a two-day and one night or three-day and two-night cruise, you should not miss the fun at night.

You can just enjoy a movie night, cap off the night with some beauty spa services, or take part in a special activity — squid fishing.

In the evening, squid fishing begins. The boat will anchor at the best spot to catch squid and the crew will teach you how to catch it. There are several ways to catch a squid, all of which can be pretty interesting. After that, the crew will help you to cook the squid.

Indulge at a Beach Resort

A Beach Resort

Recommended length of visit: a day to three days

Staying at a beach resort for at least one night to enjoy an island paradise at a leisurely pace would be a great choice.

There are some stunning private beaches, which are quiet and clean due to the resort. Choose a wonderful beach resort and you could go swimming, sunbathe, take part in all kinds of water activities, or just laze around all day.

Walking on the beach at sunset is also a good choice. Just soak up the atmosphere on your private beach.

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Discover Surprising Sights in the Caves

Visit Sung Sot Cave or Others

Recommended length of visit: one to two days

There are many wonderful caves in Ha Long Bay. Every corner of each cave is unique and worth exploring. The Sung Sot Cave and Dong Thien Cung are the most popular for tourists.

Inside these water-eroded caves, walls covered with corallite ‘flowers’, enormous boulders, refined columns, and a variety of stalactites and stalagmites are just stunning! Piles of stalactites and stalagmites in curious shapes look like wild beasts and human figures under the colored lights.

The deeper you go inside, the more surprises you will find.

Pay a Tribute to Nature

Cát Bà National Park

Recommended length of visit: half a day to a day

Ha Long Bay includes two ecosystems: a tropical moist evergreen rainforest, and a marine and coastal ecosystem. Cát Bà National Park belongs to the first one.

Recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2004, the park takes up more than half of Cát Bà Island. There are about 32 types of mammals, including golden-headed langurs (Vietnam’s most endangered primates), wild boar, deer, and macaques, along with approximately 70 species of birds and more than a thousand species of plants.

When encountering them, you cannot help but admire its diverse ecosystem.

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Be a King or Queen When Having Dinner

Have a Luxurious Dinner in Traditional Bao Dai Dress

Recommended length of visit: one to two hours

The on-board chef will tell you a short history of Vietnamese cuisine. After that, you can enjoy the luxurious dinner in traditional Bao Dai dress. Taste the sumptuous set menu, which has been specially designed to make you feel like a king or a queen. This special experience is impressive and amazing.

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