Halong Bay is a natural wonder, boasting a vast collection of nearly 2,000 unique islands, both large and small. Its coastlines shimmer with azure waters, gleaming white sands, and a myriad of mysterious caves. The enchanting Halong Bay is well-known for its breathtaking views and the myriad of things to do in Halong Bay. Beyond discovering Halong Bay and Halong city, consider venturing to nearby regions to experience diverse facets of the local culture. Engaging in these activities can offer you unique, unforgettable moments. Refer to our curated list of 10 best things to do in Halong Bay below to enhance your itinerary.

What to See & Do in Halong Bay

Kayaking in Halong Bay

Halong Bay, with its serene waters and mesmerizing limestone formations, offers an unmatched kayaking experience. Paddling through the emerald waters of the bay allows visitors to get up close with nature and explore the hidden corners of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Interesting kayaking activities when traveling to Ha Long (Source: Collected)
Interesting kayaking activities when traveling to Ha Long (Source: Collected)

Many travel agencies provide the opportunity to kayak directly from the vessel. It’s truly unmatched to have the liberty to steer wherever you desire, take a refreshing dip in the clear blue waters, and observe vibrant marine life. This offers a unique chance to intimately experience the majestic limestone cliffs overhead and truly grasp their immense size. It’s one of nature’s wondrous spectacles!

Best Locations and Routes for Kayaking Adventures

While Halong Bay in its entirety offers great kayaking opportunities, some spots are particularly renowned:

  • Luon Cave: A natural tunnel through a mountain, it’s a favorite spot for kayakers. The entrance is accessible only during low tide, revealing a hidden lagoon encircled by steep stone walls.
  • Ba Ham Lake: Comprising three sheltered lakes surrounded by limestone mountains, this spot is perfect for those looking to paddle in solitude and serenity.
  • Dark and Bright Caves: Accessible through a narrow, 100-meter-long, and dark tunnel, this spot opens up to a peaceful lake surrounded by lush mangroves.

Safety Tips and Rental Information for Beginners

For those new to kayaking, here are some safety tips to ensure a smooth experience:

  1. Wear a Life Jacket: Regardless of swimming capabilities, always wear a life jacket.
  2. Stay Near the Shore: Especially if you’re inexperienced, avoid venturing too far from the shore.
  3. Avoid Kayaking in Rough Weather: Check the weather forecast. If it indicates storms or high winds, it’s best to reschedule.
  4. Stay Hydrated: The tropical climate can be dehydrating. Carry water with you.

 Floating Villages of Halong Bay

Stopping by one of the vibrant floating villages in Halong Bay is essential for every traveler! Generations of fishermen have made their homes in these picturesque floating settlements, coexisting seamlessly with the waters. Witness children gleefully frolicking, fishermen humming melodies as they drift on serene waters, and vivid houses swaying rhythmically with the ocean’s pulse. There’s even a school on water for the young ones!

Cua Van Floating Village
Cua Van Floating Village

Recommendations on Villages to Visit and How to Be a Responsible Tourist

For travelers keen on experiencing the magic of these floating villages firsthand, several villages welcome visitors:

  • Cua Van Village: Recognized as one of the most beautiful villages globally, Cua Van offers a mix of scenic beauty and rich culture.
  • Vung Vieng Fishing Village: Located in the heart of Bai Tu Long Bay, this village offers an authentic experience of daily life on the water.
  • Ba Hang Village: Close to popular attractions like Thien Cung and Dau Go caves, this village is a blend of natural beauty and cultural richness.

Take part in extreme sports (rock climbing, kite surfing, water motor riding)

Halong Bay offers a wealth of adventurous activities for the experienced traveler. Dive into the excitement of unique journeys as you navigate concealed lagoons and enigmatic caves, scale challenging rock structures, or gear up for parasailing. Moreover, hiking through lush forests is a perfect pursuit for those passionate about untamed nature. These daring choices empower you to experience Halong Bay on your terms.

Relaxing Swimming in Halong Bay

Skipping a swim while in Ha Long would be a missed opportunity. The area is adorned with both man-made and untouched beaches that radiate sheer beauty. Ha Long’s beaches are celebrated for their unspoiled allure, refreshing azure waters, and velvety white sands.

Swimming serves as an excellent leisure activity for families and friend groups alike. The sensation of diving into the cool, crystal-clear waters provides unparalleled relaxation and joy. Moreover, it allows you to take in the breathtaking views, breathe the fresh air, stroll on the beach, and capture cherished memories

Ha Long tourism is indispensable for swimming activities
Ha Long tourism is indispensable for swimming activities

If you find yourself in this region, it’s worthwhile to explore some of Ha Long’s renowned beaches like Bai Chay beach, Tuan Chau beach, Titop beach, Soi Sim beach, Minh Chau beach, Quan Lan beach, and Ba Trai beach Peach. Engaging in refreshing swims will undoubtedly enhance your bay and island experience. However, for a safe experience, it’s advisable to familiarize yourself with important swimming guidelines in Ha Long ahead of time.

Take a Cruise on the Pearl Island

A popular activity that many visitors indulge in while in Ha Long is embarking on a picturesque cruise around the pearl island. Numerous travel agencies now offer this upscale touring option. Depending on your availability, you can opt for a day-long voyage to admire the vistas of Halong Bay or even spend a night on the water.

The majority of Ha Long cruises are of premium quality and contemporary design, equipped with a range of considerate amenities. Each vessel offers distinct itineraries and viewing paths, tailored to cater to travelers’ preferences. Partaking in this delightful venture can truly elevate your holiday experience.

Experience a luxury cruise to explore the pearl island (Source: Collected)
Experience a luxury cruise to explore the pearl island (Source: Collected)

In addition to showcasing the stunning island bay views, Ha Long cruises also offer Massage and Spa services set against the bay’s enchanting backdrop. This allows guests to unwind and rejuvenate, fully soaking in the serenity of the vast waters.

Explore Mysterious Caves

Exploring the caves is an essential experience in Halong Bay. The bay’s remarkable cave system, enriched by its distinctive geological and archaeological significance, harks back millennia and stands as a hallmark for newcomers.

Ha Long Bay is famous for many mysterious caves
Ha Long Bay is famous for many mysterious caves

These caverns and grottoes have evolved, showcasing intricate formations of stalactites and stalagmites along with meandering, enigmatic chambers. Some of the standout and grand caves include Surprise Cave, Thien Cung Cave, and Luon Cave in Halong Bay, Dark and Bright Cave in Lan Ha Bay, and Thien Canh Son Cave in Bai Tu Long Bay. Conveniently situated on prominent islands, these caves are easily reachable by tender boats, making them accessible and enjoyable for both young and old visitors.

>>> Read more: Must-visit caves in Halong Bay

Chill in seaside bars

From rooftop lounges to floating bars, Halong Bay offers a range of nightlife experiences that combine refreshing drinks with stunning vistas.

Fleur d'Or Maison Bar
Fleur d’Or Maison Bar

Top-Rated Bars with the Best Views of the Bay

  • Fleur d’Or Maison Bar : A chic rooftop bar offering panoramic views of the bay.
  • Novotel Lounge: Known for its elegant ambiance and extensive cocktail menu.
  • H Club: Ha Long’s Largest Bar Venue

Recommendations on Local Drinks and Specialties to Try

Sample the local rice wine or indulge in a Halong Bay-inspired cocktail. For a truly local experience, try “Bia Hoi,” a fresh local draft beer.

>>> You may also like: Bars in Halong Bay

Sample local seafood and specialties

Halong is celebrated as a hotspot for fresh seafood and an array of distinctive local dishes. It’s especially famed for “cha muc” (grilled minced seafood) readily available in local markets, along with “sam” (horseshoe crab), oysters, “ngan” (austriella corrugata), among others. Additionally, visitors can indulge in unique delicacies such as nodding cake, “sa sung” (sipunculus nudus), and the delightful Halong yogurt.

Seafood in Halong bay
Seafood in Halong bay

>>> Read more: 11 Must-Try Local Delicacies

Enjoy Food at the Restaurant

Dining in Halong Bay is more than just a meal; it’s an experience. From waterfront eateries to luxury cruise dining, restaurants in Halong Bay caters to every palate.

Dine out in Cua Vang restaurant

Situated ideally at 32 Phan Chu Trinh street in Bai Chay ward, Halong City, Cua Vang restaurant stands as one of Halong City’s most upscale dining establishments. Boasting three floors that spread across 350 sqm, this expansive eatery can comfortably accommodate up to 250 patrons. Visitors can delve into a broad menu offering fresh seafood and signature dishes prepared in wooden pots.

Address: 32 Phan Chu Trinh street, Bai Chay ward, Halong City

Hours: 10 am – 10 pm

Phone: 0203 826 274

Starting Price: VND 500,000 per individual.

Cua Vang Restaurant - One of the best seafood restaurants in Halong bay area
Cua Vang Restaurant – One of the best seafood restaurants in Halong bay area

1958 Restaurant

1958 Restaurant  pioneered in presenting a lavish and refined dining ambiance, blending Vietnamese and French culinary traditions. Enjoying fresh seafood at 1958 while visiting Tuan Chau, Ha Long is a delightful experience. The cuisine, primarily rooted in Northern Vietnamese culinary arts, is flavorful and fairly priced, offering an extensive selection from starters to main courses and desserts. The establishment boasts an opulent and vast setting, with every nook exuding finesse.

Take a snorkeling or scuba diving tour

Diving into the depths with snorkeling or scuba diving is a top-tier underwater experience in Halong Bay that you shouldn’t overlook. The bay’s crystal-clear emerald waters are teeming with incredible marine diversity. The plethora of coral reefs and myriad sea species amplify the bay’s rich aquatic ecosystem.

Experience scuba diving to see coral with snorkeling goggles (Photo: Collected)
Experience scuba diving to see coral with snorkeling goggles (Photo: Collected)

Prime spots for these diving adventures include Cat Ba island, Lan Ha Bay, Cong Do area, Vung Ha island, and Co To island. For an enhanced experience, pair your snorkeling or scuba diving adventure with a stay at a quaint resort on Cat Ba island.

>>> You may also like: Scuba Diving in Halong Bay

How to Get to Halong Bay

By Bus

Halong Bay lies approximately 2.5-3 hours east of Hanoi. It’s worth noting that bus journeys might require an additional hour. While most cruises offer transfers from Hanoi, if they don’t, arranging a bus journey independently is straightforward.

By Train

Alternatively, you can opt for a 7-hour train ride from Hanoi. Do note, though, that there’s only a single daily train, departing at 4.55 AM.

Best Time to Visit

For the most breathtaking views, it’s recommended to visit during warm and sunny periods. Both March to May and September to November are favorable times to go. The weather is typically dry and sunny during these months, albeit slightly cooler than the peak summer season.

Best Time to Visit
Best Time to Visit Halong

FAQs About Things to do in Halong Bay

1. What are the top attractions in Halong Bay?

A: Some of the must-visit attractions include exploring the mysterious caves, taking a cruise to the Pearl Island, kayaking amidst the limestone karsts, and indulging in the local cuisine at the bay’s renowned eateries.

2. Is it safe to go swimming in Halong Bay?

A: Yes, many beaches in Halong Bay are safe for swimming. However, it’s essential to be aware of the tides and stick to designated swimming areas.

3. Are guided tours available for exploring the caves in Halong Bay?

A: Absolutely! Many tour operators offer guided cave tours, providing insights into the caves’ geology, history, and legends.

4. What’s unique about the nightlife in Halong Bay?

A: Halong Bay boasts a vibrant nightlife scene, with bars offering stunning bay views, local drinks, and live cultural performances.

5. Can I try local Vietnamese cuisine in Halong Bay?

A: Yes, Halong Bay offers a plethora of dining options, from street-side stalls serving authentic Vietnamese dishes to upscale restaurants presenting gourmet fusion cuisine.

6. When is the best time of year to visit Halong Bay?

A: The ideal months to visit Halong Bay are from October to April, when the weather is cooler and less humid. However, it’s worth noting that December to February can be quite cold.

7. Is rock climbing a popular activity in Halong Bay?

A: Yes, the limestone cliffs in Halong Bay are a favorite among rock climbers. There are routes for both beginners and experienced climbers, with many companies offering guided climbing excursions.

8. Are there options for budget travelers in Halong Bay?

A: Certainly! From budget-friendly cruises to affordable eateries and accommodations, Halong Bay caters to travelers of all budgets.

9. What marine life can I expect to see while snorkeling or diving in Halong Bay?

A: Halong Bay’s waters are home to a variety of marine species, including parrotfish, clams, and colorful corals. Guided diving tours can provide a richer experience and a chance to spot diverse marine life.

10. How can I be a responsible tourist in Halong Bay?

A: Travelers are encouraged to respect local customs, avoid single-use plastics, support local businesses, and ensure that they leave no trace, especially when visiting natural sites.


You never have to worry about things to do in Halong Bay once you get there; Halong Bay boasts diverse services and activities to satisfy your thirst for sightseeing and history. For an even more wonderful experience, you can contact San Travel, which has a 5-star Halong Bay tour package that meets all your travel and accommodation needs with top professionalism.

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