Halong Bay is a familiar destination for avid travelers. Boasting a collection of stunning islands, quaint islets, and breathtaking caves, it’s a haven for sightseeing and recreation. The bay offers a plethora of activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, trekking, and parasailing. Diving in Halong Bay, in particular, stands out as a captivating experience in this pristine locale. For more details, dive deeper into our guide on scuba diving in Halong Bay.

Overview Scuba Diving in Halong Bay

Scuba diving in Halong Bay
Scuba diving in Halong Bay

Pristine Splendor: Unlike other well-known snorkeling locations in Vietnam, Halong Bay stands out for its unblemished marine ecosystem. The majority of its coral reefs span untouched islands and limestone karsts, allowing you to enjoy the view without the distraction of litter or debris.

Remarkable Coral Reefs: Halong Bay boasts a myriad of vibrant coral formations. Notably, these can be found around Lan Ha Bay, Trai Cave, Van Gio Island, Cat Ba Island, and Cong Do Island. On Cat Ba Island alone, researchers have identified 193 coral species, with 166 being hard corals and 27 comprising soft and horn corals.

Rich Marine Diversity in Shallow Depths: The radiant coral reefs in Halong Bay are home to a variety of marine life including holothurians, starfish, crustaceans, and fish. The bay’s shallow waters, combined with its dense coral population, provide ample opportunities for breathtaking underwater photography without needing to descend to great depths.

Here, visitors can not only marvel at the scenic seascapes but also partake in exhilarating water activities. While kayaking and swimming are the bay’s top choices, diving and scuba diving promise memorable adventures.

Diving in Halong Bay stands out as a must-try experience. Perfect for the curious at heart, scuba diving unveils an underwater realm like no other. The bay’s rich marine biodiversity allows explorers to encounter myriad marine species and magnificent coral formations. As you glide through the waters, you’ll find yourself amidst vibrant fish schools and reaching out to touch the stunning corals.

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Ideal Diving Season in Halong Bay

Best Time To Dive in Halong Bay
Best Time To Dive in Halong Bay

Since diving conditions are largely influenced by the weather, it’s advisable to familiarize yourself with Halong Bay’s climate before embarking on your snorkeling or diving journey.

Based on weather patterns and insights from local travel experts, Summer and Autumn emerge as the optimal seasons for diving and snorkeling in Halong Bay.

Summer in Halong Bay (May to July):

  • The warm climate is ideal for activities such as sightseeing and kayaking.
  • Taking a dive in the refreshing waters during this heat feels heavenly, allowing you to also view the mesmerizing coral landscapes below.
  • Direct sunlight accentuates their beauty, making them appear even more radiant and captivating.

Autumn in Halong Bay (August to October):

  • The mild weather during these months is conducive for scuba diving and snorkeling.
  • However, the diminished sunlight might reduce the visibility of underwater marine life.
  • As this is the peak tourist season in Halong Bay, expect interruptions from numerous cruises, boats, and other Halong Bay attractions.

Additionally, it’s crucial to be aware that storms can suddenly arise towards summer’s end in Halong, especially from August to early September. To circumvent this, consider planning your trip in May or September. These months mark the start and close of the season, respectively, and thus have a reduced likelihood of storms. If you opt for other months, stay updated with regular weather forecasts and consult your travel agency for more insights.

Top Diving and Snorkeling Spots in Halong Bay

Halong Bay offers a multitude of locations for scuba diving and snorkeling, given the growing interest from tourists. Notable spots include Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay, and Cai Bau Island, among others. When planning a Halong Bay tour, the following locales stand out as top recommendations.

Lan Ha Bay

Lan Ha Bay, though not widely known, is a pristine haven for scuba diving enthusiasts. It encompasses over 400 islands and islets that sprawl across a 76 km2 area, hosting an abundant variety of underwater life. Dive into its clean, refreshing waters to observe 177 coral species, 98 types of plankton, and nearly 200 species of fish that call this bay home.

At this location, guests have the opportunity to admire breathtaking ocean views and engage in thrilling aquatic experiences. Kayaking and swimming are popular choices, while diving and scuba diving offer unforgettable underwater explorations.

Tourists scuba diving in Lan Ha Bay
Tourists scuba diving in Lan Ha Bay

Cat Ba Island

Renowned for harboring the largest collection of corals and aquatic life in Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island is a snorkeler’s paradise. Local agencies offer convenient booking for snorkeling tours. A variety of accommodation options are available, with a notable recommendation being a stay on Monkey Island for an enhanced snorkeling experience.

Cong Do Area

Cong Do Island, also referred to as “Red Drainage,” is a gem nestled in Bai Tu Long Bay, spanning approximately 24 square kilometers. It is celebrated for its untouched beauty and the rich diversity of plant and animal life that it harbors. The island’s underwater realm teems with a variety of marine life, including shrimp, crab, squid, and a plethora of fish species, all thriving amidst lush seaweeds, algae, and other aquatic plants. Additionally, a magnificent coral reef stretches 7 kilometers in length and 300 meters in width, making Cong Do Island an irresistible destination for enthusiasts of snorkeling and scuba diving.

Vung Ha Island

Situated near Vung Vieng fishing village in Halong Bay, Vung Ha Island invites visitors to explore its underwater beauty. Consider dedicating a half-day to snorkeling before venturing to Vung Vieng to immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and culture.

Co To Island

Hong Van Beach on Co To Island is home to an extensive array of coral reefs and vibrant fish, set against the backdrop of crystal-clear waters and a refreshing atmosphere. Here, an invigorating aquatic exploration awaits all who visit.

Book a Ha Long diving tour

It’s truly a blessing to focus solely on embarking on an exciting journey with an eager spirit, free from the hassles of intricate pre-trip preparations. Opting for a Halong snorkeling tour offers several benefits to enhance your travel experience:

  • A range of inclusive services for a comprehensive experience.
  • A guided tour ensures safety and assistance throughout.
  • Navigate popular tourist spots in Ha Long with ease and confidence, eliminating the fear of getting lost.
  • Enjoy hassle-free accommodation arrangements, focusing solely on the exploration.
  • Minimized risk of encountering fraud, promoting a trustworthy tourist experience.

Guided tour or free diving, which is better?

Pros Cons
Booked tour
  • Snorkeling tours provide enhanced safety due to the presence of experienced guides and provision of necessary equipment.
  • Tours come with a host of pre-arranged amenities and services.
  • There’s no concern about losing your way.
  • There’s a chance that the tours might be fully booked, leaving no availability.


Free / DIY
  • Opting for a DIY approach grants you the liberty to choose your snorkeling times and locations.
  • You can sidestep potential overcharges.
  • Responsibility falls on you to secure accommodations and dining options.
  • Going solo increases the risks associated with snorkeling or scuba diving.

Where to book a Ha Long diving tour?

High-recommended contacts

Agency  San Travel
Phone + 84- 91 297 22 22
Email info@santravel.vn
Website for booking https://santravel.vn/

A sample snorkeling/scuba diving tour

Scuba Diving Tour In Halong Bay (Source: Baoquangninh.vn)
Scuba Diving Tour In Halong Bay (Source: Baoquangninh.vn)
  • 8:00 AM: Depart from Ha Long City to the dive site

  • 9:30 AM: Briefing on safety protocols and the day’s itinerary.

  • 10:00 AM: First dive/snorkeling session.

  • 12:00 PM: Lunch on board and relaxation.

  • 1:30 PM: Second dive/snorkeling session.
  • 3:00 PM: Return to Ha Long City, with a stopover at some scenic points.

Nose for safely diving longer and deeper

Scuba diving and snorkeling in Halong Bay are exhilarating activities that not only boost your physical endurance but also offer an unparalleled view of the World Heritage site. For a rewarding and safe experience, adequate preparation is crucial. Keep these recommendations in mind for a fulfilling underwater adventure:

  • Ideal diving months span from May to September. For specific weather insights, consult tour guides or travel agencies, who are well-versed in local conditions.
  • Ensure you are physically fit for snorkeling and diving in Halong Bay, particularly ensuring no cardiovascular or respiratory issues.
  • It’s advisable to eat a moderate meal before diving or snorkeling; avoid being too full or too hungry.
  • Engage in light exercises to warm up and get your body prepped before diving.
  • Heed the instructions of your tour guide diligently during the activities.
  • Be vigilant of jellyfish and familiarize yourself with first aid procedures in case of stings.
  • Refrain from snorkeling or diving near the cruise ship’s propeller for safety reasons.
  • Rest assured, all equipment, ranging from masks, fins, snorkels, to wet suits and life vests, undergoes routine checks and adheres to safety regulations.

We trust the provided details have been beneficial. Enjoy your scuba diving and snorkeling adventures in Halong Bay. Should you require assistance in organizing a tour to any of the mentioned destinations, please reach out for further information.

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