Travel Guide 2022: Top 10 Best Things To Do In Halong Bay — Viet Nam

Halong BayHalong Bay

5 reasons to visit Halong Bay

Take a fantastic cruise through the beautiful landscape.

Do an adventurous activity such as kayaking or rock climbing.

View the local life in the floating villages.

Explore different islands with viewpoints and caves.

Be romantic with a luxury cruise, spa and dining in a cave.


10 best things to do in Halong Bay

The thousands of islands and floating villages already make an unforgettable experience, but there is more to see and do at Halong Bay. Most of these sights are included with the cruise that you book. Therefore, pay attention to which cruise you book. Below you can read the best things to do at Halong Bay.

1. Cruise through Halong Bay

The best thing to do in Halong Bay is no surprise; a cruise. There are hundreds of boats, from very small to large, from luxury to cheap and from day boats to multi-day boats. So no matter what kind of traveler you are, there is always a cruise in Halong that suits you. The water in the bay is very calm, so you don’t have to worry about waves and getting seasick. You will also not get bored quickly, because there are many activities available during the boat trip. You can kayak, swim (in the right period), explore caves, visit floating villages and take walks on the larger islands. If you prefer to relax at the end of your active Vietnam vacation, you can simply stay on the cruise to admire the beautiful landscape of uninhabited islands and karstones jutting out of the water.

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2. Scenic flight over the bay

The coolest way to see how magnificent this UNSECO sight is, is taking a scenic flight in Halong Bay. It is perfect for when you want to see the bay in a short time or when it fits your budget you can also combine it with a cruise.

The flights last 25 minutes and start from the water in Halong Ciy by seaplane. Taking off from the water and landing alone is a great experience, but the real highlight is of course when you fly above the islands and rocks.

It is possible to take pictures during the flight with a camera or mobile, so that you can capture this special experience.

3. Kayaking

From a cruise you can admire the landscape perfectly, but with a kayak you can get to places that boats cannot reach. It is also a wonderful activity on the water, with little current and no waves. For that reason, kayaking is one of the best things to do in Halong Bay.

There are caves that you can paddle through, ending up in a completely hidden part of the bay. You can also visit various beaches with a kayak. Almost all cruise boats, from day trips to multi-day trips, have included this activity in their travel program. If you don’t feel like it or it is raining, you can also choose to skip kayaking.

4. Floating fishing villages

In Vietnam they love seafood. In order to meet the high demand for these sea delicacies, you will see fishing boats all along the coast. Because the water in Halong Bay is so still, this is also a place where floating fishing villages have sprung up. Here people literally live and work on the water.

Many of the floating platformers are used for fish and shellfish farming. It is a unique experience to visit a floating village where you can see how the people work here and sometimes live for days.

5. Relax on beaches

Despite the fact that Halong Bay consists of hundreds of islands off the coast, it is not a most popular beach destination in Vietnam. This is because many islands do not have a beach and the islands that do have a beach are often small and difficult to access. For this reason they can only be visited on a cruise. This makes a visit to one of the beaches in Halong Bay extra special.

If you would like to visit beaches but do not depend on a cruise, it is best to travel to the island of Cat Ba. On this island you can stay and there are many beaches that you can visit on your own.

6. Explore Cat Ba

Cat Ba is the largest island in Halong Bay and one of the few islands where you can also stay. The island has a beautiful wild national park where you can take walks, spot animals and enjoy beautiful viewpoints in the middle of the jungle.

Other fun activities include cycling or scooter around the island, kayaking or just relaxing on the beach. If you want to see a little more of the bay, you can also take a day tour by boat from Cat Ba.

7. Visit Lan Ha Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay

Almost everyone knows Halong Bay, but did you know that there are two other bays next to Halong. Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay are smaller than Halong Bay, but just as beautiful. But the best thing about these two Halong Bay alternatives is that far fewer boats come here and therefore fewer tourists. So you don’t have to be so afraid that you have to share a beach or cave with many other travelers.

Because both bays are a bit further from Hanoi, you will be on the road longer. Furthermore, you will see similar landscapes and engage in similar activities such as visiting floating fishing villages, exploring caves and kayaking on your own.

8. Caves

The islands of Halong Bay are made of the same rock as the landscape in Phong Nha, where you will find some of the most impressive and largest caves in the world. So there are also plenty of caves in Halong Bay.

You can actually visit a number of these caves and there is often always one included in every cruise itinerary. Some caves are also beautifully lit with various colors. Another unique experience is dining in a cave.

9. Nice viewpoints

From a boat trip you often have to look up to get a good view of the islands, but the best view is often from above. If you don’t have the time or budget to take a scenic flight, the best alternative is to visit a viewpoint higher up in the bay.

The best viewpoints in Halong Bay are spread out. For example, you have Bai Tho Mountain near Halong City, Ti Top island in the middle of the bay and on the island of Cat Ba you even have several viewpoints that you can visit.


10. Rock climbing

If you don’t mind putting in some effort to reach a viewpoint, go rock climbing in Halong Bay. Not only the view from above is worth it, but the entire climb is a great adventure. The rocks in the bay are perfect for climbers and it is possibly one of the best places in the world for climbing. There are also options for deep-water soloing.

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