Halong Bay Travel Guide - What to do in the World Heritage

Halong Bay, a Natural and Cultural World Heritage, is always one of the leading tourist attractions of Vietnam. Find out the best time to visit, things to do and top attractions with our Halong Bay Travel Guide.

Introduction about Halong Bay

Located in the North of Vietnam, Halong Bay, the bay of descending dragon, is one of the most beautiful places on earth and is a very popular travel destination in Vietnam. Administratively, the bay belongs to Ha Long City (Cam Pha town, Quang Ninh province) and is 170km from Hanoi.

Halong Bay, with its outstanding scenic landscape, special geographic and historical features has been twice recognized by UNESCO; the first time in 1994 as Natural World Heritage and second time in the year 2000 as Natural and Cultural World Heritage.

The bay is a center of a larger zone which includes Bai Tu Long bay to the northeast, and Cat Ba islands to the southwest. These two bays share similar geological, geographical, geomorphological, climate, and cultural characters.

The spectacular area is made up of almost 3,000 limestone islands that jut out of emerald waters in various sizes and shapes, creating a truly magical landscape. Luckily, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence.

Another distinctive feature of Halong Bay is the abundance of lakes within the larger limestone islands, some of them can be accessed by kayak or little bamboo boat through sea level cave or long dark tunnel. Dotted among the bay are some floating fishing villages where people live on floating houses are sustained through fishing and marine aquaculture

Tourists visiting Halong Bay are not only treated to one of the natural wonders of the world, but also to a precious naturally preserved geological museum.

Best time to visit Halong Bay

Halong Bay with a breathtaking natural landscapes and majestic islands is beautiful and attractive all year round. You can visit this world heritage site anytime you want as the answer for the question “When is the best time to visit Halong” totally depends on your definition of a perfect trip.

If the weather is your most concern while planning the trip, so the periods from September to November and from March to May should be noted in your handbook. During these months, the dry climate with light sun, clear blue sky, pleasant temperature (around 20-25 Celsius degrees) and less rainfall are the ideal conditions for you to enjoy the site and take part in active outdoor activities.

If you want to save cost and you are seeking the less busy atmosphere, then you can schedule your trip between May and September. Among them, the months from July to August often see the high possibilities of tropical hurricanes and storm. The weather is a bit hot and more humid compared to other months with the average temperature ranging from 31 to 38 Celsius degrees. Additionally, heavy rains occur more frequently.

Things to do and where to visit in Halong Bay

Lan Ha Bay

Located in the Southwest of Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is the no less attractive and stunning neighbor with around 400 limestone cliffs dotted throughout the clear water and white sandy beach. Being such a quiet and calming place, Lan Ha Bay and its sleeping beauty would definitely appeal to those looking for a relaxing getaway amongst peaceful surroundings.

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Lan Ha Bay

Bai Tu Long Bay

Located immediately east of Halong Bay and occupying three quarters of Halong Bay World Heritage Site, Bai Tu Long Bay encompasses a massive area remaining an extensive unexplored area which promises to give many memorable experiences, far from touristic site. Every aspect as attractive as its more well-known neighbor, Bai Tu Long Bay is the perfect choice for any traveler who want to experience the similar stunning landscape of Halong Bay but less touristy. The bay nowadays also attracts an increasing number of domestic and foreign visitors to discover but it is still unpolluted and relatively undeveloped.

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Bai Tu Long Bay

Ti Top Island

Located about 14km to the east of Bai Chay tourist harbor, Ti Top Island has a beach that is shaped like a crescent moon and known for its calm and emerald waters. The island ‘s name was given by the most respectful iconic leader of Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh, after the Russian cosmonaut Gherman Titov visiting to Halong Bay for the first time in 1962. With a summit height at 110 meters above the sea level, you should walk about 450 steps to reach the peak of the mountain. Ti Top island is regarded as one of the most interesting sites for both international and domestic tourists traveling to Halong Bay.

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Ti Top Island

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island, the largest island in Halong Bay, is the most popular destination in the area with plenty of hotels, restaurants and bars. Its lovely beaches are the ideal place for swimming and sunbathing in the summer. Besides developing tourism, people living on the island still do exactly what their ancestors did for many decades before – fishing.

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Cat ba Island

Dau Be Island

Located in the Southwestern of Halong Bay, Dau Be Island, known for its rich coral and deep grottoes, is a popular swimming and diving spot for tourists. Additionally, it is famous for being the home of the well-known beauty spot Ba Ham Lake, a stunning natural occurrence made of three hidden lakes connected by a long cave. Throughout the cave, there are stalactites decorating the ceilings. These impressive rock formations along with the unique natural landscape of this place attract many visitors to Dau Be Island annually.

Dau Go Island

Dau Go Island is known for its historical legends and colorful cave which has many beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, some of them more than 20 meters high. Due to the large open entrance, the cave has a humid atmosphere inside all year-round.

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Dau Go Cave

Halong Bay's floating villages and fish farms

The bay's floating villages is the place where locals have been living for many generations as fishing is still their main income. These interesting sites draw a lot of tourists’ attention and are considered one of the highlights of the trip. Some communities offer reasonably priced home-stays to visitors which is a great way to experience the local daily life and relax among natural beauty.

Sung Sot Cave

Located in Bo Hon Island, Sung Sot Cave with a steep path lined with shady trees is the most magnificent cave in Halong Bay. Walking through stone steps, you may have the adventurous feeling of climbing on mountains, experience the excitement as if stepping to the sky and after all, you have a chance to admire the amazing landscapes of surroundings nature. Going inside the cave, there are many impressive stalactites with various special shapes waiting for you to explore.

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Sung Sot Cave

Pelican Cave

Located in the Southwest of Halong Bay, Pelican Cave (Hang Bo Nau) is a popular destination for tourists to take photos and explore the spectacular stalactites hanging from the ceiling. The entrance of Pelican Cave is wide making it look like the mouth of a giant monster. The interior of the cave is around 200m² and is quite flat aside.

Virgin Cave

The Virgin Cave (Hang Trinh Nu) is among the most famous caves in Halong Bay and is probably best known for its shrine located inside as well as the most moving legend behind it. Legend claims that a beautiful woman committed suicide in the cave, unable to return home after being forced to marry an old Mandarin and then her body tuned into stone here. Its mysterious legend and thousands of impressive stalactites and stalagmites attracts lots of visitor coming to Halong Bay every year.

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Virgin Cave

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