Vietnam is a country which is rich in history and culture. Aside from historical monuments and friendly locals, you can also enjoy the green paddy fields, miles of beautiful white sandy beaches. Not to mention neon cities and dramatic sea landscapes, they will amaze your eyes.
There are some 2,000 islands located in Halong Bay and you will find many of them uninhabited. Some of these islands are home to caves and covered in gorgeous lush vegetation great for walking. Plus you can go diving or checkout some forts and other monuments.
Here are some of the best things to do in Halong Bay Vietnam.
Explore Hang Sung Sot Cave
Starting with Hang Sung Sot Cave. It is located at Bon Hon Island. It requires an extra effort as you need to hike up a steep path to get here. However it is worth the effort for the inner views.
Inside the cave, there are two different chambers. Their height is around 30 meters. The inner one is known for having a number of stone formations. People say it looks like sentries lining up.
Moreover, there is a stone in the center of the cave, which looks like a general talking to his soldiers.
With the perfect light and good positioning, when the light streams across the water, it makes the formations come to life.
Go Diving / Snorkeling
If you are a diver, you can dive in Halong Bay. There are islands which are perfect places to enjoy the delicate underwater view in this part of Vietnam.
The waters here offer excellent visibility and you can go diving and swim through scenic underwater caves grottoes.
Checkout our the best dive site in Vietnam.
What if you can’t dive? Well, there are a number of diving schools. If you take your family with you and want a safe journey, then it is better to just take a boat to the islands and swim and snorkel around the shallow spots.
Checkout Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island is the biggest island in Halong Bay. It is also the most renowned attraction. The island lies near an ancient fisherman’s port and has a relaxed atmosphere.
Thus, it is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with friends. One of the most thrilling things here is riding a bike from countryside to outside the main town.
Relax On Monkey Island
Also known as Cat Dua in Vietnamese, Monkey Island is a site if you are looking to take a boat trip in Halong Bay. There is a private beach where you can spend the time topping up your tan on the white sand.
You can also go swimming and snorkeling. If you want to try bold things, try kayaking or hiking across the island.
Visit Cat Ba National Park
There are huge types of mammals in Cat Ba, more than 25 different animals. Cat Ba is a gorgeous national park. It has langurs which are the most endangered primates in the world.
Moreover, there are amazing hiking trails which include an 18 kilometer climb to the summit of the main peak in the national park.
If you are nature lover and you have short vacation, we recommend visiting Cat Ba National Park.
Fighting Cocks Island
Halong Bay has some gorgeous landmarks and Fighting Cocks Island is one of them.
In Vietnamese, it is called Hon Ga Choi. Two large rocks that stick out of the sea formed these islands which resemble cocks fighting.
When you go there at sunset, you will see the stunning sun when it sets behind the two pulchritude stone formations.
Cannon Fort Tour
Cannon Fort offers the best view in Cat Ba Island. From the top of the fort you can grasp rolling hills as well as bobbing fishing boats and karst formations.
Before you can do that, you have to walk up a hill to the main gate. Furthermore, you can check out underground tunnels here as well and view a number of attractions such as gun emplacements.
The fort is also decorated with real size soldiers and there are several vantage points.
Shop at Cat Ba Island Market
When you are visiting Cat Ba Island and want to try some local food, you have to opt for the central market.
There are countless local fruits, vegetables and check out the local seafood like crabs, jump shrimp and fish here.
If you want to set up your own barbecue, then this is the seamless place.
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Monument
Another place to visit while in Halong bay and will add to your knowledge about Vietnamese history. In this case, Ho Chi Minh Monument is a flawless pick.
Vietnamese praised Ho Chi Minh as the founding father of modern Vietnam. When you go around Vietnam, you will see that every town in the country has a statue of this formidable leader.
As well as seeing the statue, because it is located on a hillside which is known as Mountain Number, you can take a walk and check out the vistas from a high.
Go For a Seafood Barbecue
Because of its location, Halong Bay has a glut of seafood to offer. Lots of restaurants are found along the central beaches.
The unforgettable moment is when you can dine with your feet in the sand and taste the freshest stuff of the day, for example, baked king prawns as well as squid, crab and lobster.
If you want to have your private fire pits, this is your choice.
When to Visit Halong Bay Vietnam
The best time to visit Halong bay is in spring and autumn. With spring starting March to May and in Autumn from September to November.
In spring and autumn the weather is around 25oC on average, making the temperature mild and the sky is clear and bright.
Is Halong Bay Safe To Swim in
It depends, shore swimming is safe but there is a lot currents in the bay and you might get caught in a current so therefore its not safe in the open water.
Unfortunately, there is some pollution in Halong bay mainly rubbish.
Is Halong Bay A Wonder of The World
No, Halong Bay is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Is Halong Bay Worth Visiting
It’s definitely worth it. Not only because it is one of the seven natural wonders of the world but it’s worth seeing how gorgeous and breathtaking this place is plus also the boat rides, caves, animals and pagodas to keep you busy.
We would recommend doing a little more research to make sure you have a Halong cruise that is better suited for us and to know what to expect.
Where is Halong Bay Located in Vietnam
Here is the location of Halong bay on the map.
Where to Stay in Halong Bay Vietnam
Halong Bay has limited of guest houses, hostels and hotels. Here are a few places to check out if you are planning to visit Halong Bay Vietnam. There is a lot of over night cruises in Halong bay with prices starting from $200.
Remember to check the reviews and book a place that suits you interests while traveling.
Paradise Luxury Cruise
Rating 9.1, Standard Double Room starts from $400
Paradise Luxury Cruise features a dining area and spacious sun deck with sun beds and lounge beds offering views of Halong Bay.
Free WiFi is available in the public areas. Each air-conditioned cabin in Paradise Luxury Cruise features classic wooden interiors accompanied by sweeping sea views.
The onboard Le Parfum Spa offers relaxing massages and treatments feature Sothys Paris products and therapies. Tai Chi lessons and movie nights are other activities that are offered and much more.
Moon Bay Ha Long Hotel
Rating 8.4, Standard Double Room starts from $30
Moon Bay Ha Long Hotel is situated in Ha Long, within less than 1 km of Tuan Chau Harbour and 19 km of Vincom Plaza Ha Long. Guest rooms at the hotel are fitted with a seating area. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom with free toiletries.
HạLong Legend Hotel
Rating 8.6, Standard Double Room starts from $32
HạLong Legend Hotel is located in Ha Long, within 1.1 km of Queen Cable Car Station. Among the various facilities are a shared lounge and a bar.
.All guest rooms in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV. The rooms include a kettle, while certain rooms also offer a terrace and others also boast sea views. And free WiFi.
Finally, it would be a mistake if you miss on seeing Halong Bay. It is where you can enjoy beautiful marine life, stunning bays and beaches up to historical sites.
And that’s it for now! I’d love to know if this guide on the things to do in Halong Bay Vietnam other than cruises has helped you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if you go too.