15 Best Things to Do in Ha Long Bay

June 27, 2023

Mesmerizing Halong Bay needs almost no introduction as a wonderful destination with spectacular scenery and an abundance of things to do. The vibrating Halong city itself also hosts a number of features to discover.

In addition to exploring Halong Bay and Halong City, you can also hop over to neighboring areas and enjoy different aspects of local life. These activities can bring you once-of-a-lifetime experiences. Plan your trip with our bucket list of 15 things to do in Halong Bay below.

1. Discover marvelous caves

Cave exploring is a must-do activity on Halong Bay. Thanks to unique geological and archeological values, the amazing cave system on Halong Bay dating back thousands of years ago become a signature for any first-timers.

Caves and grottoes have been formed with intricate stalactites and stalagmites and winding, mysterious chambers. Some notable giant and beautiful caves are Surprise Cave, Thien Cung Cave, and Luon Cave on Halong Bay, Dark and Bright Cave on Lan Ha Bay, and Thien Canh Son Cave on Bai Tu Long Bay. Those caves are ideally located on prominent islands with easy access by tender boats and thus suitable for both adults and children to visit.

Bo Nau Cave - Halong Bay

2. Visit ancient fishing villages and delve deeper into fishermen's daily lives

Halong Bay is home to a number of thousand-year-old rustic floating villages with fishing as the main livelihood. Among those, Cua Van floating village is the largest and oldest one on Halong Bay. Coming there, you can have a glimpse of colorful houseboats and rafts sitting next to each other. There are also chances to meet local people and get to know their daily lives as well as work tasks.

Besides, Viet Hai fishing village is also a promising destination where you can experience a lot of activities such as cycling, trekking, boat paddling, and swimming.

 Floating village in Halong Bay

3. Go Kayaking
Kayaking is a typical activity included in any traveler's bucket list while visiting Halong Bay. This has been by far the best way to admire the bay's beauty at a close distance and in a relaxing way.

You and your partner can row a kayak independently around famous kayaking areas spots like Luon cave, Vung Vieng fishing village, Tung Sau pearl farm, Cong Do island, Ba Trai Dao area, Ao Ech area, and so on. Almost all-day and overnight cruises have this activity in the itinerary. Alternatively, you can leisurely sit on a bamboo boat rowed by a local and enjoy the bay's view. The best time for kayaking is from March to June and October to December when the weather is predictable without cancelations due to storms and heavy rains.

 Kayaking through a cave in Halong bay

4. Stay overnight on a cruise ship

A trip to Halong Bay cannot be completed without its most fascinating activity which is sleeping on a cruise. You can choose either 1 night or 2 nights onboard.

Apart from an indulgent night's sleep, an overnight cruise offers you a lot of fun-filled night entertainment such as playing board games, night squid fishing, singing karaoke, watching movie night, and so on. In the early morning, there is a tai chi or yoga session on deck before breakfast.

 Overnight cruises docking near Ti Top Island

5. Take a day cruise

Embarking on a day cruise is a great option if you are pressed for time but still want to capture the splendor of Halong Bay. Day cruises on Halong Bay are numerous with different traveling time (4 - 8 hours). Those cruises follow 5 main routes to famous tourist sites on Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, and Bai Tu Long Bay. Route 2 to Thien Cung cave - Dau Go - Dinh Huong - Fighting Cock islet - Sung Sot cave - Titop island is the most popular one.

Highly recommended day cruises on Halong Bay that you should take into consideration are Jade Sails cruise, Genesis Day cruise, Estella Premium Day cruise, Paradise Luxury Day cruise, and so on.

6. Explore Sun World Halong Park

Sun World Halong Park is renowned as a world-class amusement complex in northern Vietnam where regardless of your preferences, you will definitely get entertained. The park can be visited year-round but best to come between May to September.

The park is located in the city center, a short walk from the Bai Chay area. It includes three major areas: Queen Cable Car & Mystic Mountain, Dragon Park, and Typhoon Water Park. Here you can engage in multiple water-based activities, thrilling games with distinct difficulty levels, and extreme feelings such as Mystery Journey, Cyclone Dance, or Reptile Army. The ticket prices vary from 750.000 - VND 550.000 full combo per adult or child above 1.3m and child below 1.3m respectively.

 Sunworld Halong Complex

7. Play at King Kong amusement park on Tuan Chau Island

Tuan Chau Island is a precious pearl of Quang Ninh province possessing Tuan Chau Park or King Kong Park - a large entertainment venue. The highlights of the park are exciting games such as slides, fairy trains, spinning wheels, and roller coasters. More interestingly, in this water park, you have an opportunity to watch great performances of dolphins and seals.

With a long and beautiful coastline, Tuan Chau beach is also a good spot for swimming, relaxing, kayaking, windsurfing, and jet-skiing. Additionally, if you prefer golf, there is an international-standard golf course including 27 holes on this island.

 Tuan Chau Island, Halong Bay

8. Watch Water Music Show on Tuan Chau Island

Watching the Water Music show is one of the most exciting night activities when you visit Tuan Chau Island, which is a 30-minute transfer from the mainland. The show lasts 40 minutes comprising many impressive music performances shaped by water and fire under vivid lights.

The show has a large scale accommodating up to 12.000 seats. The entrance ticket prices vary from VND 30.000 to VND 250.000/per person depending on the position.


9. Wander around Ha Long night market

One of the best ways to soak up the local atmosphere is to take a leisure walk around the Halong night market. This is a complex of over 300 stalls where you can find almost everything from clothes, and souvenirs to local dishes. The best part of this market is perhaps to sample local specialties namely grilled chopped squid, horseshoe crab, and nodding cake.

The night market boasts a vibrant atmosphere and is quite safe but you should still pay attention to personal properties. Besides, do not forget to bargain to get better prices for items.


10. Sample local seafood and specialties

Halong is regarded as a primary destination for fresh seafood and a diverse range of special local cuisine. It is best known for "cha muc" (grilled chopped seafood) which can be found in any local market, "sam" (horseshoe crab), oyster, "ngan" (austriella corrugata), and more. What's more, you can also have a chance to try exotic dishes like nodding cake, "sa sung" (sipunculus nudus), or delicious Halong yogurt.

 Seafood in Halong bay

11. Visit the Complex of Yen Tu Monuments and Landscapes

If you seek integration of history, religion, and nature, the ultimate option is the Complex of Yen Tu Monuments and Landscapes. The site is also one of the most famous religious attractions of Vietnam. Within the complex, there are a number of major attractions namely Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen Monastery, Dong Pagoda, Giai Oan Spring, Yen Tu national forest, and other Buddhist sanctuaries. Additionally, Yen Tu Mountain features a primary destination for hikers to trek to the top and admire panoramic landscapes.

 Yen Tu Mountain Landscapes

12. Swim on primitive beaches

Blessed with pristine beaches, Halong Bay is an ideal place for swimming and sunbathing. The beaches are surrounded by limestone islands resulting in calm waves and a refreshing atmosphere.

Some of the best locations for swimming on Halong Bay are Ba Trai Dao beach, Titop beach, Cat Co beach 1, 2, 3 and Soi Sim beach. However, those beaches can sometimes be overcrowded, especially during peak tourist season.

13. Explore Cat Ba Island

Along with Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island is a hidden gem witnessing a surge of visitors, especially nature lovers in recent years. The vast majority of the island is Cat Ba national park which hosts a plethora of dense jungles, rich fauna and flora system, and a variety of wild species. An excursion to Cat Ba Island may bring you a chance to see golden-headed langur, an endemic species.

It is ideal to visit Halong Bay and then take a high-speed ferry to Cat Ba Island. Here you can take part in a number of activities like swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, trekking, and rock climbing.

 Cat Ba Island from above

14. Take a snorkeling or scuba diving tour

Snorkeling or scuba diving is one of the most fabulous underwater activities on Halong Bay that you should not miss. The bay's emerald water is bestowed with stupendous marine life. You can find hundreds of coral reefs and sea creatures contributing to the rich sea biodiversity.

Snorkeling and scuba diving tours are best to be enjoyed in Cat Ba island, Lan Ha Bay, Cong Do area, Vung Ha island, and Co To island. You can combine a snorkeling/ scuba diving tour with a stay in a rustic-style resort on Cat Ba island.

15. Watch the sunset at Cannon Fort

Cannot Fort, a historical area on Cat Ba Island is a well-known spot for admiring the sunset. The site is set on a hill with a height of 177m. As you take a 30-minute hike through the narrow jungle trail to Cannot Fort, a breathtaking panoramic view of Cat Ba Island will pay off. Incredible views asides, you will have a glance at a former war zone and its remnants. The entrance fee is VND 40.000 per person.

 Sunset view from Cannon Fort, Cat Ba Island