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Ha Long travel guide -Time to visit and things to do

Updated: May 11

Ha Long Bay is a breathtaking sight, with limestone karsts rising from the sea like frozen waves shaped by enchantment and centuries. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, it's now Vietnam's top tourist destination. Stretching over 1500km2 along the coastline south of China, it's adorned with countless uninhabited islands, floating fishing communities, and intricate cave networks filled with fossils, tales, and wonders.

Best travel time to Ha Long

  • The prime time to visit Ha Long Bay is during spring (March, April) and fall (September, October). The weather is pleasant, offering the best experience throughout the year.

  • Summer, from May to early September, brings sunny and warm days, perfect for swimming under clear blue skies. However, occasional light rain and even unexpected typhoons may disrupt cruises.

  • Winter, lasting from November to March, brings colder weather, especially in January and February, making swimming less ideal. Foggy days and strong monsoons are common during this period.

Best things to do in Ha Long

If you're planning a trip to Ha Long Bay, make sure not to miss out on these top attractions. Ha Long City is home to many famous tourist spots just waiting to be explored.

01 Explore Ha Long Bay caves

Thien Cung cave in Ha Long Bay
Thien Cung cave in Ha Long Bay (Source: Internet)

Discover the wonders of Ha Long Bay's breathtaking caves, sculpted over millions of years. These magnificent formations, adorned with stalagmites and stalactites, are among the city's top attractions. Here are five must-visit caves in Ha Long Bay:

  • Thien Cung Cave: Known as "Heavenly Palace," admired for its colorful stalactites.

  • Sung Sot Cave: Ha Long Bay's most famous cave, boasting stunning rock formations.

  • Dau Go Grotto: A mesmerizing cave renowned for its beauty and grandeur.

  • Luon Cave: Popular for kayaking adventures, offering scenic views and tranquility.

  • Trinh Nu Cave: Embracing a touching love story, bathed in natural sunlight, creating a romantic atmosphere.

02 Cruise through Ha Long Bay

Cruise through Ha Long Bay
Cruise through Ha Long Bay (Source: Internet)

Embark on an unforgettable cruise adventure in Ha Long Bay, a must-do activity for visitors. With a wide range of boats to choose from, catering to different preferences and budgets, there's something for everyone. The calm waters ensure a smooth sailing experience, free from worries about seasickness. Plus, there's no shortage of activities to keep you entertained throughout the journey. From kayaking and cave exploration to visiting floating villages and island hikes, the options are endless. And if relaxation is more your style, simply sit back and soak in the stunning views of uninhabited islands and towering karst formations from the comfort of your cruise ship.

03 Explore Ha Long Bay on a seaplane

Experience the thrill of a seaplane journey from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, offering a breathtaking aerial perspective of the stunning landscape below. Departing from Noi Bai Airport, the 45-minute flight culminates at Tuan Chau Marina, allowing passengers to marvel at the beauty of Ha Long Bay from an altitude of 300 meters. It will be an unforgettable and convenient travel option for exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

04 Take a cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay

Bai Tu Long Bay
Bai Tu Long Bay (Source: Internet)

Bai Tu Long Bay, nestled adjacent to Ha Long Bay, offers a less-trodden path for travelers seeking pristine natural beauty. With its breathtaking landscapes including secluded beaches, towering karst formations, serene floating villages, and captivating caves, Bai Tu Long Bay promises unforgettable experiences. Embark on a cruise to explore renowned destinations like Thien Canh Son Cave, Vung Vieng Village, Ban Chan Island, Cap La Island, and the picturesque Cong Dam area, immersing yourself in the tranquility and charm of this hidden gem.

05 Visit Cua Van Fishing Village

Cua Van Fishing Village stands out as the largest and most renowned fishing village in Ha Long Bay. Home to over 300 tightly-knit households, the village showcases floating houses delicately interconnected to withstand strong winds. Each dwelling is accompanied by a small boat or raft, essential for daily life on the water. For those seeking immersion in village life or insight into the daily rhythms of local inhabitants, a visit to Cua Van Fishing Village offers an ideal opportunity to experience the serene beauty and authentic culture of this captivating community.

06 Relax on the beautiful Ha Long Bay beaches

Ti Top Island in Ha Long Quang Ninh
Ti Top Island in Ha Long Quang Ninh (Source: Internet)

Exploring the pristine beaches of Ha Long Bay is an essential highlight of any visit to this breathtaking destination. From the renowned shores of Ti Top and Ngoc Vung to the inviting stretches of Bai Chay and Ba Trai Dao, each beach offers a unique ambiance and stunning vistas. Whether lounging on the powdery white sand, basking in the gentle sea breeze, or dipping into the crystal-clear waters, visitors can indulge in moments of pure relaxation amidst the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Ha Long Bay.

07 Enjoy not-to-be-missed outdoor activities in Ha Long

  • Go rock climbing at Lan Ha Bay: Nestled to the east of Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay offers a tranquil retreat from the bustling energy of its famous neighbor. With its serene ambiance and stunning scenery, including 400 limestone cliffs and rocky mountains, Lan Ha Bay provides an idyllic setting for rock climbing enthusiasts. Popular among adventure seekers, especially international visitors, rock climbing in Lan Ha Bay promises an exhilarating experience that challenges both mind and spirit. If you're ready to test your courage and embark on an unforgettable adventure, don't miss the opportunity to try rock climbing in Lan Ha Bay.

  • Go kayaking on Mat Rong Island: Kayaking is a must-do outdoor activity when visiting Ha Long Bay, offering a unique way to experience the stunning natural landscapes up close. Mat Rong Island, situated to the south of Ha Long Bay, provides an ideal setting for kayaking adventures with its shallow waters and unspoiled beaches. Imagine paddling gently through the emerald waters, marveling at the limestone mountains, listening to the melodious chirping of birds, and feeling the refreshing breeze against your skin. It's an immersive experience that allows you to connect with nature in a truly unforgettable way.

  • Go diving or snorkeling on Tuan Chau Island: Diving and snorkeling are must-try beach activities when visiting Tuan Chau Island, nestled in the northwest of Ha Long Bay. The island boasts crystal-clear waters and breathtaking underwater landscapes. Adventurers can explore the diverse marine ecosystem teeming with rare corals, seagrass beds, sea turtles, seahorses, and more. Whether diving into the depths or snorkeling near the surface, visitors are in for an unforgettable underwater adventure filled with fascinating marine life.

Mat Rong Island in Ha Long Quang Ninh
Mat Rong Island in Ha Long Quang Ninh (Source: Internet)

08 Explore Cat Ba - the largest island in Ha Long Bay

Cat Ba Island is a unique destination where you can also find accommodations. The island boasts a stunning national park, offering opportunities for scenic walks, wildlife spotting, and panoramic views amidst lush jungle landscapes. Additionally, visitors can enjoy cycling or scootering around the island, kayaking in tranquil waters, or simply unwinding on the pristine beaches. For a broader exploration of the bay, consider joining a day tour by boat departing from Cat Ba.

09 Take photos in front of Quang Ninh Museum

Quang Ninh Museum
Quang Ninh Museum (Source: Internet)

Address: Tran Quoc Nghien street, Hong Gai ward

Opening hours: 8 a.m - 5 p.m

Quang Ninh Museum, often referred to as the "black pearl" of Ha Long City, features a sleek and elegant architectural design. Its entire exterior is finished in black, creating the impression of a massive mirror reflecting its surroundings. This distinctive appearance makes it a popular spot for photography enthusiasts. Beyond its striking facade, the museum serves as a multifunctional space, housing exhibitions, a library, and cultural displays. Visitors can delve into the rich history and culture of the nation, gaining valuable insights into Vietnam's heritage.

10 Stop over in Bai Chay Old Town

Address: Ha Long street, Bai Chay ward

Opening hours: 24/7

Explore Bai Chay Old Town, a captivating blend of history and modernity in Ha Long city. Its unique architecture reflects two different faces: one reminiscent of Hoi An and Hanoi's ancient charm, while the other side bustles with vibrant trade, adorned with cafes and restaurants. Known as "Little Vietnam," this charming town offers a delightful mix of nostalgia and contemporary allure, making it a must-visit spot in Ha Long.

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