Things to do in HaLong Bay: A journey to discover natural treasures

Famous as one of the natural wonders of the world, Ha Long Bay is always the dream destination of many domestic and foreign tourists. This place possesses breathtaking beauty with thousands of limestone islands undulating amid turquoise water, along with a diverse ecosystem. Things to do in Halong Bay, visitors can not only admire the majestic natural landscape but also have the opportunity to experience countless interesting activities. In this article, Vietnam Motorcycle Tours Club will help you make the most of your time and fully experience the wonders that Ha Long Bay has to offer.

Introduction to Halong Bay

Halong Bay, meaning Descending Dragon Bay, is a breathtaking natural wonder in the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts thousands of towering limestone karsts and islets, rising majestically from emerald waters, creating a mesmerizing seascape that has captivated travelers for centuries. Its unique geography and rich cultural heritage make it one of the most sought-after destinations in Southeast Asia.
The name HaLong Bay comes from an ancient Vietnamese legend. The legend tells the story of a dragon who descended from the sky and created the islands and islets with its flailing tail, thus protecting the land from invaders. The legend adds a mystical charm to the already enchanting landscape of Halong Bay.
Halong Bay should be on your list of must-visit places if you’re planning a trip to Vietnam. With abundant activities and sights to see, Halong Bay promises an unforgettable experience for every type of traveler. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the top things to do when visiting Halong Bay and some helpful tips to make the most out of your journey.

See more: What time to visit Ha Long Bay? Detailed decoding

introduction to halong bay

Things to do in Halong Bay

Visit famous caves such as Sung Sot Cave and Thien Cung Cave

One of the top things to do in Halong Bay is to explore its famous caves. The area is home to over 2,000 limestone karsts and islets, many of which have hidden caves waiting to be discovered. Two of the most popular ones are Sung Sot Cave, also known as Surprise Cave, and Thien Cung Cave, also known as Heavenly Palace Cave.

Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave)

Located on Bo Hon Island, Sung Sot Cave is one of the largest and most impressive caves in Halong Bay. It’s accessible by a short trek up a series of stairs, which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The entrance to the cave is adorned with vibrant green foliage, giving it an almost mystical feel.
Once inside, you’ll be greeted by jaw-dropping stalactite and stalagmite formations illuminated by colorful lights. These formations have been shaped over millions of years, creating a surreal, otherworldly atmosphere. The cave is divided into two chambers, each with its unique features. In the first chamber, look for the “Great Wall of Vietnam,” a large rock formation resembling the Great Wall of China. In the second chamber, watch for the “Fairy Lake,” a beautiful pool of water surrounded by towering limestone cliffs.
The journey through the cave may take around 45 minutes, but the effort is richly rewarded. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking natural wonders that await you inside the cave.

Visit famous caves such as Sung Sot Cave and Thien Cung Cave

Thien Cung Cave (Heavenly Palace Cave)

Located on Dau Go Island, Thien Cung Cave is known for its dramatic and colorful rock formations. It’s accessible via a narrow pathway that leads to a steep set of stairs. Once inside, you’ll be mesmerized by light and shadows, creating a kaleidoscope of colors on the limestone walls.
The cave has three main sections, each with its unique charm. The first section, the “Great Hall,” features impressive stalactites and stalagmites resembling fairies and mythical creatures. The second section, the “Royal Court,” has a large ceiling showing a sculpture of an emperor and his soldiers. The third section, known as the “Great Crevice,” offers spectacular views of the bay from a small cave ceiling opening.
Thien Cung Cave also has a legend attached to it, similar to the legend of HaLong Bay. It is said that a beautiful fairy used to live in the cave, and she would come down to earth to bathe in the bay’s emerald waters. If you’re lucky, you may glimpse her during your visit.

Cruise around the bay

One of the best ways to explore Halong Bay is by taking a cruise. Many tour companies offer day cruises and overnight stays on traditional junk boats. Local fishermen have used these boats for centuries, and they have now been converted into comfortable and luxurious accommodations for tourists.
A typical day cruise will take you around the bay, offering spectacular views of the towering limestone cliffs, hidden caves, and floating fishing villages. You’ll also get to swim, kayak, and even indulge in a seafood feast on board. Some cruises also offer activities like cooking classes, Tai Chi sessions, and squid fishing at night.
For those who want a more intimate experience, an overnight stay on a junk boat is highly recommended. You’ll get to witness the beauty of Halong Bay at different times of the day, from sunrise to sunset and even under the stars. The gentle rocking of the boat, surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the bay, makes for a relaxing and romantic experience.

cruise around the bay

Visit floating fishing villages

Halong Bay is home to several floating fishing villages where the locals have lived for generations. A visit to one of these villages gives you a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the fishermen and their families. You can take a small boat to explore the village, interact with the locals, and learn about their daily routines.
Vung Vieng Floating Village is one of the largest villages in Halong Bay and is a popular tourist destination. Here, you’ll find houses built on wooden stilts, surrounded by calm waters and lush greenery. The villagers often invite tourists into their homes to share a meal and exchange stories, creating a unique cultural experience.

visit floating fishing villages

Try kayaking or swimming

For those seeking more adventure, kayaking and swimming are great ways to explore the hidden corners of Halong Bay. Many cruises offer kayaking as part of their itinerary, where you can paddle through narrow passages and enter caves that are inaccessible by boat. It’s also a great way to get closer to the towering limestone cliffs and see the bay differently.
Swimming is another popular activity in Halong Bay, with its calm and clear waters providing the perfect setting for a dip. Some cruise companies even offer swimming stops at secluded beaches, where you can relax and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.

try kayaking or swimming

Enjoy a seafood feast on board

No visit to Halong Bay is complete without indulging in a seafood feast on a traditional junk boat. The local fishermen catch fresh seafood daily, ensuring that every meal is delicious and of the highest quality. From succulent prawns and fish to mouth-watering squid and clams, there’s something for every seafood lover.
During the feast, you’ll taste some of the freshest and most flavorful dishes, cooked using traditional methods and served on beautifully decorated plates. With the stunning backdrop of Halong Bay, it’s an unforgettable dining experience that will leave you wanting more.

enjoy a seafood feast on board

Watch the sunset from a panoramic perspective on a helicopter

For a truly unique and unforgettable experience, take a helicopter tour over HaLong Bay during sunset. You’ll witness the spectacular scenery from above, with the golden glow of the setting sun casting a magical light on the limestone cliffs and emerald waters. It’s a breathtaking sight that will stay with you long after your trip has ended.

Go trekking on Cat Ba Island

For a break from the water and a chance to explore the land, head to Cat Ba Island. Located in the southern part of Halong Bay, it’s the largest island in the area and offers a variety of activities for nature lovers.
One of the top things to do on Cat Ba Island is trekking in the Cat Ba National Park. The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including rare species of monkeys and birds. Several trails of varying difficulty levels offer stunning views of the bay and its surrounding islands. You can also visit the nearby Viet Hai fishing village, which is accessible only by boat or on a two-hour hike through the jungle.

go trekking on cat ba island

Mistakes to avoid when going to HaLong Bay

While HaLong Bay promises an unforgettable experience, there are a few common mistakes that tourists should try to avoid:

  1. Not doing enough research: With so many tour companies and options available, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable and reliable one. Look for reviews and recommendations from fellow travelers to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.
  1. Not packing appropriately: HaLong Bay has a tropical climate, so make sure to pack light and comfortable clothing. Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses are also essential as the sun can be quite strong during the day. If you plan on swimming or kayaking, don’t forget to pack a swimsuit and a change of clothes.
  1. Not respecting the environment: HaLong Bay is a stunning natural wonder, and it’s important to respect and protect the environment. Be mindful of your waste, avoid littering, and follow all rules and regulations set by the authorities.
  2. Not being aware of scams: As with any popular tourist destination, there may be some scams targeting unsuspecting tourists. Be wary of overly cheap tours or pushy vendors, and always double-check prices and services before agreeing to anything.

See more: Places to visit in HaLong Bay: Journey to admire “the most beautiful bay in the world”

mistakes to avoid when going to halong bay


Halong Bay is a natural wonder that has captured the hearts of travelers for centuries. Its stunning scenery, rich cultural heritage, and abundant activities make it an unforgettable experience for everyone. From exploring hidden caves to cruising around the bay and indulging in a seafood feast, things to do in Halong Bay something for every taste. So, if you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, add this breathtaking destination to your itinerary and immerse yourself in its beauty and charm.

Vietnam Motorbike Tours Club – a leading tour operator with many years of experience – will give wings to your adventure dreams with unforgettable journeys. Vietnam Motorbike Tours is always committed to providing the highest quality service, ensuring your comfort and safety throughout the journey.
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