Top things to do in Halong Bay

Top things to do in Halong Bay

Halong Bay is famous for thousands of limestone karst mountains dot the tranquil-green waters. Most of the islands are just towering rocks emerging from the ocean, could not put the feet on. However, some are great places with beautiful beaches, amazing caves that could be approached by boat

Halong Bay as its name in Vietnamese the Descending Dragon Bay has been recognized many times by UNESCO as the world's natural heritage. With the irresistible beauty, Halong Bay is the leading tourist destination in Vietnam as well as in the world.

Following the legend, When the enemy army reached the bay, the Jade Emperor immediately ordered the mother dragon and her dragon children to descend into the bay to fight the enemy. The dragons sprayed fire to burn the enemy ships and released many dragon gems to block the enemy. After the victory, the dragons did not fly to the sky but decided to return to the bay. Therefore, this bay is named Descending Dragon or Halong Bay in Vietnamese and the dragon gems turn into large and small islands in the bay.

halong bay descending dragon

Halong Bay - Descending Dragon Bay

For your trip to Vietnam, we suggest the top things to do in Halong Bay

Table of contents

1/ Visit the islands
                          Tuan Chau Island
                          Titov Island
                          Soi Sim Island
                          Cat Ba Island
2/ Explore the caves in Halong Bay
                          Sung Sot cave
                          Thien Cung cave
                          Dau Go cave
                          Bo Nong cave
                          Trinh Nu cave
3/ Overnight cruise in Halong Bay
4/ A day cruise in Halong Bay
5/ Enjoy Halong seafood
                           Seafood on Halong Bay overnight cruises
                           Delicious seafood at the restaurant in Vuon Dao or Peach Garden area
                           BBQ seafood on the beach
6/ Enjoy the Sunworld Halong park
7/ Halong Bay aerial views from seaplane


1/ Visit the Islands

There are thousands of islands in Halong Bay. Some is big, some is small then total of them create the shapes of descending dragon as the name.
In some islands, there will be the cave they tourists could visit by kayak, rowing boat or walk inside it. Even you can stay in a resort or villas in big island

Tuan Chau Island:
The island is located in the north-west of Halong Bay, 8 km south-west of Ha Long City. Tuan Chau Marina is an official gateway to Halong Bay. Everyday, the pier welcomes thousands tourists to visit Halong Bay by cruise.

things to do in halong bay tuan chau island

Tuan Chau Island in Halong Bay

Besides, Tuan Chau island is the complex entertainment with beaches, villas, resorts, golf course and cafés, souvenir shops, and daily entertainment shows
In addition, Tourists could enjoy the water activities in Tuan Chau island such as:  Kayaking, Canoe parachuting, jet skiing, parasailing…
Tuan Chau island is also the “airport” of seaplane Hai Au Aviation for the 15-minute flight over Halong Bay for great sightseeing experience as well as the flight to other destinations.
It is easy to get to Tuan Chau Island by car.

Titov Island:
This is a small island with beautiful beach. Just 14km from Halong city. In the late 19th century, the island was called Cat Nang. On 22 November 1962, President Ho Chi Minh and Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Stepanovich Titov visited the island. To mark the anniversary of that trip, President Ho Chi Minh named the island Titov Island.

The island is about 110m high, taking about 450 steps to reach its peak. From the top, tourists will have great panorama view of Halong Bay. Especially, tourists could enjoy the sunbathe, swimming, climbing to the top of Titov island. Titov beach is like a crescent moon and known for its tranquility and beautiful calm blue waters.

things to do in halong bay titov island

Titov or Titop island with beautiful white sand beach

Therefore, Titov island is regarded as one of the most attractive sites for both international and domestic tourists to visit Halong Bay.
To get to Titov island, the only way is by boat.

Soi Sim Island:
Another beautiful small beach island in Halong Bay, located in the southwest of Halong Bay, about 10km from Tuan Chau pier and 700 meters from Titov Island
The island is named Soi Sim or meaning Rose myrtle plant which mostly live in this island. In summer, the mountain will be filled with purple flowers.

things to do in halong bay soi sim island

Soi Sim island in the middle of tranqil green water of Halong Bay

Soi Sim island is ideal destination for kayaking and swimming, also the watermorcyle for rent services for your thrills. In addition, you can enjoy trekking, relaxing in the wilderness in the middle of Halong Bay.
It is like Titov island, the only way to access Soi Sim is by boat.

Cat Ba Island:
The biggest island, located in the south of Halong bay. This is another paradise for tourists who love nature and exploration. Cat Ba island is also home to plenty of hotels, restaurants, bars.
To explore Cat Ba, tourists need at least 3 days, enjoy at Cat Co 1, 2,3 beach, boat trip to Monkey island, a small island belongs to Cat Ca island, fishing villages in Cai Beo pier, fish or squid fishing at night, trekking in Cat Ca national park, conquer Ngu Lam peak, trekking in Viet Hai Village, Kayaking and swimming in Lan Ha Bay. They are all interesting activities that could not be missed when visiting Cat Ba island.

things to do in halong bay cat ba island

Cat Ba island - A tourist destination in the south of Halong Bay

To access Cat Ba island, there are many ways, by boat or by car.

>> Read more:
How to get from Ha Long Bay to Cat Ba island?
How to get from Hanoi to Cat Ba island?

2/ Explore the caves in Halong Bay

With thousands islands in Halong Bay, so there is no surprise if it has many caves. Many found and many is still in the mountain that have not discovered. The main caves that tourists could easily access to explore would be:
Sung Sot cave ( Surprising cave), Thien Cung cave ( Paradise cave), Dau Go cave ( Driftwood cave), Trinh Nu cave( Virgin cave). Bo Nong Cave (Pelican Cave)…
To access to visit these caves, the only way is by boat.

Sung Sot Cave (Surprising cave)
Sung Sot cave in Ha Long is one of the most beautiful caves in Quang Ninh, with strange and unique shapes. Sung Sot Cave is located on Bo Hon Island. In 1901, a French scientist came here and named the cave "Grotte de la surprise", meaning the cave is amazing because of the natural beauty that nature has bestowed on this place.

This is a large and beautiful cave in the most beautiful of Ha Long Bay. The way to Sung Sot cave is under the forest canopy, the stone steps are craggy. The cave is divided into two main compartments, the entire first compartment is like a large and spacious theater. The ceiling of the cave is covered with a layer of shiny "velvet carpet", countless "chandeliers" of stalactites and stalactites, stone statues, stone elephants, seals, raspberries, flowers... all seems to be moving in a fantasy world as real as a dream. Enter compartment 2 by a small path. A stream of bright light poured in, opening a completely different scene, a vast cave that can accommodate thousands of people. Going inside, there are many strange sceneries, such as stalactites, ancient banyan trees with luxuriant foliage, sea bears, dinosaurs... At the top of the cave, suddenly a royal garden is in front of our eyes, a clear lake, charming scenery.

With its magnificent beauty, this cave was voted by the association of Czech travel agencies and brokers as one of the 10 most beautiful caves in the world in January 2012

things to do in halong bay sung sot cave

The beauty of Sung Sot cave ( Surprising cave) in Halong Bay

Thien Cung cave (Heaven palace cave)
Thien Cung caveis located on Dau Go Island (southwest of Ha Long Bay) at an altitude of about 25m above sea level, about 4km from the pier. The cave is nearly 10,000m2 wide with a complex structure, surrounded by very high cliffs and stalactites and stalagmites with many strange shapes.

In the legend, Thien Cung cave is the place where the wedding lasted for 7 days and 7 nights of the Dragon King with a beautiful daughter in the human world named May meaning Cloud. To congratulate the couple, dragons flew, elephants danced, Nam Cao Bac Dau gods, all they came to the party, making the whole Thien Cung cave lively.
Till to this day, when visiting Thien Cung cave, visitors still think they can admire this bustling wedding scene because of the shapes of stalactites in the cave.

things to do in halong bay paradise cave

The colorful lights in Thien Cung ( Heaven Palace cave) with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites

Dau Go Cave (Driftwood cave)
Dau Go caveis next to Thien Cung cave. It has an area of about 5,000m2 with the entrance of the cave 17m wide and 12m high. Scientists believe that the cave was formed about 2 million years ago. The cave has an ancient and unspoiled beauty with many strange stalagmites.

According to the legend of fishermen on Ha Long Bay, Dau Go cave was originally named Giau Go cave ( or hide the wood) because during the resistance war against the Mongol invaders in the 13th century, Dau Go cave was where Tran Dynasty soldiers hid their boats, wooden stakes before bringing them down to the Bach Dang river. Fishermen called it Giau Go cave, gradually calling it a wrong name to Dau Go (Driftwood cave).

things to do in halong bay dau go cave

The ancient Dau Go or Driftwood cave in Halong Bay

Bo Nong cave(Pelican cave)
It is about 200 m2, the bottom of the cave is wide, flat but not deep, the wall has many stalactites. There is a crack in the ceiling of the cave so light can pass through it. The bottom of the cave is tight, in front of the cave is an island, so the light in the cave is never too bright. In the past, this cave had many pelicans come to live.

things to do in halong bay bo nong cave

Bo Nong cave ( Pelican cave)

Trinh Nu cave(Virgin cave)
Or the old French called La Vierge (the girl's cave). Entering the cave right in the middle is a stalagmite with the shape of a girl, lying with her long flowing hair. It's like the image of a girl wearily waiting and look out into the distance. Therefore, this place becomes a symbol of eternal love.

According to the legend, on Ha Long Bay, there is a very beautiful fishing girl. The family is poor; her family has to work for the landlord in the area. Seeing her beauty, the landlord forced her family to marry her as his concubine. The girl refused because she had a lover who was a poor guy who was fisherman. That young man is going out to sea to prepare for their wedding day. Unable to force her, the landlord exiled her to a wild island. The girl was starving and exhausted. In a terrible windy and rainy night, she turned to stone here. The place where the girl petrified is Trinh Nu cave.

things to do in halong bay trinh nu cave

The stalactites in Trinh Nu or Virgin cave

3/ Overnight cruise in Halong Bay

Overnight on Halong Bay is a "must have" experience for all foreign tourists visiting Vietnam in general and Ha Long in particular. There are many overnight cruises in Ha Long Bay with quality from 3 stars to 5 stars. Satisfy customer needs. Visitors can choose the program 2 days 1 night or 3 days 2 nights. Thus, they have an experience and really relaxing trip with the activities according to the cruise's program.

things to do in halong bay overnight cruise

Overnight on a cruise in Halong Bay is a top things to do for the great experience

Overnight cruise meals are included in the tour package. On the cruise, tourists will enjoy the scenery of Ha Long Bay, where the ship will pass according to predetermined routes. Tourists will participate in scheduled activities such as: Kayak to visit the bay, visit lagoon. Join a cooking class on the cruise in the afternoon. And fishing, squid fishing in Halong Bay in the evening. Not to mention the visits to the beautiful caves on the bay or the fishing villages.

>> Read more: The list for overnight in Halong bay cruise

4/ A day cruise in Halong Bay

For those who do not have enough time for overnight on cruise. They have another option is to take a cruise to visit the bay on a 4 or 6 hour day trip. In the morning they can depart from Hanoi to go to Ha Long. In the afternoon, they can go back to spend the night in Hanoi.
Or for really different experience, tourists could combine a seaplane flight from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Enjoy a day trip then fly back to Hanoi

>> Read more: Halong bay day trip with price

5/ Enjoy Halong Seafoods

Traveling to Halong Bay, in addition to enjoying the beautiful natural scenery, visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy delicious seafood dishes. So where can tourists enjoy seafood?

things to do in halong bay - seafood

Many options for seafood in Halong Bay

Seafood on Halong Bay overnight cruises
This is the most traditional way for tourists to know about seafood on Ha Long Bay. The more luxurious cruises, the more seafood meals will be. Meals are also beautifully decorated to surprise visitors, leaving a memorable mark on a visit to Ha Long Bay.

Delicious seafood at the restaurant in Vuon Dao or Peach Garden area
This is an area where many hotels and restaurants are located, from budget to high-end. Visitors have many options for a hearty seafood meal in the area of Vuon Dao - Ha Long Bay. However, because this is the tourist center of Ha Long, the price is a bit higher. In return, you are free to choose many different types of seafood.

BBQ seafood on the beach
Halong Bay has a large beach along with many small islands with pristine beaches, so enjoying a seafood BBQ party on the beach is extremely wonderful. There are many options for visitors from seafood restaurants along the beaches to cruises on Halong Bay. You may have to order in advance to set up a seafood BBQ on the beach of an island. If you go with your group, BBQ is really fun, but if you go with a couple, it's really romantic with a private space along with the sound of waves and the wind of the sea.

things to do in halong bay - BBQ seafood at halong beach

Romantic beach for BBC seafood in Halong Bay

6/ Enjoy the Sunworld Halong park

Spreading over an area of 214ha, Sun World Halong Complex is a world-class amusement park complex consisting of two main areas: a coastal entertainment complex and an amusement park atop Ba Deo - which is connected by a unique cable car system.
Very suitable for family vacation with children. Endless fun of entertainment at Dragon Park, Typhoon Waterpark, Sun Wheel, Zen Garden. For more thrilling, tourists could join in roller coaster rides and water slides, the Sun World Park is a perfect destination for summer vacation.

things to do in halong bay - sunworld halong park

Sunworld Halong park at night in the bank of Halong Bay

7/ Halong Bay aerial views from Seaplane

Visitors have the option for a tour of Ha Long Bay by seaplane. Flights depart from Hanoi and then fly to Halong Bay or you can also enjoy the flight at Halong Bay. There are no words that can describe the feeling of flying on a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
You will have a panoramic view of Ha Long Bay from the seaplane. A majestic beauty on the quiet green bay.
This service is provided exclusively by Hai Au Aviation and costs about 100 USD for a 25-minute flight around the bay. Or about 400 USD for a round trip flight from Hanoi.

things to do in halong bay seaplanes

Hai Au seaplane for unforgettable experience when visiting Halong Bay

>> Read more: Halong Bay trip with seaplane

Above are the top things to do in Halong Bay. Visitors can choose for themselves the most suitable activities for their trip to Ha Long Bay.
If tourists have the good budget and enough time, you can enjoy all the recommended top things to do in Halong Bay as IZITOUR suggested above.

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