Halong Bay Travel Guide (Last updated on December 31, 2019)
Halong Bay – has been repeatedly recognized by UNESCO as the natural heritage of the world with thousands of islands made by creativity and life. The islands here have two types of limestone islands and shale islands, concentrated in two main areas are southeast of Bai Tu Long Bay and southwest of the bay.
The bay has beautiful scenery so this place is a very attractive tourist destination with domestic and international tourists.
- How many days is enough for a first timer in Halong Bay
- What does Halong Bay mean? The origin of the name Halong Bay
Best time to travel to Halong
The best time to visit Ha Long is in the autumn, from Aug to Oct. In addition, from April to May is also a nice time to enjoy the beauty of Bay. In June – July, there’re often storms in here. When it rains, the scenery on the bay will be more gloomy, there may be a ban from the authorities that prohibit the ships/cruises to travel to the bay and stay overnight in the bay.
If you are a fan of festivals, you can come to Ha Long City on April 30 to celebrate Carnaval. Carnaval Ha Long is a tourist brand of Ha Long city and Quang Ninh province. Visitors will be immersed in the space of the festival, performing arts on stage and on the road – to welcome a new summer tourism season, contributing to introducing domestic and international friends about the land, people of Quang Ninh, about Ha Long Bay – Heritage, Natural Wonders of the world.
However, this time also coincides with the big holiday in Vietnam so there will also be many people coming here for entertainment, so the types of services can be fully booked very early.
How to get to Halong
Come to Ha Long
To go from Hanoi to Ha Long is quite easy. You can choose from a variety of means to get there:
Currently, there is a train every day running from Yen Vien station to Ha Long station, but this train is mainly used by small traders to transport goods to big markets. Travel time by train from Hanoi to Ha Long is also very long, about 4-5 hours. Most tourists do not choose this option, but if you are a person who likes to explore and want to try a different feeling, this will also be a reasonable choice.
This is a vehicle that has been chosen by many tourists in recent times with many benefits such as the car can only carry up to 9 guests with spacious and comfortable seats, the car runs on the expressway so the travel time was shortened to about 3 hours only. The ticket price is about 13-15 USD /ticket/way.
In addition, if you book a cruise to visit Ha Long Bay, the companies provide Shuttle buses to pick up passengers from Hanoi Old Quarter to the harbor and vice versa.
If you choose motorbike to travel, the shortest drive from Hanoi to Halong will be 155km with travel time of about 3 hours.
Currently, at all bus stations in Hanoi such as My Dinh, Nuoc Ngam, Giap Bat … there are coaches to Ha Long. The ticket price for the seats is around 100,000 VND and the soft sleeper is 200,000 VND with travel time 3 – 3.5 hours.
Private car transfer
You also book a private transfer to pick you up from your hotel in Hanoi and drop off in Halong. The price for a private transfer Hanoi – Ha Long Bay, 4 seater car with Ac normally between $80 – $100 per car per way.
Moving around Halong
Taxi: will take you to any location that you want quickly, safely and conveniently (compensation for high prices again).
Visiting the bay, you can contact the charters at the Bai Chay cruise ship terminal (+84 33. 846 592); Halong Tourist Boat Station (+84 33.8747481); Duong Hai Company (+84 33.845.42); Ha Long Bay Service Center (+84 33. 844 631); Hai Ha (+84 33. 824 779).
If you don’t take a tour, you can go to the bay on your own and buy a ticket and hire a boat separately, as the joint boat ticket does not include a sightseeing fee. The price for joint boat is around 200,000 VND – 250,000 VND per person. If traveling with a group or family, it is advisable to rent a private boat, at a price of about 2.5 to 3 million VND. The price of cruise ships to Ha Long Bay is about 2.5 – 3 million VND / trip 4 hours – 6 hours (in the tourist season from May to August may be higher). There are 2 types of tickets for 4 hours and 6 hours. Tickets for 6 hours is a bit more expensive.
If you are not on a tight budget, you can choose seaplane as a way to visit Ha Long Bay. Airplanes with 2 seats for pilots, 12 seats for passengers and spacious windows, not only save you travel time but also give you the chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery from the plane. You will have memorable moments of Ha Long Bay from the height of 150-3000 m above sea level.
Alternatively, you can book a cruise to the bay by day, the price depends on the time and type of boat. Please contact us first to avoid high prices.
There are also tours to visit Ha Long Bay 2 days 1 night or 3 days 2 nights for US$100, – per person up.
Where to stay? Nice and good Hotels and Cruises in Halong Bay
Halong has many hotels in the tourist area. Experience when booking a hotel in Halong, you should go early in the week or on weekdays to avoid high room prices, because the weekend usually crowded so the price will be high.
Or you can choose the option to stay overnight on the cruise Ha Long Bay with the tour program 2 days 1 night or 3 days 2 nights with price from US $ 100, – / person
The experiences you should try when coming here
Kayaking is a sport that is popular with foreigners. However, if you come to Halong and skip this experience, it’ll be very regrettable. Sitting on a small Kayak and then flipping the rooftops on the clear blue water jade, watching the gorgeous mountain river, you will feel like immersed in the absolute peace of nature.
In addition to Kayaking, Ha Long Bay with its diverse and rugged terrain including many islands and mountains which is a challenge for those who love climbing. For those who love mountain climbing, the thorny cliffs, the magnificent corners of the mountains, the cliffs, caves in Ha Long Bay will really challenge you.
Stay overnight on the bay
If possible, you should book 2 days / 1 night or 3 days / 2 nights with cruise companies in Ha Long to enjoy the night experience on this bay. This will be an unforgettable experience for you, the combination of experience and sightseeing becomes easier and more convenient than ever. There will be many cruises from 2 to 5 stars to choose from depending on your budget.
Sun World Ha Long Park
Spread over an area of 214ha, Sun World Halong Complex is a world-class amusement park complex.
See the bay from above
Bai Tho Mountain
According to a survey of local authorities, the road to Bai Tho mountain has been seriously degraded, which is very dangerous for mountaineers. To ensure the safety of tourists while waiting for new repair and construction options, the government has asked residents and tourists to respect the ban and not to climb mountains by themselves.
Bai Tho Mountain is a beautiful limestone mountain, higher than 200m above sea level and located in the heart of Ha Long city. From the top, you will see the beautiful scenery. Along the way up the mountain, you’ll see a goat-free or crawl-up bird down below the Bay, so do not forget to bring a camera with a full battery. Take all the moments.
Sun Ferris Wheel and The Queen Cabble
The Queen Cabble runs from Bai Chay to the top of Ba Deo Hill, the tallest cable tower in the world (188,88 m) which is a Guinness World Record, and will be a great place for visitors to admire the panoramic the natural beauty of Ha Long Bay.
This is also the only route leading to the amusement park on the top of Ba Deo Hill – where there is the Sun Wheel. Ticket price for cable car about 300.000VNĐ / person.
Contemplate Halong from a seaplane
With the increasing number of tourists visiting Ha Long Bay, the seaplane was born to provide a more convenient travel service for visitors. Sitting on the seaplane, you can see the beautiful city from a viewing angle at an altitude of 150 to 3000m above sea level. For seaplane booking, you can visit seaplanes.vn for more information.
Places to visit in Halong Bay
Ha Long Bay has many beautiful caves and islands, let Go Explore Vietnam team list out the list of top Ha Long Bay caves you should visit when you travel here:
Sung Sot – Surprising cave
Considered as one of the “legendary” tourist sites, this is the most famous cave in Halong Bay. No need to go to Phong Nha – Ke Bang to admire a splendid cave, 100 stone steps open the entrance to different spaces with colorful light of geological wonder makes visitors overwhelmed. The deepest part of the cave is called the “royal garden”, where you can find a crystal clear lake with rich fauna and flora.
Dau Go Cave
This cave is said to be the largest limestone mountain cave in Ha Long, where it was recorded nearly 2 million years old with a width of 12m and entrance height about 17m. Once you set foot in the cave, you will see the great detail that the photographic art of the photographer is still recording so many visitors that is the light that is reflected from the stalactites. The brilliant colors make you think you are lost in the realms.
Trong cave and The Virgen cave
Located on the two wings of a small mountain ridge east of Bohol Island, about 3 km south-east of Sung Sot Cave, these two caves are 700-800m apart by a small bay.
Ha Long has a large cave system, each cave has its own beauty and the story, the story attached to it. One of the typical Halong bay caves is Luon cave located on the island of Bo Hon, 14 km from Bai Chay. You can see stalactites built-in millions of years in different shapes and sizes.
Thien Canh Son cave
Thien Canh Son is a fairly wild cave located on Bai Tu Long Bay and Ha Long Bay belonging to the Cong Do Sanctuary. This is also an interesting point of interest to both Vietnamese and international visitors thanks to the natural beauty, the stalactite, and the surrounding landscapes.
Thien Cung Grotto
This cave is located near Dau Go cave, the cave is at the height of 25m. This is one of the most beautiful Halong Bay caves that people know about with the width of 10.000 m2 is a very complicated structure, including many levels, many with the ceiling and the wall is very high. Especially when you stand in the cave, you will be overwhelmed by countless blocks of stalactites and stalagmites with strange shapes.
Kim Quy Cave
The cave has a length of over 100m, running in the north-south direction. The front of the cave is opposite to Dam Bac and behind the other side of Soi Sim. Four colors in the Kim Quy cave have water flowing through the stalactites, the stalactites from the ceiling of the slide down, creating a wonderful scene and fanciful.
Floating fishing villages
Ha Long has a long tradition, hidden deeply in each relic, customs, tradition festivals and generations of people living here. Among them, the characterized culture of floating fishing villages has left a great impression on every visitor who has the chance to be here.
If you plan to travel in Halong Bay and want to explore the culture of floating fishing villages featured here, don’t forget to visit the most Halong Bay floating fishing villages list out below:
Cua Van Fishing Villages
Being one of the most famous fishing villages in the area, Cua Van is located in the calm sea area and is one of the largest fishing villages with a population of 733 people over 176 households. And Cua Van floating fishing villages have been listed on the Journeyetc.com website list of the top 16 most beautiful ancient villages in the world (in 2012).
The beauty of this place is accreted from the small house to tie columns against storms. Not only to explore the life of a fisherman, visitors also have the chance to directly observe the beauty of the ocean just below the boat, but this is also a very valuable and unforgettable travel experience.
Vung Vieng Fishing Village
Belonging to Bai Tu Long Bay, Vung Vieng fishing village has a slightly smaller scale. There are about 50 households with a population of 200-300 people. Especially when you come here, you will experience and explore the lives of the fishermen and that is one of the characteristics that make Vung Vieng Fishing Village is one of the destinations should not be missed.
Ba Hang Fishing Village
Ba Hang fishing village is one of the famous floating fishing villages for domestic and foreign tourists when coming to Ha Long. Coming to Ba Hang fishing village, tourists will enjoy the beauty of the mountain river and the sky and experience the life of fishermen.
Bai Tu Long Bay
Bai Tu Long Bay consists of hundreds of large and small islands, many of which are large and populated. This is one of the most attractive destinations after Halong Bay because of the highlight of marine ecology, including attractive beaches, caves … There is also Bai Tu Long national park with diverse fauna and flora.
Lan Ha Bay
Lan Ha Bay is located in the southern part of Ha Long Bay with more than 400 large and small islands with interesting shapes, all islands are also covered with green trees. With a cool climate throughout the year, this place is known as a “sleeping paradise” because the beauty of the bay is not inferior to Ha Long Bay but it seems that tourism has only been developed recently.
Soi Sim Island
Soi Sim Island is about 8.7 ha, located in the west of Ha Long Bay. On the island, there is a primitive forest with many kinds of plants, especially on the island grow many ‘sim” trees, that’s why it’s called Soi Sim. In addition, there is the beach beautiful scenery attracts a lot of tourists flock to each year.
Tuan Chau Island
The island is considered as the most beautiful of the nearly 2,000 islands in Ha Long Bay and is also the only island inhabited.
Co To Island
Tourists who have never been to Co To may hardly imagine how fascinating and charming beauty that it offers. Visiting Co To, you would not only have a chance to become one with the nature in a relaxing and fresh environment of blue clean seawater but also to visit primitive forests, the impressive lighthouse of Co To, Ho Chi Minh’s Monument, Co To Pier, fishing village and natural reefs and islets…
Dragon’s Eye Island (Bai Dong Island)
Located in the south of Bay, Bai Dong is an island adjacent to Bai Tu Long. The island possesses natural white sand beaches and is unique in its beautiful surroundings in the heart of the mountains. If you are looking for a private space for your weekend and family, then perhaps Bai Dong island is a great choice.
Quan Lan Island
Approximately 55 km from Halong city, Quan Lan attracts tourists by its green space, pristine, fresh and historical and cultural relics, marking the glorious victories of the country in the struggles against the invaders.
Cat Ba Island
The scenery of beautiful white sand beach on the island along the limestone cliffs jutting out of the water really makes you feel great. It is also famous for adventure activities such as climbing Hon Nghieng mountain, trekking in the National Park, climbing cliffs without protecting equipment…
Ba Trai Dao beach
Ba Trai Dao Beach is about 22 km to the Bai Chay tourist harbor in the southeast, near Cat Ba island. This beach is famous for its clean, pristine, charming and attractive. However, a small note when coming here is to thoroughly study the water, be careful with the convections flow by this beach as it’s only suitable for swimming only 2-3 hours per day.
Situated at the prime location in the middle of the bay, Titov has about 400 steps leading from the beach to the top view station. This is the place where visitors can admire the beauty of Ha Long Bay at different altitudes. Although there are many boats anchored here, Mt. Titov is still a quiet destination, a new and wonderful Bay views.
Some other travel experiences should be noted
- If you stay overnight on the boat, you shouldn’t bring food or drinks because you will be charged very expensive.
- Do not throw waste into the sea