Halong Bay overview
Halong Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site’s outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest.
Outstanding Universal Value
It covers an area of 43,400 ha and including over 1600 islands and islets. Most of which are uninhabited and unaffected by humans, it forms a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars and is an ideal model of a mature Karst landscape developed during a warm and wet tropical climate. The property’s exceptional scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest.
The outstanding value of the property is centered around the drowned limestone karst land forms, displaying spectacular pillars. With a variety of coastal erosion features such as arches and caves which form a majestic natural scenery. The repeated regression and transgression of the sea on the limestone karst over geological time has produced a mature landscape of clusters of conical peaks. And isolated towers which were modified by sea invasion, adding an extra element to the process of lateral undercutting of the limestone towers and islands.
All elements necessary to sufficiently protect the outstanding scenic and geological values of the Halong Bay property are included within the boundaries of the property and its size and area provide sufficient integrity for the large scale morphological processes to operate unhindered. It benefits from being completely surrounded by a large and extensive buffer zone with both the size and area providing sufficient integrity for the large scale geo-morphology processes to operate unhindered.
Protection and management requirements
Ha Long Bay was established as a historical and cultural relics and classified as a National Landscape Site in 1962. Subsequently designated as a Special National Landscape Site under the Cultural Heritage Law amended in 2009, land tenure is held by the Provincial Government. The property is protected effectively by a number of relevant provincial and national laws as well as governmental decrees including; the Cultural Heritage Law, the Bio-Diversity Law, the Tourism Law, the Environmental Protection Law, the Fishery Law and Marine Transport Law. Under these laws, any proposed action within the property that could have significant impact on the property’s values must have official approval from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, along with other relevant ministries.
Best things to do in Halong Bay
Halong Bay day trip or overnight ?
The decision to visit Halong Bay in one day, or take an overnight cruise, comes down to two factors: budget and time. There are benefits to day trips, which involve approximately four hours of cruising and cruising the Bay on longer, overnight trips.
Halong Bay Day Trip ?
If you have limited time and a smaller budget and don’t mind long road trips, a day trip may be for you. Generally, you’ll be picked up at around 8:00 AM from your hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter or other designated meeting point, drive the 3.5 to 4 hours to Halong — with a 30 minute comfort stop — and arrive at Halong Bay at roughly noon. Lunch will be served on the boat while you cruise the islands and islets, and there may be one or two excursions — for example kayaking or a cave visit — in the afternoon. You’ll depart Halong Bay for Hanoi around 5:00 PM and arrive back in Hanoi at around 9:00 PM.
Halong Bay overnight cruise ?
An overnight cruise is a much more leisurely affair, and allows you to see and experience more of Halong Bay, particularly if you choose the 2-Night, 3-Day option. You can enjoy a wide range of excursions, designed to give you a deeper insight into this UNESCO World Heritage site, and participate in a variety of onboard activities. Watch the sun rise over the limestone karsts while performing Thai Chi on the sun deck, take a Vietnamese cooking class, pamper yourself with a spa treatment or simply watch the sun set with a cocktail or two during happy hour. After dinner where you will dine on world class cuisine, relax with a movie or feel all the excitement of squid fishing with the locals. Staying two nights ensures that you make the most of your time in Halong Bay as your cruise ventures farther into more secluded areas of the Bay where there are fewer tourists.
Halong Bay day trip or overnight ?
If you know you don’t want to do a day trip — and most day trippers to Halong Bay wished they had spent at least one night in Halong Bay — and you are having difficulty choosing which how many nights you’d like to stay, a 1-Night, 2-Day cruise will be sufficient. A 2-Night, 3-Day cruise, which covers Halong and Bai Tu Bays is the perfect choice for a full experience of this ancient, mysterious landscape.
Check out the : Halong Bay Day Trip & Halong Bay Overnight cruise details bellowed before you decide!
Halong Bay Day Trip
Halong Bay Day Trip a perfect option for busy travelers who have limited time but still want to get a glance of the amazing Halong Bay. A day trip to Halong bay can offer you an overview of the Bay with at least 3.5 hours or more (4 hours, 4.5 hours, 6 hours, 6.5 hours, 8 hours, and 10 hours) cruising time in the Bay. Even if with the limited time frame, you will have a wonderful opportunity not only to visit beautiful attractions in Halong Bay such as Titov Island and Heavenly Cave. A Halong Bay day trip doesn’t mean that you will be limited to attend in various activities. On the contrary, you still can take part in a plenty of activities such as paddling through Luon Cave by a sampan, swimming in Soi Sim Beach.
Halong bay day tour 6 hour cruise
Some companies offers Halong Bay day tour 6 hour cruising: Cozy Bay Cruise, Lazalee (6.5 hours Day Cruise); Dragon King, Wego Halong Bay. All boats exploring Heaven Cave, kayaking or boat rowing in the deep blue sea waters (Alova Day Cruise); or admiring impressive limestone islets like Fighting Cocks, Duck, Finger, Incense Burner, and Dig shape stone.
Halong Bay day tour 4 hour cruise
Beside the overnight cruise, Halong Bay day tour 4 hour cruise is also a great option for travelers to discover the nature wonder. With our high-standard facilities as brand new limousine van, go on new expressway in return, iron trendy cruise, full of experienced Tour guide, supported by new audio guide technology, nicely crew . we ensure you will have memorable trip to Halong bay with Us to get experience in World nature wonder, getting knowledge about floating life, amazing mountain cave, explore tranquil scenery, touching the nature by bamboo sampan or self-kayakinng…
Halong bay overnight cruise
Halong bay overnight cruise the best way to enjoy Halong Bay. Now kick start your journey by hiring a boat cruise through the bay that will let you indulge in the breathtaking vistas of islets. There are plenty of options when it comes to cruising in Halong Bay. Halong bay wins tourists’ heart by a number of junk boat cruises to select from. These are said to offer both day and overnight trips, with comparative prices. From the junk, it is quite possible to navigate some magnetic islands as well as reach concealed caves and less-visited bays by kayak. On board, you are able to enjoy freshly cooked spice squid and drink cool cocktails on the polished top deck when the sun goes down. Boats have different sizes, such as 10-, 20-, or 24-cabin vessels. In case you would like to gain an intimate experience, then booking a private boat is a fine choice.
Can you swim at Halong Bay?
Yes, off course! You can swim in Halong Long!
The bay is favorably blessed with powdered beaches as well as clear and calm water. Hence, it is a stunning place for swimming. Visitors have an unlimited number of charming and beautiful beaches to chill out, such as Ba Trai Dao, Soi Sim, Ngoc Vung, Ti Top, etc. Most of these prominently feature idyllic sands and pure water so that you’re totally able to indulge in the sandbank while contemplating the eye-catching scenery. Avoid going swimming in later autumn and winter as the water is cold.
Kayaking in Halong Bay
Halong Bay is one of the best places to swim in Vietnam. Diving and kayaking are other water sports that you can indulge in. Many private operators close to the bay offer equipment on rent for these adventure activities. The serene water and exquisite islands of the bay make it totally perfect for going kayaking. This activity is done by many travelers once they spend a cruise here. For them, it is a wonderful opportunity to discover the Halong’s beauty and essence by themselves. If you are not expert at kayaking, there is no need to worry. The reason is that the junk’s crew is willing to provide you with detailed instructions.
Where to visit for admiring the superb coral reef and various systems of sea creatures? Try some sea zones around Monkey Island, Co To Island, Cu Island, and Sen Island.
Have a dinner in a cave
Planning a trip to Halong Bay with your partner? Want to have the romantic set up to amaze his/her? Then dining in a stunning cave is an excellent choice. Several luxury cruises with 3 days and 2 nights offer this activity, such as Dragon Pearl Junk. The extra price is costly since it usually includes set-up fee, personnel, food, and hiring the cave. After stepping inside, you and your lover will be impressed by a thousand candles and rose petals. Sweet scenery, sparkling candles, and exotic dishes will certainly create a romantic space. Plenty tourists successfully proposed to their special ones within this sweet theme.
See Halong Bay from helicopter or seaplane
Get a bird’s eye view of this marvel of nature as you take a helicopter tour from Hanoi to Halong. Do not miss the experience of a lifetime! As one of the top things to do when you’re in Halong Bay, a view from helicopter/seaplane is truly a wonderful way to marvel at the beauty and grandeur of the bay. There are two convenient options for tourists to consider: By helicopter and by seaplane.
In fact, traveling to the bay by helicopter is quite expensive. In general, it can cost about over $7.000 by MI-17 (about 24 people) and $13.000 by EC- 155 (about 12 people). But, the cost is often fixed, no matter how many people take part in. For that reason, it is a good idea to travel in a large team. The more guests, the lower the charges.
Bicycling in Cat Ba Island at Viet Ha fishing village
Biking is one of the exciting outboard activities that gets much attention from tourists. In general, this activity is often included in an itinerary of 3 days 2 nights. Viet Hai Village – the “isolated oasis”, belonging to Cat Ba National Park and located about 18 kilometers from Cat Ba Island, is usually the most popular area to organize cycling tours. Perfectly surrounded by high mountains, vast ocean, and thick jungles, Viet Hai village is absolutely separated with the outside world. Riding a bicycle around the village, you will have a chance to visit old houses, enjoy the freshly airy ambiance, admire natural scene and take striking pictures of forest trees.
Visit a floating village in Halong Bay
Halong Bay is well-known for not only limestone cliffs, spectacular caves, and stunning beaches, but also common floating villages. Some of the must-visit fishing villages are Ba Hang, Cua Van, Cong Dam, and Vung Vieng.
After dropping by one of these villages, you may indeed mingle with an authentic natural setting where blue sky and ocean, fresh and cool air, as well as picturesque seascape are beautifully vivid in front of your eyes. Besides, it is also a good occasion to broaden your knowledge and take hands-on photos about local culture and daily life. People here are very sociable, friendly, and enthusiastic. Just asking, and they are always ready to guide you how to spread a net, row a sampan, or even bait a hook. It is very great, right?
Participate in a BBQ on beach
If traditional Vietnamese delicacies on a cruise trip are not tasty enough to tickle your taste bud, then a BBQ party in a unique way will surely make you inspired. Such BBQ party is often organized in reputable beaches on bay, like Soi Sim Beach, Ba Trai Dao Beach, and so on. Try imagining how romantic it is when you take a seat on a beach, spread your eyes over ocean’s waves, listen to the soothing melody of birds, sample array of mouthwatering and grilled seafood, as well as share joy with other members. Without a doubt, you should not skip this chance of a lifetime!
Join a Tai Chi exercises
Indulging yourself to a Tai Chi morning class session is a perfect way to build up the sense of calm, keep fit, improve your health of mind, and start a new happy day in the Bay. In fact, Tai Chi is a gently physical exercise that flawlessly combines deep breathing and relaxation with easy and slow movements. Without complicate and fancy equipment, this kind of exercise is gently suitable for tourists of all ages. Make sure to wake up early and attend one of the Tai Chi classes between 6.30 AM and 7 AM on sundeck. At that time, a Tai-chi master will instruct you how to harmoniously control your breath, mind, and body while enjoying the fresh air. How fun it is!
Go squid fishing at night
Squid fishing is indeed an engaging activity to spend your free time on the cruise after having a dinner. But, this activity is just done, depending on the weather. Typically, months from August to December is considered the best time for squid fishing since this is when you can luckily catch the big squid. Once the darkness totally covers the bay, you will be welcomed to the side of boats to engage in this activity. Fishing rods and rackets are essential tools that you can get after that. Then, a local fisherman will guide you how to fish a squid in the sea. Lucky or seasoned guests may catch more than 15 squids per night. And these squids will be used to cook dishes for them.
Rocks Climbing at Halong Bay
Adventurous travelers in Ha Long are very keen on exploring the whole cliffs by rock climbing. It is one type of outdoor and thrilling activity that helps them enjoy the original nature with beautiful 3000 limestone cliffs, rising from the water. Typically, Cat Ba Island is the most favorite spot wholly chosen to take their climbing by many tourists.
People will challenge their bravery by reaching reach the summit of 30 meters. Of course, it is seriously recommended to make use of protect belts in some risky areas. Unlike climbing activity in the land, tourists are able to jump down to the sea to avoid other dangerous obstacles.
Contemplate sunrise and sunset on sun desk when overnight on a halong bay cruise tour
Halong Bay is trusted to become one of the most glorious sunsets in the world. Seeing the dawn and dusk on desk here has long fascinated both Vietnamese and Western guests. In sunset, the bay becomes very magical among the vast sea. Furthermore, colorful lights from the spectacular cruises reflected into the water also create an amazing vista. In sunrise, the bay just likes an impressive natural painting with early sun-shines that still hide after mountains.It is highly advised to have a seat on the long lounge chair of your cruise as well as enjoy the valuable moment with a camera on hand.
Shopping in Halong bay at a local market Halong City
One of the do-not-miss things for travelers in the bay is to go shopping. Through this activity, they can not only learn more about culture and society of Vietnam, but also bring back home a few lovely souvenirs for their family members and friends. Don’t forget to head towards one of the most popular shopping areas, namely the night market in Bai Chay Town. There are plenty open air stalls inside the market, which sell many types of delicious seafood and traditional products, like ceramic tea sets, chopsticks, conical hats, and so forth.
Attend a cooking class
Many cooking classes are held to help guests not only to try fine cuisine but also expand their knowledge about Vietnamese culinary culture. In general, a chef on the cruise will expertly show and guide you how to make traditional dishes or how to impeccably carve different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Some of you can be also invited to take part in an interesting competition to find who makes the dish fast. After the competition, don’t mind sharing your achievement with other companions
Visit 8 Most Spectacular Caves in Halong Bay
Halong Bay is one of the places that have the greatest number of magnificent and mysterious caves in Vietnam. Thanks to the pristine feature of those caves, they have attracted a wide range of domestic and foreign tourists every year. Here is the list of top most beautiful caves in Halong bay that you should not miss when paying a visit to this beautiful place.
Dau Go Cave
From the far away, you can see the blue entrance of Dau Go Cave, which looks like the blue jellyfish in the center of Halong Bay. You must pass 90 stone staircases to enter the cave entrance. On standing at Dau Go Cave’s entrance, you will feel as if standing in front of a magnificent and luxurious castle with marvelous architecture.
Trinh Nu Cave – Virgin Cave
Trinh Nu Cave, along with other caves in the same cave system such as Sung Sot Cave, Dong Tien Lake, Luon Cave, is located on Bo Hon Island, which is about 15 kilometers from Bai Chay of Halong Bay. In the past, the French came here and called this cave as La Vierge (Virgin Cave). On the other hand, this cave is called “Trinh Nu Cave” by the Vietnamese. For the fishermen, Trinh Nu Cave is always their cozy home but for the lovers, this cave is even a symbol of their love. On entering this cave, you can easily see a stone statue of a girl lying in the center of the cave. The girl statue is very lively with long hair and the hoping, miserable look in her eyes. Opposite of Trinh Nu Cave is Trong Cave (or Male Cave). Inside Trong Cave is a stone statue of a man looking at the girl statue. You can even feel the despairing scream of the man and the sound of his knocking the stone wall for endless times.
Me Cung Cave (Maze Cave)
Me Cung Cave is about 25 meters from the sea level on Lom Bo Island, which is about 2 kilometers to the Southwest to Titop Island. The cave’s entrance has such a complicated structure with many rooms, floors, as well as the stone ceiling and 100-meter-long balcony. There is also a lake called Me Cung inside the cave.
Thien Cung Cave
Sung Sot Cave
Sung Sot Cave is one of the most beautiful caves of Halong Bay. This cave is located on Bo Hon Island, which is in the center of Halong Bay. Every year, Sung Sot Cave attracts a great number of visitors, who come here to contemplate its spectacular and magnificent beauty. Before entering the cave, you must pass the long stone staircases to pass the luxuriant forests. Tourists will have an interesting opportunity of climbing the mountain.
The total area of Sung Sot Cave is 10 000 kilometer square. Inside the cave is a wide range of stalagmites and stalactites in mysterious and weird shapes. You may be overwhelmed when contemplating the pristine beauty of this fairy-tale-cave. The French used to call this cave as “Grotte Des Surprises” (The cave of surprises) thanks to its unique feature. When visiting caves in Halong Bay, you should not forget to explore and contemplate the marvelous beauty of this cave. Most of the halong bay overnight cruise will visit this cave. Please check itinerary of Cozy Bay Cruise / Cozy Bay Classic Cruise or Cozy Vietnam Travel the details.
Luon Cave is located on Bo Hon Island, which is about 14 kilometers to the South of Bai Chay. The location of this cave is a steep rock with quiet crystalized water. The total length of Luon Cave is about 60 meters, and the cave’s ceiling is between 2.5 meters and 4 meters, depending on the water level. On entering the cave, if the level of water is high, you must lower your head to pass it. This must be the reason why the cave is called “Luon” in Vietnamese. The cave’s ceiling has so many beautiful and magnificent stalactites that you will surprise and amaze by the talent of Mother Nature. After passing the entrance, you will see a large lake surrounded by luxuriant forest and spectacular mountains. It can be said that the beauty of Luon Cave is such a masterpiece of nature.
Tam Cung Cave
Tam Cung Cave is located in the center of Halong Bay, which is about 5 kilometers to the Northeast of Sung Sot Cave.
The cave is divided into 3 rooms with a lot of beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. The cave’s ceiling has many stalactites, which look like a white orchid cacti’s bud.Especially, the 2nd room of the cave is a lively natural museum with many stone sculptures of the lion, the seal, the water deities, etc. There is a long stream inside the cave, too. The cave’s wall looks like a magnificent stalactites curtain. And at the last room, tourists will have the opportunity to contemplate the spectacular and skillful sculptured artworks of the Mother Nature.
The French used to call Hanh Cave as Le Tunnel (or The Tunnel in English). A special feature of Hanh Cave is that its entrance is very low, therefore, if you want to explore this cave, you must travel by small boat. Hanh Cave is one of the most beautiful and the longest caves in Halong Bay.
This cave attracts a great number of foreign tourists, who love adventure coming here to contemplate and explore the cave by kayak. The total time of a full trip to Hanh Cave is about 60 to 90 minutes.
Shopping in Halong Bay
When travelling, shopping might be among the most favorite as well as popular activities of tourists. When visiting Halong, you not only enjoy the breathtaking scenes here but also have many chances to shop fresh seafood and souvenirs. Typically, in Halong Bay, shopping is not about big malls with famous branded items. You could totally expect a different experience of shopping in this area.
Shopping in Halong Bay could be a fantastic experience though the options are rather limited for tourists. The most interesting thing about shopping in Halong Bay, as well as in other coastal cities of Vietnam, is that you will see local people selling products on those small boats. Such floating stores could catch your own eyes almost instantly when you are on junk boat tours. According to experienced foreign tourists, they are surprised by such images so much.
Here bellowed is the most detailed guide of shopping in Halong Bay:
This market is built and officially ran in 2003. Being a new market in Halong, this is one of the most attractive places in the city for both locals and tourists coming for shopping in Halong. Situated in the center area of Halong city, the market is reckoned as the largest market of this city. The products displayed and sold here are very various, ranging from normal to luxurious goods with pretty competitive prices. Guests coming here could easily find anything they want, such as clothes, electrical devices, and accessories. Besides, the drinks and food here are sold out in restaurants inside the market. These restaurants are often small in area. Some detailed information about this market includes:
What to buy in Halong Market ?
The first floor: you can find jewelries, pearls, embroidered paintings, electronics, and mother-of-pearl mosaic paintings
The second floor: you can find clothing, footwear, marine products and seafood
If you want to buy some most featured specialties of Halong, including seafood and dried squid, at reasonable prices, and then Halong market is your ideal destination. Halong Market is most crowded during weekend.
Opening hours: 6:00 – 18:30 every day
Location: Bach Dang (Bạch Đằng) Street, Halong City
Halong Night Market
The market is situated in the center area of Halong City and near the beach. Thanks to the good location, this market attracts a large number of people, including locals and visitors. It is crowded with most domestic tourists from April to July.
Opening hours: 6:00 – 22:30 every day
What to buy in Halong Night Market ?
Halong Night Market is another destination for tourists who want to enjoy diversifying experience of shopping in Halong Bay. The market is a big group of hundreds of stalls selling various kinds of products, including handmade accessories, handicrafts, clothes and other dispensable stuff like lotion, hat, or swimwear. Visitors tend to come to this market for buying unique products of the coastal city such as necklaces made from seashells, and wooden small boats, snails, or T-shirt with beautiful images of Halong Bay painted on. The great thing about this night market is that sellers here are very friendly and could speak English rather well, so tourists will be able to bargain easily. Even, you could have a nice chat with vendors about the city and its features.
Bai Chay Commercial Center
Another suggestion about shopping Halong Bay is Bai Chay Commercial Center. Built on the base of the minuscule market, it is the most modern center for shopping in this coastal city. The products sold here are diverse from normal to luxurious goods, and the prices seem a little bit higher than the two mentioned-above markets. Nevertheless, it is still reasonable because the customer service here is very good. This extra money is paid for more professional services, and ensured quality of products.
It just takes about 600 meters for you to go from the night market to this shopping center. Being very popular for locals, this shopping center has various goods, including clothes, shoes and other high quality products like Halong Pearl, crocodile leather, wooden souvenir and coal souvenir items.
Opening hours: 6.00 – 18:30 every day
Location: Vuon Dao (Vườn Đào) Street, Bai Chay Beach area.
Halong Floating Market
This market could be found nearby wharf, cruise ships, and in makeshift areas in which sellers lash their boats together. The waterborne convenience stores here carry most traditional fare, and fresh seafood. The most noticeable goods sold here is fruits. This floating market sells most fruits available in Halong city. The market will surprise most visitors for its interesting form. While it might cost more to purchase traditional stuff from this type of shop, the unique experience is usually worth the additional cost for every tourist.
Nearby Market in Halong City
Whilst visiting Halong Bay, you should make sure that you visit Mong Cai Market. This market is popular for sightseeing and buying clothes, fabrics, fruits along with high tech products.
Rather different from the markets introduced above, Binh Lieu (Bình Liêu) Market is situated in the highlands of Quang Ninh (Quảng Ninh) province. This market is the gathering destination of vendors from ethnic groups, such as “San Chi” (Sán Chỉ), “Tay” (Tày), and “Dao” (Dao). Here, you could find agricultural products as major trading goods, including rice, oils of cinnamon, anise, particularly forest honey. The most interesting thing in this market is that vendors will not sell their products till final prices are precisely as what they expected in advance.