What to Do in Halong Bay: Top 26 Must-try Activities

As a natural complex of some 2,000 islands, limestone caves, karst formation, and lush vegetation, Halong is a perfect destination for numerous things to do among the UNESCO World Heritage Site. From sightseeing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, cycling, rock climbing to taking a luxury cruise, Halong never fails to impress you with exciting activities. Let’s discover the best of the isolated bays and hidden islands by joining our top suggested things to do.

Halong Bay is home to thousands of limestone caves to go spelunking, plenty of untouched places to go swimming and kayaking, a handful of floating villages to visit, some uninhabited islands to go hiking, a variety of food and drink to savor, etc. 

Let’s go into detail about the most interesting activities that you must try in this famous Vietnamese tourist destination.

On Halong Bay Cruise

1. Take A Halong Bay Overnight Trip

  • Recommended activity: A 2-day or 3-day cruise to Halong, Bai Tu Long, or Lan Ha Bay

Halong Bay cruise

Staying at least one night on the cruise is the most expected experience when you can admire Halong Bay much closer up in a more special manner. With a natural complex of some 2,000 islands and islets, the bay is best discovered through waterways by a 3-day-2-night or 2-day-1-night cruise tour to call on either well-known or less-touristy attractions. 

Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about where to go and what to do as the cruise itinerary has already covered transportation, activities, food, accommodation, and other services. You can opt for the highlights of each cruise, such as large cabins, kid-friendly itinerary, Halal food certificate, Michelin-starred dining, Jacuzzi/swimming pool, Royal-styled dinner, and other more.


2. Do Taichi in Halong Cruises

  • Recommended cruises: Most of Halong Bay cruises

Taichi Class

This is the best way to start your new day. Tai-chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that has been performed for thousands of years characterized by controlled and soft movements. As you join the Taichi morning class on a Halong cruise, the master will help you improve the health of your mind by preventing the ills of aging and the stresses and strains of modern life.


3. Join A Vietnamese Cooking Class

Cooking Class

The majority of Halong Bay boats offer a cooking class to teach you how to make the most basic traditional Vietnamese dishes. Some cruises hold a Halong Bay cooking class on making spring rolls, while others offer demonstration lessons on decorating fruit and vegetables. Whichever type of the class is, this is one of the best things to do in Halong Bay with a view to learning about Vietnamese traditional cuisine and culinary.


4. Have the Sunset Party on Sun Deck

Sunset Party

Sunset and sunrise moments, which are more stunning from the cruise view, are two moments you should never miss for Halong Bay sightseeing. You can choose to sit back and sip a cup of tea amid the scenic atmosphere at dusk. Or you can decide on joining the amusing sunset party on the sun deck.


Halong Bay Sightseeing

5. Check in with Amazing Karst Formations

Karst Formations

Known for the magnificent land of million-year-old karst formations, Halong Bay offers a lot of photogenic attractions. You can find rock formations amazing in different shapes and sizes. For example, one represents a couple of Fighting Cocks, one illustrates Chopstick Islet and another demonstrates Thumb Islet. 

The best way to check in with awe-inspiring formations in Halong is to take a cruise into the middle of the bay. You will be shown around and catch the best sight from a close distance.


6. Go Spelunking at Halong Bay Caves

  • Recommended places: Halong Bay caves like Thien Cung Cave, Sung Sot Cave, Dau Go Cave, Hospital Cave, etc.

Halong Bay Cave

Halong Bay is home to numerous beautifully breathtaking caves that are worth paying a visit to. Undergoing millions of years of the formation of stalactites and stalagmites, Halong caves possess exquisite beauty and valuable archaeological systems. Considered the best Halong Bay attractions, the top must-visit grottoes include. 

All Halong Bay caves and grottoes are decorated with colorful artificial lights to illuminate the rock formations and certain areas. Here, you can discover a lot of mysteries and feast your eyes on the magnificent gifts of Mother Nature.


7. Admire the Primitive Bai Tu Long Bay

Bai Tu Long Bay

Bai Tu Long, is located in the east of Halong. Covering an entire area of 15,000 ha, the bay boasts a massive natural complexity of uninhabited islands, a national park, and a rich biodiversity of ecosystems.

There are some highlights of sightseeing here that you should not miss, including Quan Lan Island, Ngoc Vung Island, Ang Du Area, Vung Vieng Fishing, Thien Canh Son Cave, Ban Chan Beach, etc. 


8. Pay A Visit to Halong Floating Villages

  • Recommended places: Cua Van, Vung Vieng, Ba Hang Floating Village, Cong Dam Fishing Village

Halong Floating Village

Remaining only a few existing sites, the floating villages are among the top Halong Bay attractions which offer you a fascinating and genuine experience. 

Take a boat ride to these villages and you will see how isolated the local life here goes on day by day. The local fishermen earn a living from the sustainable fishing industry and tourism. Some of them live in small boat houses while others live inland but spend most of their time in floating villages for work.


9. Behold Halong Aerial Views from Seaplane

  • Recommended activities: Take a seaplane from Hanoi to Halong or a sightseeing flight

Flying over the scenic karst formations and emerald water, you will feast your eyes on an awe-inspiring bird’s-eye view of Halong Bay. There is no better way to go sightseeing than from a height of 300 meters on the seaplane. 

In addition to scenic flights, you can book a scheduled seaplane between Hanoi and Halong for the fastest and most convenient transportation.


Unique Things to Do in Halong Bay

10. Have A Romantic Cave Dining

  • Recommended places: Trong Cave, Trinh Nu Grotto, Thien Canh Son Cave

Halong Bay cave dining is definitely perfect for couples since the mystical scenery with thousands of sparkling candlelight creates a romantic space and unforgettable sweet moments together.

Dinners in the cave are mainly held by luxury cruises with a 3-day itinerary or chartered boat. The additional price is high as it includes: cave hiring, set-up fee, food, and personnel. But this activity is quite special and still worth paying extra money for.

NOTE: Dining in Caves are banned in Halong since 2017 to protect nature.


11. Go Adventurous With Rock Climbing

  • Recommended places: Butterfly Valley, Hidden Valley, Ben Beo Harbour

Halong Bay is naturally gifted with a few sport climbing routes which offer much potential for additional development. It is your decision on what level of difficulty you wish to take on as a challenge. The level of difficulty, however, does not affect the level of safety. All you have to prepare is a healthy body, an adventurous mind, and much endurance. 


12. Have Seafood BBQ on the Beach

  • Recommended beaches: Soi Sim Beach, Ba Trai Dao Beach

BBQ on the Beach

Halong Bay is such an ideal spot to hold a beach barbeque with baked king prawns, squid, crab, lobster, and more. There are various choices of beach BBQ in Halong, from restaurants along the coast to a 3-day cruise itinerary.

You can either join a BBQ lunch to grill seafood with self-barbecue fire pits or treat yourself to a private barbecue under candlelight. Both are worth trying to soak up the chilly atmosphere on the beaches. 


13. Explore Ha Long City on Land

  • Recommended activities: Visit Halong Night Market, try local food 

Halong City

Halong City is vibrant and exciting with a great collection of must-do activities. Contemplate the Bai Chay Bridge, try some authentic dishes at local restaurants, taste the street food dishes, enjoy nightlife activities, visit Halong night markets, shop for local souvenirs, etc. Let’s see the differences between rural life in floating villages and urban life in the provincial city. 


14. Watch the Dolphin Show in Tuan Chau

  • Place: Tuan Chau's Dolphin Show Venue (2 km far from the mainland)
  • Entrance fee: 250,000 VND/ person, children under 1m tall are free to enter, and groups of guests will be discounted

Dolphin Show in Tuan Chau

At the Dolphin Show in Tuan Chau, visitors not only get the opportunity to observe the acrobatic jumping dolphins, but they can also pet, pet, and take pictures with these amiable animals. Visitors can take part in other exciting activities at the dolphin show in Tuan Chau, such as seasonal musical productions, fashion exhibitions, or other sizable cultural events that are often hosted at the venue.


15. Attend the Tuan Chau Water Music Show

  • Places: The International Entertainment Center (30 minutes far from the mainland)
  • Entrance fee: 30,000 - 250,000 VND (depending on the selected service)

The Water Music Show in Tuan Chau offers so many exciting activities that it is sure to pique any visitor's attention and passion during their discovery of Tuan Chau. This show typically lasts about 40 minutes. The website and the entertainment section both list the daily program.


16. Feel A Thrill at Sun World Halong Complex

  • Recommended activities: Try the roller coaster and water park activities

Sun World in Tuan Chau

Sun World Halong, one of the rare amusement parks in North Vietnam, is one of the top-rated things to do in Halong Bay for families with kids.

There are 2 sections: the Mystic Mountain Complex and the Coastal Amusement Complex, which are connected by the Queen Cable Car. There must be endless-fun entertainment at the Dragon Park, Typhoon Waterpark, Sun Wheel, Zen Garden, and so on. If you aren't afraid of thrilling roller coaster rides and water slides, Sun World Park is a perfect destination to cool off.


17. Visit the Quang Ninh Museum

  • Recommended activities: Witness the archaeological artifacts, learn about Halong history 

Located right in the central heart of Halong City, Quang Ninh Museum is a complex museum, library, and exhibition space. The most outstanding attractions include a giant whale skeleton, a massive book collection, and sailboat models. Also, you can sit back in the reading room or coffee shop at the library, and spend time getting an in-depth knowledge of Vietnamese history and culture.


Halong Bay Activities in Water

18. Soak Up the Sun on Halong Beaches

There are many must-visit beaches including Titop, Soi Sim, Quan Lan, Ngoc Vung, Ba Trai Dao, and Tuan Chau Beach. Most of them give refreshing air, crystal water, and idyllic sands; so you can let your hair down and take part in numerous interesting things to do here.


19. Go Kayaking Around the Limestone Karsts

  • Recommended places: Dark & Light Cave, Dragon Eye Island, Cong Do, Ao Ech Area

Kayaking at Halong Bay

Sitting on a small kayak, paddling slowly through the islets to discover cliffs beneath the waves, watching the birds on the cliff, feeling the calm water, wriggling into water caves, or touching stalactites, etc. are all amazing experiences that you should try.


20. Go Diving/Snorkeling Under the Water

  • Recommended places: Cong Do, Vung Ha Island

Diving and snorkeling are among the best water-based activities in Halong Bay. Thanks to the crystal clear water and the scenic underwater delights, this area offers a range of lesser-known diving and snorkeling spots. 

The sea around Cong Do Island and Van Gio Island make it perfect to dive or snorkel around and explore the diverse ecosystem as a home to unique corals, seagrass beds, and living spaces for aquatic creatures (sea turtles, sea horses, stone crabs, lizards, hornbills, etc.).


Cat Ba Island Things to Do

21. Explore Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba island

Cat Ba is the largest island in Halong Bay and is on top of the must-visit attractions. It is home to a national park covering one-third of the area, a number of adorable hotels and resorts, a handful of historical tourist attractions, some rustic local villages, and three main beaches. Recommended activities:

  • Explore Cat Ba with a Halong Bay cruise trip
  • Go swimming and soak up the sun on the beach
  • Snorkel around the island
  • Get a kayak to explore the untouched areas
  • Go rock climbing
  • Hike through the off-the-beaten-path trail
  • Go cycling in the scenic countryside. 


22. Cycle Along the Off-the-beaten-track Path

  • Recommended activities: Cycle through Viet Hai Village
  • Cost: A rental bike/ double bike is about 20,000 VND (~ 1.00 USD) per hour 

To gain the best experience, renting a bike/double bike is the perfect choice for you. Tourists can rent right at the hotel or services along the city road. Taking your time to cycle around the village, chat with local people, and meet playful kids, you can experience the most authentic thing to do in this land.


23. Get On the Hiking Trails in Ha Long

Cat Ba National Park

The top suggestion for hiking is Cat Ba National Park, a common stop on some Halong Bay cruise itineraries. The park is home to wildlife flora and fauna with a collection of distinct species like civets, macaques, hawks, hornbills, cuckoos, and the world's most endangered golden-headed langurs. You can go hiking along the amazing trails with an 18-kilometer climb to the mountain top, but it requires a lot of time and endurance. 

BestPrice will list out some hiking tips in Halong Bay:

  • Bring a water bottle to keep you hydrated on the hike up.
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes. And say NO to flip-flops!
  • Hire a tour guide who can show you around, tell you the history, and give you some safety tips.
  • Book a tour from Halong Bay or a cruise tour including Cat Ba National Park in the itinerary.


Things to Do in Halong Bay at Night

25. Get A Fishing Experience With the Locals

  • Recommended activities: Go squid fishing on Halong Bay overnight cruise

Fishing is one of the daily activities that local fishermen do for a living in Halong Bay. To tourists, fishing is an interesting activity to experience the feeling of being a true fisherman. Then fishing trips with the locals are one of Halong Bay’s top things to do. You can learn a little about the local fishing legend and try your luck going out with them at dawn. 

Night squid fishing in Halong is an enjoyable activity. If you are actually a night owl, you can spend the tranquil night fishing with lights hanging on the side of boats to attract the squids. You’ll be guided by instructions from local fishermen or the cruise staff about how to use a fishing rod and how to catch squid in the sea. Interestingly, the caught squids will be cooked to make supper for you.


26. Sample the Local Street Food

Halong Local Food

As a coastal city, Halong's specialties mostly include seafood dishes varying from crab, prawn, squid, and snail to oysters. Everyone visiting Halong Bay definitely must try the following 5 best street food dishes: cha muc (squid sausage), sam (horseshoe crab), sa sung (sipunculus nudus), and banh gat gu (nodding cake). These specialties can’t be found anywhere else in Vietnam. Hence, a street food tour is absolutely a must-try thing to do in Halong Bay.


There are still many fun and must-try activities in Halong Bay, get in touch with BestPrice Travel to plan up the best route for your trip.