Top 20+ Amazing Places to Visit in Halong Bay
Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and there are numerous places to visit in Halong Bay. Below is a detailed list of the best places to visit in Halong Bay. If you have enough time, none of them should be skipped. If not pick up some before planning a holiday to Halong Bay.
Table of Contents
- Halong City Attraction
- Places to visit in Halong Bay
- Top Attraction in Cat Ba Island Halong
Halong City Attraction
1. Bai Tho Mountain
The number one place to visit in Halong City is Bai Tho Moutain, the mountain of poetry and wonderful mysteries. Bai Tho mountain is among the highest mountains in Halong City, located at an altitude of 200m with half lying on land, half lying on the sea. Many people see the mountain’s shapes look like a lying tiger, a preying lion, or a dragon preparing to fly. It can be a little challenge for 30 minutes hike to the top, however, it will reward you with impressive vistas onto the city and the bays beyond, which cruise can not offer.
The best time to visit this mountain is early morning and evening when you will be able to catch the dawn or the sunset. On the top of the mountain, tourists can take hundreds of beautiful photos of Halong Bay: blue sea, white sands, ships rowing far away, the crowded city surrounded by various houses, the fanciful sun rotation, and queen suspension cable …
Bai Tho Mountain Halong
Unfortunately, this mountain has been closed to the public for conservation purposes since March 2020. Hope that it will be reopened when you reach Halong Bay.
2. Bai Chay Market
It is believed that the best way to know more about local people and local life is to visit the local market, therefore Bai Chay market is somewhere you should not miss during your trip to Halong City. Located in Vuon Dao street - Bai Chay area, Bai Chay Market or Bai Chay shopping center is a large-scale shopping mall in Halong, selling a variety of goods from ordinary to luxurious items.
The price in this market is not too expensive, a little bit cheaper than other shopping places for tourists. You can easily find fresh produce, cheap clothes, handicrafts, accessories, souvenirs in this market. Eating here is also quite affordable. Must-try dishes are Squid Sausages, Ngán, Sa Sung, Snail…However, like in any other market in Vietnam, do not forget to bargain while shopping in this market.
3. Quang Ninh Museum
Opening Times: Opening times are Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m
Entrance Fees: Tickets are 40.000 VND
About 2 km away from Bai Tho Mountain in Quang Ninh museum, an ideal place for tourists who want to learn more about culture and history. From the outside, the museum looks like a giant mirror as the building is assembled with 14,000m² of glass. Coming inside, tourists can see its exhibitions on Vietnamese culture, history, nature, and the different stages of development of the Quang Ninh province through periods of prehistory, proto-history, Bach Dang victory, resistance war against French Colonial and American Empire, and to the present day.
Coming here, a lot of tourists, especially children enjoy watching a whale skeleton and sailboat models on the group floor, which is the highlight of the museum.
Quang Ninh Museum, Halong
4. Tuan Chau Island
Another attraction in Halong City is Tuan Chau island, also known as the "pearl island". The island is considered the most beautiful island among the 2,000 islands of Halong Bay. Located 8 kilometers away from downtown Ha Long, the whole area of this island is about 2.2 square kilometers, consisting of multiple sloping hills, offering beautiful landscape, clean water, and blue sea…
The two most visited places on the island are artificial Tuan Chau Beach and Tuan Chau amusement park. Tuan Chau beach has a pristine white sand beach, stretching over 3 km. Besides enjoying the beautiful landscape on the island, tourists can join a number of outdoor activities such as swimming, snorkeling, wave surfing, climbing, and camping in the eco-tourism zone when coming here.
Places to visit in Halong Bay
5. Titops Island
Moving from City Center to the Bay, tourists will have a chance to admire a lot of amusing caves and beautiful islands. Tiptops island is among the most beautiful islands in Halong Bay. Located about 14 kilometers to the east of Bai Chay tourist harbor, the island is shaped like a crescent moon.
Many cruises such as Heritage Cruise, Indochina Sail, Aphrodite Cruise, etc. stop here for 1-2 hours, so tourists can just enjoy the tranquillity and beautiful still blue waters in the island, or join outdoor activities like swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports.
There is no accommodation for the overnight stay on the island, however, you can find a bar where you can rent all kinds of swim gear, or buy some drinks and food.
6. Sung Sot Cave
Not far away from Tiptops island is Sung Sot cave, also known as Grotte Des Surprises, or The Cave of Surprises. This cave was found in 1901 by a French traveler. To reach the cave, tourists need to take a cruise, or boat from the harbor to Bo Hon Island. Then walk about 10 minutes through a path covered by evergreen plants, and step on the rock.
The gate is small, but the space inside is huge. The cave includes two chambers. The first chamber is like a theater. The ceiling of this area is covered by stalactites and stalagmites and lit by multicolored lights. The second one which is known as the “Serene Castle”, is large with many interesting rock formations.
Climbing to the top of Sung Sot Cave, tourists have a great chance to admire the beautiful landscapes of the royal garden, clear water lakes, some kinds of trees and birds living here. Glory Legend Cruise, Indochina Sail, Aphrodite Cruise are among the top cruises including a visit to this cave in their itinerary.
Entrance Fees: Tickets are 50.000 VND
7. Thien Cung Cave
No less beautiful than Sung Sot cave is Thien Cung Cave, the most beautiful primitive cave of Ha Long Bay and the longest dry cave in Asia. This cave has a super high ceiling and is home to a complex inner structure at different levels and sections. There are four huge pillars, which had relief sculptures of bizarre creatures somehow like fish, birds, trees, and human daily life…
If visiting the cave with a tour guide, you will be told about the legend of Dragon King, who brought peace and prosperity to the country and was praised not by the people but also the animals. Some people say they can hear the sound of drums like in a festival, in fact, it is the sound of the wind blowing through the cavern.
As you exit the cave you’ll be at an impressive vantage point that overlooks the whole of the bay. Booking Signature Cruise, you will have a chance to visit this beautiful cave.
Entrance Fees: Tickets are 50.000 VND
8. Dau Go Cave
Another interesting cave to visit in Halong Bay is the Dau Go cave. Dau Go cave, meaning Wooden Stakes Cave is the biggest cave in Halong Bay. Thanks to high humidity, Dau Go cave has developed a diversified flora and fauna system, including fishes, seaweeds, corals, sandworms, timber trees, mosses, ferns...
Moreover, the cave is home to beautiful stalagmites and stalactites of different shapes. Most of them look like the form of human beings and the local people believe that they are the guardians of the whole cave. The others have shapes of lions, chickens, pythons, or turtles.… When coming to the end of the cave, tourists can see a clear freshwater lake that is home to many kinds of marine species.
Entrance Fees: Tickets are 50.000 VND
9. Vung Vieng Fishing Village
Besides the cave system, Halong Bay attracts a lot of tourists with its local fishing villages. Out of many fishing villages, Vung Vieng is the least touristy, a perfect place for travelers seeking to experience local life. Cruises such as Swan Cruises, Oriental Sails, Legend White Dolphin Cruise bring their customers to this village.
To reach the village, tourists need to disembark the mother boat, getting transferred by rowing boats or kayaks, and you will be able to enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere, see the charming landscape, discover the cultural life of the fishermen, learn how to make of fishing nets and processing fishes.
Vung Vieng Fishing Village
10. Luon Cave
Located on Bo Hon Island about 14 km southeast of Tuan Chau Island and only 1 km from Sung Sot Cave, Luon Cave is among the most unique caves in Halong Bay. It is an open cave with a small entrance (only 3 meters wide and 2.5 – 4 meters high). You can not walk into the cave but only travel by boat to get there. The cave was originally a huge limestone rock that has undergone erosion for thousands of years, thus features small gaps in the bottom and creating the uniqueness of a Halong cave.
Coming here, tourists can enjoy the fresh air, cool wind, enjoy the beautiful landscape where mischievous monkeys climb on the cliffs, the trees spread from the rocky cliffs, or the fig trees hang down on the cliffs. Booking Heritage Cruise, you will have a chance to see this unique cave.
11. Thien Canh Son Cave
The next cave on the list is Thien Canh Son cave. Thien Canh Son Cave is a small and rather unspoiled cave located on Hon Co Island, Cong Do area in Bai Tu Long Bay. The cave is well known for its unique natural beauty and picturesque surrounding scenery, which attracts thousands of visitors coming to visit this cave year. To reach the cave, you will need to climb about 100 stone steps. When coming inside the cave, visitors will be impressed by the strange beauty of stalactites in unique shapes formed millions of years ago.
Outside the cave, visitors could enjoy the vast, panoramic view of Bai Tu Long Bay including the rocky islands, the brown sails of the ships, the blue sea, and the white sand beach. Below Thien Canh, Son Cave is a smooth, long white sand beach where tourists can swim, kayak, or just relax on the beach. Some Cruises that have a journey to visit Thien Canh Son cave are Indochina Junk, Oriental Sails, Swan cruise, Athena cruise.
12. Tien Ong Cave
Officially opened for tourism in 2010, Tien Ong cave draws attention from a lot of tourists, and archaeological experts. The cave covers an area of nearly 1,000 m2 and is divided into two chambers by a tall rustic stone pillar. The system of stalactites inside looks stunning, they are in many forms and shapes, from peacock, crocodile to man…
There is a block of stalactites, which looks like an old man with a gentle face, long hair, and beard, that is the reason why the local people call it Tien Ong cave, meaning “fairy godfather”. Archaeological experts are interested in exploring the cave as it contains stone artifact assemblages from Hoa Binh Culture that dated to 10000-2000 BCE.
13. Soi Sim Island
Another attraction in Halong Bay is Soi Sim, a small island located approximately 12km from Bai Chay Tourists Wharf and 700m from Titops Island. The whole island is covered by a green primeval forest including endemic and valuable tree species of flora. Recently conservation area has been built on this island with the hope to create a new and appealing tourism product to attract visitors to the island.
The highlight of the area is the central display house and the viewing platforms simulating a 9-petal flower. Moreover, the island with a beautiful sand beach has become an ideal place for water sports such as kayaking and swimming. The sea waters here are so crystal and emerald that you can see shoals of small fish swimming around.
14. Dark Cave & Light Cave
Dark Cave & Light Cave is included in the itinerary of many Halong Bay cruises such as Heritage Cruise, Era Cruises, etc. This cave system makes up of two separate caves: the Dark cave which is 100 meters long, can be swallowed by the tide, and is difficult to pass through; the Light cave which is shorter, but always available.
The best thing to do in this area is kayaking and swimming through the tunnel. When exploring the cave, you will see stunning limestone structures, a tranquil round lake, and an interesting natural habitat: monkeys, benjamin fig trees, and many orchids.
Dark & Light Cave
15. Cap La Fishing Village
Cap La Fishing Village is the smallest among the 4 remaining floating villages in Halong Bay. The village is home to 80 household holders with over 200 people, who mainly live on fishing and aquaculture. There is no national electricity system in the village, local people have to use electricity generators.
The children have to go to Vung Vieng fishing village to learn how to read and write. Most of them stop school to work as fishermen before the age of 12. There are thousands of visitors who flock to the bay every day, and marvel at the exotic scenery, but the people of Cap La village see only their home. Local life is simple, and you can fully enjoy a peaceful atmosphere here.
16. Lan Ha Floating Village
More option for visiting the floating village in Halong Bay is Lan Ha floating village. Lan Ha fishing village or Cai Beo fishing village in Lan Ha Bay is probably the largest and most famous floating village in Southeast Asia. The village is located only about 2km from Cat Ba town and just 10 minutes from Beo seaport and is home to 300 households who live mainly on fishing and fish farming. According to local people, the house of the ancient fishermen was built 7000 years ago and their traditional fish farming existed 4500 years ago.
Tourists can take a small boat, speedboat, or tender to visit the village. When entering the village, you will be able to see how hard but simple and happy the fisherman’s life is. Visitors can freely admire the poetic scenery of Lan Ha Bay and try delicious seafood dishes made from fish, shrimp raised in the village. Sealife Legend cruise, Calypso cruise visit this village on their 2-day 1-night tour.
Floating house in the fishing village
17. Lan Ha Bay
Being an extension of Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is an alternative option for a hidden place to visit, which is more serene and less crowded compared with other attractions. Lan Ha Bay is a gulf-shaped bay of 400 islands covered with vegetation and contains a management area of Cat Ba National Park.
You won’t have any problem finding what to see while visiting Lan Ha Bay as a variety of white-sand beaches give perfect spots for swimming, kayaking, a sailboat, a beach barbecue, or an overnight camp.
Lan Ha bay
18. Bai Tu Long Bay
Bai Tu Long Bay is one of the off-the-beaten-track places to visit in Halong with numerous karst limestone formations, untouched beaches, and diverse ecosystems. Bai Tu Long promises to offer more unique experiences and more pristine landscapes without the crowds.
Besides Lan Ha Bay, many tourists opt for Bai Tu Long Bay as an ideal destination while taking a Halong Cruise. Here, you can admire the purest Halong Bay sightseeing since Bai Tu Long Bay remains an extensive unexplored area for nature lovers.
19. Ba Trai Dao Islet
A lot of tourists, especially romantic couples would love to visit the next place: Ba Trai Dao Islet. Ba Trai Dao Islet (Three Peaches Islet) is located 22 kilometers far from Bai Chay Tourist Wharf to the Southeast. It is a group of three small mountains that look like three peaches from afar. Three mountains have an average height of 23 meters.
Thanks to secluded and unspoiled beaches in each islet, Ba Trai Dao Islet has become one of the most ideal destinations in Lan Ha Bay. Tourists enjoy kayaking and surfing on the crystal clear water, relaxing on white-sand beaches… Coming here, tourists will be told a story about the origin of the islets, a sad, but romantic love story of a couple.
Top Attraction in Cat Ba Island Halong
20. Trung Trang Cave
Located in Trung Trang valley about 15 km northwest of Cat Ba town, Trung Trang Cave attracts a lot of tourists coming to visit each year. The cave is 300 meters long, passing through the mountain, and can accommodate hundreds of visitors at the same time.
This cave has its own ecosystem in mysterious darkness and is home to many species of creatures such as reptiles, insects, and birds. Moreover, tourists admire thousands of unique and sparkling stalactites when coming to visit this cave. Under the yellow light, the stalactites of Trung Trang cave look very impressive.
Entrance Fees: Tickets are 40.000 VND
Trang Trang cave
21. Cat Ba National Park
Cat Ba National Park has located 2 km from Trung Trang cave. The national park was established in 1986 and covers 17,362.96 ha of ecosystems (islands), 6,450.45 ha of marine ecosystems, which is a suitable habitat for many types of plants and animals. The national park is home to 2,320 different plants and animals.
Visiting the national park, tourists will have chances to join a lot of activities such as trekking through the primeval tropical rain forest or mangrove forest, discovering many unique animal and plant species, and immersing themselves in the local culture, or just relaxing on isolated beaches in Lan Ha Bay.
Entrance Fees: Tickets are 50.000 VND
22. Cannon Fort Cat Ba
For those who love to learn more about Vietnam history during the war, Cannon Fort Cat Ba should be on the list of must-see places. The tunnels and gun posts in this area were built by the Japanese during World War II, they were used by Frech during the Indochina War, and by Vietnam soldiers during the Vietnam War. Cannon Fort is not only a good place to study Vietnam history, but also offers tourist scenic views of the bay. This place is stunning at dusk.
After hiking up a steep, narrow slope, followed by the marked paths through a labyrinth of underground tunnels, caves, and narrow passages, then the "U-tunnel", you will see the sleeping quarters, a small museum, and a cafe. That place has picnic benches and a playground for kids. From here, you can see colorful fishing villages nestled in mountain ranges protruding from the emerald sea.
23. Viet Hai Village
The last but not least amazing place to visit in Halong Bay is Viet Hai village. Viet Hai is a small village surrounded by high mountains, thick jungles, and a vast ocean. In the past, this village was absolutely separated from the outside world, however, in recent years, this village attracts thousands of tourists coming to visit.
Natural landscapes, friendly people of this village create an impression in the minds of tourists. Local people here are very optimistic, simple, and hospitable. They live together, help each other without any attempt, profit. Choose to travel with a cruise among Scarlet Pearl Cruise, Heritage Line Ginger Cruise, Stellar of the Seas Cruise... to visit this beautiful village.
Biking in Viet Hai Village @phynia
24. Hospital Cave
Hospital cave is a special cave in Halong Bay among many small and large caves to discover. It used to be a hospital to treat the wounded for over 10 years during the Vietnam War. The cave could not be seen from the ground or the air, making it the perfect spot for a hospital.
Over three thick layers of the entrance door are the hospital with 3 floors, of which 1st floor is the main area with 14 function rooms such as operating rooms, waiting rooms and medicinal room, 2nd floor is cinema and practice room, fitness test, 3rd floor is the reception, rooms for guards and officers.
The hospital cave is equipped with a system of entrances and exits, drainage, ventilation…. It was abandoned after 1975, but now it is a popular tourist attraction on Cat Ba island.
Discover Halong Bay on a cruise may be the best option, as you can visit the island, explore the cave, relax on the beach, or visit the local fishing village when signing up for the cruise. Each cruise has its own detailed itinerary with specific places to visit, therefore let's find the best Halong Bay Cruise and travel to places on your list.
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Image source: Internet