Stunning islands on Halong Bay
Stunning islands on Halong Bay

Halong Bay Travel Guide

Halong Bay Vietnam boasts 3,000 islands and islets on the emerald water in the Gulf of Tonkin which stretches from Quang Ninh and Hai Phong Provinces of Vietnam to the Chinese border.

The bay is 165 km north east of Hanoi and the trip by car takes 3-4 hours. From Hanoi, you can take a tour to Halong Bay and come back to the city within the day; else you can take 2 or 3 days overnight cruises to the less visited area of the bay. Halong Bay is a stunning tourist attraction for both the adventure travellers and for fans of luxury holidays.

Halong Bay Vietnam
Halong Bay Vietnam

 

Halong Bay Vietnam
A cruise route on Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay has a tropical monsoon climate which is the same as that in the Red River Delta. Somehow, the temperatures on the bay are more moderate than inland. The hottest months on the bay are May, June and July when temperatures, though not often, may reach up to 38 Degrees Celsius; and the coolest months on the bay are November, December and January when temperatures can drop down to 6 Degrees Celsius.

Halong Bay Vietnam
Dinh Huong Islet in Halong Bay

 The bay is misty in September through April and can be hazy at other times of the year. There is no specific good time or bad time to visit Halong Bay, as the bay possesses a different beauty at different times of the year and in different weather conditions. Each year, there may be more or less than ten typhoons that hit Halong Bay and northern Vietnam from May to November, during which tourist boats are not allowed to set out.

If you like to have clear photos of Halong Bay, then come right after the storm; if you want the foggy and mysterious pictures of Halong Bay, then you may want to travel to the bay in October, November, December and January.

Halong Bay Vietnam
The area near Sung Sot Cave, Halong Bay

Adventure Travel, Things To Do and Tourist Attractions on Halong Bay

1/Karst Islands with Amazing Caves, Secret Lagoons, Boat Cruises with Fresh Seafood, Kayaking, Floating Fishing Villages

Most islands on Halong Bay are karst mountains and only a few of them are inhabited by people. There are quite a few fishing communities who live in floating villages around the bay. On many islands, there are stunning limestone caves such as Dau Go, Thien Cung, Me Cung, Sung Sot,...

There are many hidden lagoons on Halong Bay that the only way to visit is by rowing boat or by kayak. It is advised to have experienced tour guides for these tours as it is easy to get lost or that you are blocked in the lagoons at high tide.

Tourist boats and luxury junks cruise around the bay on different routes. The day cruises range from 5 to 10 hours by small boats; luxurious junks with sleeping cabins can cruise around the bay for 1 or 2 nights. On the cruises, you can get off the boat for visiting caves, floating villages, walking on beaches or climbing on some mountains to get the panoramic view of the bay.

A junk cruise on Halong Bay
A cruise boat on Halong Bay

 

Kayaking near the Ti Tov Beach on Halong Bay
Kayaking near the Ti Tov Beach on Halong Bay

2/ Deserted Beaches, Mountain Tops with Breathtaking Panoramic Views of the Bay with Sensational Sunrise and Sunset

For adventure travelers, you may want to hire a simple day cruise boat and you kayak through the islands. At night, you’ll stay in camps on the small deserted beaches in the bay. There are chances that fishing boats may come in with their fresh catch and you’ll have the best fresh seafood caught in the bay! Your trip will be just memorable.

Sail boats near the Sung Sot Cave on Halong Bay
Sail boats near the Sung Sot Cave on Halong Bay

 

A view from the Sung Sot Cave
A view of Halong Bay from the Sung Sot Cave

 

Fishing boats at sunset on Halong Bay
Fishing boats at sunset on Halong Bay

 

The Sung Sot Cave
The Sung Sot Cave

 

Kayaking at the Luon Cave (Lagoon) on Halong Bay
Kayaking at the Luon Cave (Lagoon) on Halong Bay

 

A wild monkey at the Luon Cave
A wild monkey at the Luon Cave

3/ Hovering over the Bay with Superb Views

This is for travelers with a long purse/deep wallet. You can book a trip by helicopter or sea plane and have 15 minutes to hover over the bay before a great boat trip plowing through the islands. The flight is over 1 hour from Hanoi Noi Bai Airport.

If you really like to have an indepth experience of Halong Bay, then you may like to contact AdventureGreen for a kayaking adventure for 3-5 days; on these adventure tours, we can sleep on board or in camps on deserted beaches. AdventureGreen also organizes trekking and hiking adventure through Cat Ba National Park in combination with boat cruise on Halong Bay for those travellers who like to experience the bay in a different way.

On your adventure to Halong Bay, you could help to protect the environment of this wonder of the World by:

  • Not to discard rubbish into the bay;
  • Collect rubbish from the bay and put it in designated places;
  • Not to break the limestone, the stalactites and stalagmites;
  • Report to the authority of Halong Bay (at the pier) the boat crew or tourists who throw rubbish into the sea;
  • Report to the authority of Halong Bay (at the pier) the boats which have oil leak into the sea;

How to get to Halong Bay
By air: There are daily flights between Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and the Van Don Airport which is 1 hour drive from Halong Bay. Alternatively you can book a trip hovering over Halong Bay on a sea plane or helicopter which offers the best panoramic views of the amazing bay from high above.

By road: Via the old road, it takes you 3-4 hours to travel to Halong Bay from Hanoi. Nowadays, there is an expressway that takes you a bit over 2 hours to travel between the two cities.
From the Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, it takes 3 hours to travel to Halong Bay.
From Hai Phong City, it takes 1 hour to travel to Halong Bay only via the expressway.

By rail: If you like a really long and painful experience, then you can travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by train. The adventure takes 7-8 hours and it really rocks on the old train! You may even love it that you’ll be among only a few passengers on the huge train with several carriages!