Stunning islands on Halong Bay
Stunning islands on Halong Bay

Halong Bay: Travel Guide, Things to Do

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

Most islands on Halong Bay are karst mountains and only a few 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.

Halong Bay Vietnam
A cruise route on Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay has a tropical 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 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 time 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

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.

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;