- Location: Quang Ninh province (Vietnam)
- Age: formed roughly 3 million years ago
- Human habitation: began from 10000 years ago
- Size: 1553 km2. Consists of nearly 2000 limestone islands and islets
- UNESCO Heritage Site since 1994
- One of the most renowned landmarks in Vietnam – over 4.4 million visitors in 2019 solely
Q&A about Halong Bay
How to get to Halong Bay?
Halong Bay is easily reached from any other cities in Vietnam with many internal flights and by other transports.
From Hanoi, you can get to Halong Bay after 2-3 hours of driving (170km)
From Danang, book a flight from Danang airport to Cat Bi airport (Hai Phong) and then travel by car to the bay. Or you can fly to Hanoi (1-hour flight) and go from there to Quang Ninh.
From Ho Chi Minh city, similar to when you travel from Danang, you can either go by plane from HCM City to HP (3-hour flight) or fly to Hanoi (2.5-hour flight) then drive to Halong Bay.
When is the best time to visit Halong Bay?
Halong Bay is in the north of Vietnam so it has a humid tropical climate, and sees four seasons in a year. Winter’s temperatures can drop down to 12°C-17°C. Summer is mostly sunny but rain showers are frequent as the humidity is higher. Spring and Autumn are nicely warm.
Summer is a good time for Halong Bay because you can go for swimming and kayaking. Yet summer remains as the shoulder season for tourists because of its hot weather.
In fact, the high traveling season in Halong Bay is during fall and spring (from October to April) because the weather is cooler and it gives you the best views of the bay.
On the other hand, these are the seasons for specific trips in Halong Bay:
Best time for sightseeing: April, May, June, October, November and December.
Best time for outdoor activities: March, April, May and June.
Best time for honeymoon: November, December, January and February.
Best time for money-saving: late May, June, July, August and early September.
How many days should I spend exploring Halong Bay?
The answer to this can vary from 1 day to 3 days. It depends on your plan for the whole trip and whether you enjoy staying for a night on a cruise (this is the best way to see around the islands).
If you start from Hanoi and don’t have too much time, you can do a day-trip.
But we always recommend to stay overnight on the cruise so that you can fully experience the beauty of the bay.
Is Halong Bay a good place to visit with your family or a group of friends?
No matter how many people you are travelling with – it can be you and your partner, or with your family or friends, we sure you’ll all enjoy visiting the wonderful landscape of Halong Bay.
For families, you and your parents or kids can have chosen to for kayaking, squid-fishing, or exploring the magnificent cave system of the bay.
If you are with your friends, hanging out on the cruise deck and enjoying a nice cocktail with breathtaking scenery of islands will make another excellent option.
Is it better to choose a luxurious cruise or a normal one?
Well, the answer is up to you. There are many cruises operating in Halong so pick one that fits your preference and budget the most. If you choose a 3-star cruise, you can still have loads of fun. Their services are good and sure you will enjoy your time in Halong Bay.
If you are eyeing up an option of a 4 or 5-star cruise, especially for a special occasion, you’ll have the best time of your life. These cruises offer excellent services that come with plenty of activities for customers’ entertainment. Their rooms are spacious, and the food will be a highlight during your time on the cruise.
What should I bring with me on board?
We suggest to bring with you your passport – this is the most important for your check-in. Then you should also bring a backpack/ travel bag with suitable clothes, hats, swimming suites, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellents and important medicines. If you are travelling with young kids, candies, toys, coloring books, minigames may be helpful.
Is Wi-Fi available onboard?
Free Wi-Fi is available on the cruise so you can connect from your mobile phone, tablet and laptop. However, please note that the internet signal at sea may suffer frequent interruption.
Will I get boat sick?
This is the concern for many people because who would want to travel all the way to this beautiful place and then to feel so unwell that they couldn’t enjoy it?!
But in this case, you should not be worried at all. The water at the bay is really flat, there were barely any waves. And when you’re on big cruises, it’s unlikely that you can feel any motion and become nauseous.
Of course just to be careful, we suggest to bring with you some seasickness tablets so you can experience the trip to the fullest!
So, is Halong Bay really a must-visit?
With all the striking scenery, together with great activities to do for visitors, there is no reason to miss out on Halong Bay, especially on your first holiday in Vietnam.
And we think that other travellers agree with us, too!
You can check out reviews from other travellers about Halong Bay here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g293923-d1968469-Reviews-Halong_Bay-Halong_Bay_Quang_Ninh_Province.html
Saving tips for Halong Bay cruise?
- Search price comparison websites before booking
It’s a good idea to do your ‘homework’ before choosing a Halong Bay cruise. Different booking websites can offer you different deals – from price, booking policy and complimentary services.
- Book early for early-bird deals
This tip is extremely useful especially in case you plan to travel during peak season. If you have a fixed itinerary, then book early to get the best out of these deals.
- Or look for last-minute promotions
For visitors with the flexibility to book a cruise in a moment’s notice, you may want to check out flash deals as operators try to fill up the empty space on their vessels before the cruise date.
- Discuss with your tour operator
It can be helpful to talk to the tour operator in person. Not only you may be given secret deals, but you can also get a good idea of what is offered on a cruise trip.
- If possible, negotiate a group discount
Large groups sometimes may be able to get a special deal from the cruise itself as well as for transport and hotels.
- Travel during off-peak or shoulder-season
Not only that you will make some considerable savings, visiting Halong Bay in off-peak or shoulder season means you can enjoy more of the stunning landscape without other cruises around.
Bucket List for Halong Bay
Sightsee from a seaplane
There could be nothing more exciting and thrilling than getting to a 25-minute ride in a seaplane to see Halong Bay from the sky. This special service is operated by Hai Au Aviation, with the seaplane taking off and landing from Tuan Chau Island Marina. You will get a bird’s eye view of prominent karst islands and be able to see the undulating body of a dragon, from which the bay is given the name ‘Halong’.
Their latest seaplanes are fitted for a maximum of 12 people, so the whole group can enjoy the breathtaking scenery together!
Relax on an overnight cruise
An overnight cruise is the highlight of your trip to Halong Bay. You will get to experience the true beauty of the landscape from a lovely boat, maybe even an authentic Chinese junk. If you are going on a luxury cruise, you’ll have so much fun and may feel that 2 days on the cruise passes too fast.
Each cruise ship offers a different itinerary of things to do while you’re on the ship. Some may offer tours to the marvelous caves in the area; others may take you to a pearl farm.
Watersports in Halong Bay: kayak, swimming, scuba diving…
You cannot visit one of the most beautiful bays in the world – Halong Bay, without taking some time to enjoy the fresh water. You’ll be able to have the opportunity to explore the bay on a kayak or bamboo canoe if you are interested in paddling around and finding the most stunning parts of the UNESCO Site.
Scuba-diving and snorkeling in Halong Bay are going to be some of the best experiences that need to be on your bucket list. The beautiful waters here are where you can encounter an abundance of wildlife, making this one of your favourite dive sites after the trip to the bay.
Explore Sun World Halong Park and Quang Ninh museum
SunWorld Halong Bay Park has opened just a few years ago but has already made itself one of the must-visit landmarks in Halong. This is a great place for all ages with exciting games and thrilling rides. At the end of the day, make sure you are watching the incredible sunset from the Sun Wheel.
Quang Ninh museum opened in 2013, and its design is inspired by the icon of coal – Quang Ninh province’s typical mineral. A visit to the museum is your opportunity to understand more about the area with its unique natural scenery. You’ll find collections of sailboat models, items that tell about Quang Ninh prehistory, pro-history and the old wars, economic achievements, cultural identities and characteristics of ethnic groups in the province.
Enjoy fresh seafood
You can enjoy the fresh seafood dishes from professional chefs on your cruise or from a local restaurant inland. While the meal on board will delight you with its delectable flavours and appearance (and maybe with their fantastic drinks), trying out the dishes cooked by locals will let you see how they enjoy the gifts from the sea. Grab a can of beer with the seafood dishes if you’re going for a full local experience!
Halong Bay Fun Facts
One of the first things that come to mind when talking about Southeast Asia is definitely the sun and the heat.
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