Located four hours outside of Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi is the otherworldly seascape which is Ha Long Bay. Thousands of limestone karsts which seemingly just erupt from the water, make Ha Long Bay a location that tourists flock to all year round.
Besides soaking in the natural scenery what are the things to do in Ha Long Bay? What is the other key info that we need to know before going?!
No worries my friend, I have got you covered! After three trips to Ha Long and the surrounding areas I have compiled a list of things that are super fun and interesting and will totally keep you occupied during your few days there!
1. Take a boat tour
This is one of the top things that any traveller should do when going to Ha Long Bay! It is possible to see the sights of the bay on a day cruise but nothing beats waking up surrounding by all the islets and sipping your morning coffee looking out on the water. It is a total must and though even the cheaper cruises may be a little bit of a splurge they are so worth it for a trip of a lifetime!
2. Hike up Titop Island
This is such a fun hike in Ha Long Bay and it is not too strenuous. I think it was about thirty minutes to the top but the view point was AMAZING. I think that the Titop Island viewpoint is better than even some of the best in Cat Ba or the surrounding islands! There is also a nice (but crowded) beach below to lounge on.
3. Explore the Song Sot caves
This is the main attraction which most boat cruises will take you to, BUT that doesn’t mean it isn’t completely worthy of the traffic. After a small hike you will enter this massive cave named Song Sot cave. Marvel at the formations as you mozy your way around. Usually your tour guide will point out some points of interest and let you know the history of the cave.
4. Kayak on the bay
Renting a kayak and paddling around the coves and caves is a must when you are visiting Ha Long. There are loads of one day boat cruises that will let you do this along with the overnight ones. Just be sure to visit in the cooler months, as most tour operators won’t let you kayak when it is so hot for safety reasons.
5. Learn about pearls at the Oyster Farms
Scattered around the endless mountains are different little oyster farms. Here they farm oysters for their pearls. Here you can learn about the exhaustive practice of farming oysters and the years that go into the creation of one pearl! They also have an onsite store where you can buy pearls that were harvested right then and there!
6. Visit the local fishing villages
Depending on your tour service provider you may be able to visit a local fishing village. These floating towns are fully self sufficient with businesses, schools and homes. Pressure from the government is relocating families to the mainland some of whom have never been on land before.
It’s important to be respectful since these are people’s homes, but it is a very interesting and educational visit where you can learn more about Vietnamese culture!
7. Explore Lan Ha Bay
South of Ha Long Bay is the much less populated Lan Ha Bay. It is closer to Cat Ba island, and has just as many islets and karsts but is far less well known. There are not as many overnight tours that operate in Lan Ha so a one day tour is likely to be your best option. You can ask the people who work at your hotel or hostel to connect you to a local boat driver.
8. Watch the Sunset from Cannon Fort in Cat Ba
On Cat Ba there is an old fort that was used during the Vietnam/American War. You can still visit it today and it also makes a great spot for sunset! It is one of the highest places on the island and you get an amazing view of the surrounding islands.
9. Rock climb
Due to all of the limestone cliffs Lan Ha Bay and Cat Ba are the perfect spots to do some climbing. Asia Outdoors along with other companies have guides and hold tours through the mountains.