Halong Bay

Towering limestone domes and tropical islets dot a foggy bay to form a fairytale-like landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site like no other.

Cruise ships and replica wooden “junks” full of tourists ply the waters of Halong Bay, stopping at tiny islands, drooping caves, and floating fish farms and villages. Book a multi-day cruise to see the far corners of Halong Bay, away from the crowds. It’s estimated to have taken Mother Nature 20 million years to carve out the limestone karsts and islets of this captivating landscape, so the least you can do is give it a few days of your time.

Frequently Asked Questions about Halong Bay

What's the best way to experience the bay's limestone cliffs?

Travellers who are pressed for time will be able to take in the atmosphere of the bay on a day trip. These generally last between four to six hours and offer a tantalising glimpse of the bay's magnificent landscape. However, you've come all this way - why not find the time to do things properly? After all, it's not every day you get to explore a place that's regularly described as a wonder of the world. We recommend taking an overnight or even a two-night cruise. This way you'll have time to explore the outer lagoons and caves and not feel pressured to be snapping photos every minute of the trip. Go for a swim, head out exploring on a kayak or simply lay back and take a deep breath on the deck. And be sure not to miss Halong Bay's premier attraction - the sunset!

I've heard Halong city isn't very nice. Is it worth staying there?

Despite its picturesque location, Halong city is not the most interesting place to visit. Clusters of high-rise hotels mark the shoreline, each competing for the lucrative tourist dollar alongside countless hustlers and street vendors. Authentic Vietnamese experiences in this area are few and far between. Put off by the tacky vibe and lack of activities, many visitors try and make their stopover here as brief as possible. Indeed, if you're travelling straight from Hanoi to the port, you'll almost be able to skip it entirely.

What is there to do in Cat Ba National Park?

Cat Ba Island is the largest in the bay, and it's a must-visit for anyone with a love of nature. Around half the island is a designated national park, and exploring it by foot is sure to be one of your holiday highlights. Wander through lush rainforest and sweeping valleys, all the while keeping an eye out for its diverse wildlife. The island is home to a range of fauna, such as deer, native cats, squirrels and butterflies. The main attraction, however, is the extremely rare Cat Ba langur. There are thought to be only around a hundred of these gold-headed primates living in the wild, and catching sight of one is a prize that lures many travellers to these shores.

What kind of seafood will be on offer?

It shouldn't come as any surprise that the Halong Bay region offers a range of mouthwatering seafood. If you get the opportunity, you can't miss trying tu hai. This large mollusc somewhat resembles a snail and its meat is highly valued by locals and visitors alike. It has a subtle, sweet taste that is delicious in soups or accompanied by traditional herbs and sauces. Another speciality of the region is sa sung. This strange-looking sea worm is prepared in a range of different ways. We'd recommend having it stir-fried with garlic or roasted as an accompaniment to a cool beer.