Exploring the karsts of Ha Long Bay. Photo by Aaron Joel Santos.
Cruise the bay
Nothing beats spending watching the sun set over the calm waters of Hạ Long Bay, and waking up to a serene morning surrounded by karsts. Relaxing on a sun deck surrounded by magnificent panoramas is the highlight of many a trip.
Explore a floating village
Hạ Long Bay is not just a UNESCO-listed site, it’s also home to a number of fishing communities who have lived on the water for centuries. Take a boat tour around a floating village for a glimpse of this rare and beautiful way of life.
Paddle out in a kayak
Even if you’re not an experienced kayaker, you can’t miss the chance to navigate your way around Hạ Long’s gorgeous seascape. Just before sunset is an ideal time to kayak to see quiet lagoons and fishing boats up close.
Clamber into a cave
Beneath their rocks and jungled exteriors, many of Hạ Long’s ancient karsts have been carved out by rain and water currents. Take a look inside these geological wonders on foot — some are a squeeze while others are enormous.
Try your hand at rock climbing
There are countless routes in the bay to keep climbing junkies entertained. Deep water soloing is becoming increasingly popular in beautiful Hạ Long Bay and Lan Hạ Bay, especially on Butterfly Island.
Hạ Long Bay’s climate can be cool with clear skies from September to November. Mist drifts in from December to March making the bay look all the more mysterious. April and May offer sunshine and a refreshing breeze, while the monsoon season can make visits unpredictable from June to August.
Most visitors to Hạ Long Bay opt for a packaged cruise, including transport to and from Hanoi. Independent travellers can take a bus to Hạ Long City or Hải Phòng and a taxi to the port. It’s also possible to charter a seaplane for a 45-minute ride direct from Noi Bai International Airport. Travelling Hạ Long Bay is best by boat. Those looking for a bird's-eye view can book a 15-minute seaplane ride over the bay. In Hạ Long City you can hire a taxi to get around town.