Travel to Halong Bay: Complete Guide

By Ngoc Nguyen - June 10, 2024
Travel to Halong Bay: Complete Guide

Halong Bay always attracts many domestic and international tourists. Halong is memorable with many famous landscapes, delicious dishes, and interesting experiences...

What to do when traveling to Halong Bay, where to go, what to eat? What is the reason for you to choose Halong as your vacation destination? What is the experience of traveling to Halong Quang Ninh to have fun and relax? All will be revealed in the complete Halong Bay travel guide below!

1. About Halong bay
2. Best time to visit Halong bay
3. Some hottest tourist destinations in Halong
4. How to get to Halong bay
5. What to eat in Halong
6. Halong bay travel itinerary
7. What do you need to prepare when traveling to Halong?

1. About Halong Bay

Ancora cruise

Halong is located in Quang Ninh Province, about 180km from Hanoi, and is known as the Northern tourist paradise. Thanks to its favorable location, modern infrastructure, and developed transportation system, each year, Halong attracts tens of millions of domestic and international tourists.

Halong Bay has an area of 1,553 km2 including 1,900 large and small limestone islands with very vivid shapes. The bay has been voted many times by UNESCO as a world natural wonder, known as a place that must be visited once in a lifetime.

Why should you choose Halong as one of the destinations for your travel itinerary? With the 3 reasons below, I believe everyone wants to pack their backpack and go right away.

  • One of the 7 natural wonders of the world: in the top 7 natural wonders of the world, certainly, Halong Bay is definitely the dream destination of every tourist. Not only domestic tourists, but foreign tourists are also very interested in and admire the natural creation here.
  • Full facilities and quality services: in recent years, Halong has had an extremely high economic development rate. The system of facilities and infrastructure is invested synchronously and with quality. Guests will be served a full range of amenities to meet their needs for entertainment, relaxation, shopping...
  • Many interesting and attractive places to play, entertain, and explore: coming to Halong, you will be free to explore, experience, and have fun. Most people's experience traveling to Halong is not to miss attractive places to visit such as Halong Bay, Old Town, night market, Tuan Chau...

2. Best time to visit Halong Bay

Halong's weather changes every month and is quite distinct in each season, so please carefully review the weather forecast before your trip. Travel time to Halong can be divided into the following time periods:

  • April to June is the ideal time to travel to Halong. At this time, the weather has almost no rain, is sunny and warm, very pleasant, very suitable for sightseeing and resting with family and friends.
  • June to August is the peak season of Halong, many Vietnamese families combine vacations with children, so the number of tourists flock, and room prices and services also easily increase. This time is summer. Especially in July and August, there are easily tropical depressions and storms, directly affecting tourists' Halong travel schedules.
  • Late November until Tet is the travel time for foreign tourists to Halong. Vietnamese tourists mainly choose to come here in the summer, so at this time, Halong is also peaceful and has more private space for you to enjoy.

Best Time to Visit Halong Bay

3. Some hottest tourist destinations in Halong

3.1. Halong Bay

Halong Bay possesses majestic and poetic natural beauty with thousands of large and small islands and many unique caves. The bay is also recognized by UNESCO as a world natural wonder, attracting many tourists every year with beautiful destinations such as Dragon Eye Island, Ti Top Island, Con Coc Island, Ngoc Vung Island, Surprise Cave, etc.

Halong bay overnight

>> Read more: Real-time Halong Bay Cruise price

3.2. Tuan Chau Island

tuan chau island

Located on Tuan Chau Island, Tuan Chau Tourist Area attracts tourists with its beautiful, poetic space. Coming to Tuan Chau, you should participate in water music performances, and have fun at the outdoor amusement park or the newly opened King Kong park that attracts many young people.

3.3. Quang Ninh Museum

quang ninh museum

Considered a miniature model of Quang Ninh, Quang Ninh Museum contains the culture of the Halong people, outlining the most typical features of the mining land. This is also a famous and beautiful check-in point.

3.4. Cua Van Fishing Village

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With the experience of many tourists traveling to Halong, if you have not been to Cua Van Fishing Village, you will not fully enjoy the beauty here. Cua Van is an ancient fishing village on the bay with a very unique lifestyle of coastal fishermen. Coming here, you will discover exciting activities such as fishing, squid fishing, and boating... and enjoy delicious seafood right on the boat. 

3.5. Bai Tho Mountain – Poem Mountain

bai tho moutain halong, poem moutain halong bay

Bai Tho (Poem) Mountain has a magical but no less solemn beauty. From here, you can admire the entire romantic landscape of Halong.

However, climbing Bai Tho Mountain has been suspended due to safety concerns for tourists. Instead, you can visit and admire the scenery below. Please carefully update information from local authorities before planning a specific itinerary for your Halong trip! 

3.6. Bai Chay Beach - a tourist attraction in Halong

bai chay beach halong

Bai Chay Beach is an artificial beach located right next to Halong Bay. According to the Halong travel experience of many tourists, this is considered the most beautiful beach in the city with clear blue water and smooth white sand stretching nearly 1,000m. Coming here, you will be able to freely swim, take some photos and have fun.

3.7. Lan Ha Bay

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Lan Ha Bay is located in the East of Cat Ba Island and borders the South of Halong Bay. Possessing majestic natural landscapes and unique wild scenery, Lan Ha Bay is an ideal destination for those who like wildness and peace. Visiting Lan Ha, visitors will experience exciting fun activities on the sea and explore the rustic life of the fishing village people here.

>> Read more: Top 9 cruises in Lan Ha Bay

3.8. Bai Tu Long Bay

bai tu long bay cruise

Bai Tu Long Bay includes hundreds of large and small islands, captivating many tourists with the rustic and magical beauty of schist and limestone islands undulating on the waves. The pristine, fresh landscape of long white sand beaches will also make you fascinated.

>> Read more: Visit Bai Tu Long Bay - Travel Guide

3.9. Halong Old Town

halong old town

Halong Old Town, also known as Bai Chay Old Town, has a unique architectural blend of traditional and modern beauty that delicately recreates the characteristics of Hoi An Ancient Town and Hanoi Old Quarter. In particular, each street corner is meticulously designed, so every corner is an ideal place for young people to check in and take photos.

3.10. Halong Night Market

halong night market, halong bay travel guide, halong bay cruise

Halong Night Market is a place to sell countless interesting items typical of the bay area such as wind chimes from snail shells, seashells, handicrafts... In addition, this place is also known as a "culinary paradise" with many seafood restaurants and snack stalls that will make you fall in love and forget the way home.

3.11. Some other attractive Halong travel experiences

halong bay cruise, halong bay cruise price

Not only can they visit, sightsee, and have fun, coming to Halong, visitors can also try many unique and impressive experiences such as:

  • Kayaking: enjoying the scenery of Halong Bay by kayak is an activity that tourists look forward to. You will be able to sit on a tiny Kayak, swim in the middle of the water, and feel small in the majestic landscape of clouds and sky. My experience traveling to Halong Bay when kayaking is to sit still and hold the position tightly for easy balance.
  • Spending the night on a cruise: If you love romantic natural scenery, try spending the night on a cruise in Halong Bay. Visitors will welcome the sunrise with the sea on all four sides, and no more dust or noise of the city.
  • Viewing Halong Bay from a seaplane: this is a relatively new form of experience. On the seaplane, you will have the same view as a bird flying high above, taking in the entire majestic landscape of Halong Bay.

4. How to Get to Halong Bay

With the synchronous development of transportation infrastructure, traveling to Halong is very quick and convenient. From Hanoi, visitors can use many types of transportation to get to Halong such as:


Traveling to Halong by motorbike from Hanoi and some Northern provinces, you can choose 1 of the following 2 routes:

  • Route 1: Hanoi - Bac Ninh follow Highway 18 and continue to move to Pha Lai - Chi Linh - Dong Trieu - Uong Bi - Halong
  • Route 2: Noi Bai airport - Bac Ninh, continue following National Highway 18A to Pha Lai - Sao Do - Dong Trieu - Uong Bi - Halong

Travel time by motorbike from Hanoi to Halong is about 4 - 5 hours. But long distances will be tiring and dangerous. However, for those who like to travel backpacking and explore, this will be a great experience. Nonetheless, if traveling by motorbike, you should keep a reasonable speed, equip a helmet with glasses, and a long-sleeved shirt to be safer on the journey.


If you go by car, you just need to follow the directions on the Hanoi - Halong highway and you can move to Halong quickly and safely. Travel time by car from Hanoi to Halong is only about 2 - 2.5 hours so it is very convenient.

Public transport

In addition to personal vehicles, you can also use public transportation such as taxis, buses, and trains. If departing from the Southern provinces, visitors can also take a plane to land at Cat Bi Airport - Hai Phong or Van Don Airport - Quang Ninh and travel to Halong quickly.

>> Read more: Guide about Vietnam International Airports

5. What to eat in Halong?

halong bay food, halong bay squid cake

Halong has a lot of delicious and fresh dishes, especially seafood since this is a coastal area. Here are some delicious Halong dishes you should try when you travel to Halong. 

5.1. Squid cake - famous Halong specialty

The first delicious dish that answers the question of what to eat in Halong is squid cake. Squid cakes are a famous specialty of the Halong coastal area. The golden, fragrant cakes are meticulously and meticulously prepared. Bite into the cake, you will feel the crunchy sound and the sweet taste when dipped in chili sauce or sweet and sour fish sauce.

If you come to Halong and want to buy this dish as a gift, according to the experience of many people traveling to Halong, consider buying hand-pounded squid cakes from people of Halong origin such as Ba Kien, Lang Chai, Hien Nhung... They know how to choose the right squid, how to mix the right proportions and all have their own family recipe. This way, the cakes will be more delicious and crispy.

5.2. Stir-fried snails with soy sauce 

Without betel leaves or cooking oil, Halong people stir-fry snails with long coriander, dried coconut, and lime leaves. The snail dipping sauce also does not need to be elaborately prepared but is taken from the chili sauce used to stir-fry the snails previously.

The snails are washed, put in the pot, seasoned to taste, and then brought to a boil. When the water has evaporated and has a strong aroma, take out the snails. Stir-fried snails with soy sauce are crispy, greasy, and spicy. What a delicious dish!

5.3. Grilled oysters 

Grilled oysters with onion grease is a famous dish in Quang Ninh that is loved by many tourists. The plump oysters are peeled off one side of the shell, added with onion fat, and grilled on a charcoal stove. When you hear the sizzling sound, add a few broken peanuts and you have a great dish.

5.4. Halong sandworm omelet

If you travel to Halong in the early winter, when the North wind is strong, you will see fishermen here holding nets to catch sandworms. This is a nutritious and delicious specialty loved by many tourists. The sandworm omelets are fried until golden brown, have a sweet aroma, and the outside is crispy but not dry. Eating them with vegetables and vermicelli will be an unforgettable experience during your days traveling to Halong.

5.5. Halong seafood noodle

As a sea area with many valuable seafood, Halong is very famous for dishes made from seafood. The sweet and rich taste of the broth along with the firm meat of mantis shrimp, mixed with golden dried shrimp, and chewy and crispy squid cakes creates a delicious bowl of seafood noodle soup that captivates all visitors.

6. Halong Bay Travel Itinerary

Halong bay private cruise

To have a tour to fully admire the nature and beautiful scenery here, please refer to these fun and unforgettable Halong Bay travel itineraries!

6.1. Halong Bay tour itinerary 3 days 2 nights

3 days and 2 nights is a relatively long time to fully see the scenery of Halong Bay. You can schedule a specific schedule as follows:

Day 1: Check-in, visit Halong Bay
Morning: move to Halong, check-in hotel
Afternoon: take a cruise to visit Halong Bay
Evening: explore Halong at night
Day 2: Explore Tuan Chau Island, swim at Bai Chay beach
Morning: have fun at Tuan Chau island
Afternoon: have fun, swim at Bai Chay beach
Evening: shopping at the night market and visiting Halong Old Town
Day 3: Visit the fish market early in the morning, check out the hotel
Morning: go to Halong seafood market, and buy Halong specialties as gifts
Noon: check-out of the hotel and say goodbye to Halong

6.2. Halong Bay itinerary 2 days 1 night

During 2 days and 1 night in Halong, you will also visit many beautiful scenery. The specific reference schedule is as follows:

Day 1: Check-in, in and explore Tuan Chau Island
Morning: move to Halong, check-in hotel
Afternoon: explore Tuan Chau Island with many exciting activities
Evening: enjoy dinner on the raft or have fun in the Old Town and Halong Night Market
Day 2: Visit Halong Bay
Morning: take a cruise to visit Halong Bay
Noon: check-out of the hotel and go home

6.3. Travel to Halong Bay in 1 day

One day is too short a time to explore all the beauty of Halong Bay. However, that does not mean you should ignore these attractive programs:

8:30 a.m.: Get on the bus to travel to Halong
12:00 p.m.: Go to Halong Bay to visit by cruise ship, and enjoy lunch on board. On the journey to visit the bay, visitors will visit Thien Cung Cave, Cho Da Island, Lu Huong Island, Ga Choi Island, and Cua Van Fishing Village...
4:30 p.m.: The cruise arrives at the dock, ends the 4-hour trip to visit the bay on the cruise, and get on the bus to return to Hanoi.

7. What do you need to prepare when traveling to Halong?

With our experience traveling to Halong, we recommend that you bring necessary items such as:

  • Sunscreen: Sunscreen is an indispensable item for tourists when going to Halong. The entertainment venues are mainly outdoors and require frequent movement. If you forget to bring sunscreen, your skin will change color after a few day's trip here.
  • Sunglasses, hats, flip flops: Halong summer is relatively hot, so you should bring sunglasses, hats, flip flops... to facilitate movement and play.
  • Swimwear: traveling to Halong without swimming is a big mistake. So, bag some swimsuits that you love.
  • Identification documents: everywhere, identification documents are indispensable. They will assist you in renting rooms, renting cars...
  • Electronics: of course, electronic items such as cameras, computers, phones... are indispensable for any trip. Halong has many beautiful scenes that can take some photos. So remember to fully charge the battery to avoid missing out on great scenes.


Certainly, no matter the time or schedule, Halong Bay is still a dream destination for tourists. Above are our experiences traveling to Halong. Hopefully, this detailed travel guide will bring you a lot of useful information!

>> See more list of Halong Bay cruises : Halong Bay cruise price

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