The seascape of Halong Bay is one of the most iconic images of Vietnam that you can experience on your trip to Vietnam. Indian tourists can take a cruise through the emerald green waters and explore the numerous rugged islands and islets, including magnificent caves filled with ancient formations. Although Halong Bay is a popular bucket list destination, it is still possible to discover quiet, secluded spots away from the crowds.
Halong City is located in the northern part of Vietnam, so it experiences four distinct seasons. The months of April to June are warm and dry, while June to August can be hot and rainy due to the possibility of typhoons. September to December brings cooler weather, eventually becoming cold. Each season has its own unique beauty, with summer being a great time for swimming and sunbathing, while spring and autumn are ideal for enjoying a quieter Halong and engaging in outdoor activities and exploring amusement parks. Peak season is from June to August when the city is crowded, especially on weekends.
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How to get to Halong Bay from India?
You can take a flight from India to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. From Hanoi, you can move around in many ways. Besides private cars, there are Limousine cars that provide door-to-door services upon request (Phuc Xuyen, Van Don Xanh, Ha Long Travel…) with ticket prices ranging from 180,000 to 220,000 VND per person. In addition, you can catch a coach at bus stations within Hanoi city, with ticket prices of around 150,000 – 200,000 VND per person.
Quang Ninh has Van Don airport. Therefore, travelers from Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang can take a direct flight to Quang Ninh, then travel by road from the airport to Ha Long city, which is about 50 km away. There is a bus from the airport to the city center.
Getting around Halong
In Halong, if you don’t have your own vehicle, you can rent a motorbike for around 120,000 – 200,000 VND per day. If you travel with a group of people like family, friends, or colleagues, it is recommended to rent a taxi (Mai Linh, Thanh Hung, Thinh Hung…), use Grab (bike or car), or rent a private car.
Where to stay: hotels, homestay
There are many accommodation options to choose from in Ha Long, including budget hotels, resorts, homestays, guesthouses, and even cruises, ranging in price from a few hundred thousand dong to a few million dong.
Ha Long City is divided into two areas, Bai Chay and Hon Gai, by the Bai Chay bridge. Bai Chay is the tourist hub, with many hotels and restaurants, while Hon Gai is primarily a residential area.
For those looking for a comfortable homestay at an affordable price, options include The Bay, Halong Ginger, Orestay, and Deja Vu House. For more luxurious options, visitors can book a room at hotels such as FLC Grand Hotel on Van Nghe Hill, Wyndham Legend Halong, Novotel, Saigon Halong, Mường Thanh Hotel Group, Royal Lotus, or 5-star resorts such as Vinpearl Resort and Spa and Premier Village Halong Bay Resort.
Top things to do in Halong Bay
- Cruise the bay: There’s nothing quite like watching the sun set over the calm waters of Halong 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: Ha 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 Ha 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 Ha 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 Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay, especially on Butterfly Island..
Best food to eat
Famous dishes in Halong are mostly made from seafood such as razor clam, mantis shrimp, sandworm, ark shell, shrimp, crab, fish, squid… Seafood noodle soup is very popular.
- Razor clam noodle soup: a common breakfast and lunch dish in Halong. Razor clam (also known as mantis shrimp) is a seafood species abundant in Halong Bay, with firm, sweet and nutritious flesh. A bowl of noodle soup costs around 30,000 – 40,000 VND.
- Stuffed squid cakes: a very famous specialty of Halong, can be enjoyed at any time of the day in Halong. Some famous addresses include the brands of Ms. Ngan, Ms. Yen, Goc Bang restaurant, or at the local market during the day. A serving costs between 30,000 – 55,000 VND. The famous sandworm address in Halong is Mrs. Ty’s Sam at No. 6 Cao Thang Alley, or Sam Quang Yen restaurant, located on the road from Halong to Hanoi. In the afternoon at the snack area of Halong market 1, there is also a stall selling sour-sweet sandworm feet, sandworm cakes… which are quite delicious.
- Stir-fried snails: a popular snack that locals love, with affordable prices ranging around 35,000 VND/dish depending on the type. To enjoy stir-fried snails, you should go to street stalls where you can feel more comfortable and the cooking style is more rustic. Stir-fried snails with soy sauce, lemongrass, tamarind sauce, coconut… are very tasty and addictive.
- Tran chau yogurt: a must-try dessert, having yogurt served with pearls and been popular for about 10 years. This famous snack has become a brand of Halong and is well-known in other cities. The stalls make their own smooth, non-icy yogurt that is cool and refreshing. A serving costs only 10,000 – 30,000 VND. Mrs. Nghi’s shop or Tuan Lien’s shop are familiar places for tourists as they have spacious parking lots. Tourists can also try Mrs. Phuong’s yogurt, which is highly recommended by many locals.
Halong Bay Travel Guide & Recommendations
Vietnam Itineraries with Halong Bay
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FAQs about Halong Bay
The best time to visit Halong Bay is from March to May and from September to November when the weather is mild and sunny.
The typhoon season in Halong Bay runs from July to September, so it is best to avoid traveling during this time as the weather can be unpredictable and cruises may be canceled.
You can take a flight from India to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, and then take a bus or taxi to Halong Bay. Alternatively, you can also take a train or bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
Some popular activities in Halong Bay include taking a cruise to explore the bay, kayaking, swimming, visiting fishing villages, and exploring the caves and grottoes.
Yes, Ha Long Bay is generally safe for travelers. However, it is always important to take basic precautions such as keeping your valuables safe and being aware of your surroundings.
It is recommended to spend at least 2-3 days in Halong Bay to fully explore the area and take in the beautiful scenery.
Some popular restaurants in Halong Bay include Quang Anh Seafood, Chao Vit Hai Phong, and Green Mango Restaurant.