Ha Long Bay is located 170 kilometers away from Hanoi. According to a local legend, this Bay was made during the wartime, when Mother Dragon and her children carved vast valleys and jagged limestone columns of rocks to help Vietnamese people battle against their enemies.
Nowadays, Ha Long Bay (meaning “descending dragon” in Vietnamese) is one of the most attractive destinations in Vietnam due to its charming landscape.
There are many activities to do in Ha Long Bay. Visitors can stay in Ha Long and explore the Bay, then take a tour to the nearby beautiful island named Cat Ba. If you have enough time, the number one advice is to do both. Here hellohalongbay has piled up a list of the best activities to do on Halong – Cat Ba tours:
Halong Bay tours
Halong Bay with breathtaking view (Source: Internet)
Most visitors will choose to discover Halong Bay by embarking on a cruise on traditional junks. Junks were first introduced to Vietnam in the 14th century by Chinese traders. Since then, junks have become an important part of Vietnam’s maritime, serving as the main transportation along the coast. In recent year, especially after Halong has nominated as a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World, tourism in Halong Bay has started to bloom. Many of the old junks have been renovated into comfortable tourist boats. Depending on your time, there are one-day to three-day tours available at your convenience.
What does a complete Halong tour by boats include? A trip will include hotel pick-up in Hanoi and a tour guide. It takes four hours to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay, therefore as you as you board; lunch will be ready. Since the landscape of Halong Bay consists of many islets, it is quite hard to explore all Halong by big boats. Visitors can explore Halong Bay by themselves by kayak or smaller boats provided by the Vietnam travel agency.
Halong Bay from above (Source: Internet)
Two-day tours will offer tourists a chance to explore Vietnam’s coastline, such as Bai Tu Long Bay. The two Bays may seem to resemble, however it is less crowded in Bai Tu Long than in Halong Bay, thus giving tourists more tranquil atmosphere. Watching the sunset in Bai Tu Long is an amazing bonus for those who wish to stay longer.
Cat Ba Island tours
There is no direct ferry from Halong Bay to Cat Ba. However, you can find many options in Tuan Chau Island. From Tuan Chau Island, ferries run daily from Tuan Chau dock to Gia Luan pier and cost around 50.000 VND per ticket. From Gia Luan, you can either catch a public bus or taxi to Cat Ba town.
The beauty of Cat Ba (Source: Internet)
Cat Ba Island is one of the biggest islands in Halong Bay. There are three beaches located near the harbor town where you can have a refreshing bath and lie on the beach as long as you want. The beaches are no world wonders, but they are perfect locations for relaxing after a long trip from Halong.
Cat Ba National Park is home to endangered Cat Ba Langur and many other animals, birds, and wild herbs. The way to the top is rather moderate and beautiful. From the top, you can have a whole view of the island and nearby caves. You should visit the park in the morning, and then in the late afternoon, choose a right spot in the adjacent fort cannon to watch the sunset.
Hospital Cave is also a place you shouldn’t miss. Built during the Vietnam War, this three-story hospital served as a place to gather and nurse the injured and was in use 10 years after.
Best time to visit Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island
From October to April next year, Halong receives a lot of tourists since the weather is quite dry and pleasant, thus making your activities more enjoyable. However, visiting Halong during its peak time means you will find Halong very crowded and the price is normally higher. From May to September, the weather is less desirable; fewer tourists want to visit Halong during this time. The best news is this time is perfect for travelers looking for tranquility. The price is relatively low, which is also a plus for the low season.