Visiting Halong Bay and you can experience very diverse natural landscape, varying from long sandy beach to thousand-year-old-lime karst. Halong Bay covers nearly 1900 islets of different size, some very large such as Thien Cung Cave or Surprise Cave, others as small as a few meters wide. Discover what you will see as you make your way to this natural wonder.
1. Dau Be Island
Located in the southeast of Ha Long Bay, Dau Be Island is 500 m to the east of Hang Trai Island, 28km from Bai Chay Cruise Port, in an archipelago located in the bay outside Ha Long Bay. Island has an area of 22 863 m2 with 139 meters at the highest peak. The steep island cliffs stand like walls to shield the island from the waves rushing from the east into the Gulf.
Dau Be Island is famous for Ba Ham Lake because it is a well-known tourist attractions have been known for a long time. Ba Ham Lake is a system consisting of three major ocean basins connected through a meandering narrow cave. Inside the cave, stalactites hang down from the ceiling cave creates strange shapes and sizes. On island there are species of orchids, banyans, and palm trees. The island which is also home to the golden monkeys, birds, flying squirrels, bats, has blooming flowers all year round. Under the blue water, there are many marine species thriving. In "Merveille de Monde" published in 1938 specializing in the introduction of scenic Ba Ham Lake described as follows: “Upon arrival Ba Ham Lake, you have the same impression as to Luon cave, Sung Sot cave but landscape here is much nicer. Though the entrance is less easy than in Luon Cave, tourists take joy in exploring this strange landscape.”
2. Cong Tay Island
Cong Tay Island is located in Bai Tu Long Bay, part of the tour around Ngoc Vung Island in Quan Lan, about 40km off Bai Chay Cruise Port. Ships and cruises normally run from Cam Pha to the island in about 90 minutes, about 30 minutes by speedboat.
Cong Tay Island is like the Cinderella in fairy tale. It is still mostly untouched and undiscovered by the destructive force of extensive tourism. It beauty lies in its simplicity with some built resort for weekend visits and relaxation. A hostel system, equipped with restaurants, lies along the beach front of Cong Tay Island. Red bricks pathways, running between 2 lines of coconut trees, pave the walk from the hotel to the beach. Along the beach, you can see hammocks readily hang under the trees, a perfect place to relax, enjoy the sea and read your favorite book. Tourists get totally detached from the real world, getting lost in a strange peaceful land for complete relaxation.
3. Cong Do Island
Located in the southeast of Ha Long Bay, 25km off from Bai Chay cruise port, Cong Do Island is inside Bai Tu Long Bay. The island has an area of 23 363km2 with 172m high mountain. This is one of the many beautiful islands in the sea has wonderful natural salt lake, making it home to many species of marine life such as shrimp, crab, fish, squid, seaweed, algae.
Southeast of the island still has remnants of the old Van Don trading port, however faint, but it confirms that Cong Do island formerly held key positions in commerce and trade with foreign countries. Visitors can easily find the ecosystem here is extremely diverse without any prior biological knowledge. Spanning from the edge of the island to the mountain top, there are interspersed species of vines, small trees and big trees with up to 30-40 cm in diameter.
4. Ba Mun Island
Ba Mun Island is an island belonging to Minh Chau commune of Van Don District of Halong Bay, lying parallel to the island of Quan Lan. The Island is also known as High Island Block. Ba Mun Island is about 15 km from the shore. The island has an area of approximately 1800 hectares with more than 20 km in length, narrow width, stretching from east to west. The highest mountain is called Mandarin mount (Quit mountain), with a height of 397m. The flora and fauna on the island is very rich and there are many rare species.
Ba Mun Island is the only schist island with primeval forests in Halong Bay. On the island there are numerous rare types of timber. Some of them include Dinh timber, Lim timber, Sen Timber, Tau Timber. They are all trees standing there for many years, developing a huge circumference. Some grow so big that they require three to four people to hug around. Ba Mun Island is where many species of rare animals such as antelope, deer, monkeys, langurs and sea birds, migratory birds ... are being protected. On 01/24/1997 Ba Mun forest has been recognized as Bai Tu Long national Forest.
5. Bo Hon Island
When it comes to beautiful islands in Halong Bay, Bo Hon Island is definitely worth mentioning. The island has not only beautiful landscapes but also has one of the largest island chain with many of Halong Bay famous caves like Sung Sot cave, Luon cave, swimming Tien Cave, Trinh Nu cave, Trong cave. These caves are famous destinations for tourists whenever they want to visit Halong Bay. Beside the magnificent cave system, Bo Hon Island takes your breath away with its series of high peaks, steep cliffs and consecutive mountains. They intertwine together, fitting perfectly into the horizon, making you feel like they are crafted by the most skillful craftsmen.
Bo Hon Island is also the home for many types of flora and fauna as well as wild animals. The island is inhabited by many species of plants, such as Banyan Tree, or orchid ... Animals reside here include monkeys, deer, antelope ... Though the number of wild animal is diminishing, Bo Hon Island is the sanctuary for those animals to live in. While having such diverse ecosystem, maybe Bo Hon Island is more famously known for its hidden cave system. Each cave bears a beautiful magic of its own, and is associated with many touching legends.
6. Lan Ha Bay
Located adjacent to Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is a peaceful bay in Cat Ba Island system. Lan Ha Bay has about 400 large and small islands covered with green trees and vegetation. Limestone also makes up a large portion for the small islets in the bay. Nature is peaceful on the island. There are many calm water area suitable for swimming and kayaking around Sen Islet, Cu islet, Monkey islet. Stalactite caves such as Ham Rong, Do Cung or beaches at Tung Bear Cave, Cat Dua beach are some of other natural attraction in the area.
Lan Ha Bay has 139 beautiful and clean beaches with white sand. Gentle waves and calm sea make this a perfect place for swimming. Underneath the blue water, colorful coral reefs area such as Van Boi, Van Ha is worth a diving adventure. If you intend to learn about the bay, you will have to take a few days, but if you are short on time, you can ask boat owners to suggest a few destinations.
Cat Dua Island is the first stop on the tourist route in Lan Ha Bay. Most of the boats are not stopping here because fatigue but they come to admire what nature has bestowed on Cat Ba. The island is also called Monkey Island due to the existence of monkeys. They may storm out ready for snatching food from careless tourists. They can bite if someone provokes.
7. Yen Tu Mountain
Yen Tu Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the Dong Trieu Mountains in the north-eastern area of Vietnam, located within the area of Uong Bi Town, Quang Ninh Province. Besides being a famous natural landscape, Yen Tu preserves numerous historical relics and is also known as “The cradle of Buddhism in Vietnam”.
Standing on the highest peak of Yen Tu, one might to able to watch a panorama of the extensive North-eastern Vietnam, Bach Dang River, and especially the natural wonder Halong Bay.
8. Ti Top Island
Different from other popular tourist sites in Halong, Ti Top Island does not only possess breath taking romantic landscapes, but also has a heavenly beautiful beach called Ti Top which is perfect for any beach activity.
Although its size is not really big comparing to other beaches in Halong, Ti Top Beach is especially famous for its fresh atmosphere, clean water, and smooth white sand that create a great ambiance for tourists to relax. Thanks to all these, Ti Top Beach draws a huge amount of visitors during summer of special occasion.
9. Thien Cung Cave
Thien Cung Cave is 10,000 square meters with complicated interior structure, many floors, and high ceiling. The cave becomes famous thanks to a unique system of stalactites and stalagmites with different forms and shapes.
Exploring Thien Cung Cave’s craggy cliffs is no easy task. Going through a narrow door, you would be surprised by a large space inside the cave that the further you walk, the more beautiful formation of stalactites come to your eyes.
Make full use of your imagination to create pictures of fish schools, flocks of birds, and the daily life of people from a giant natural rock pillar all naturally sculptured by stalactites inside your mind when you come to the center of the cave.
10. Surprising cave
Located inside Bo Hon Island, in the middle Halong Bay, Surprising Cave is considered the most magnificent cave in this charming bay.
Most names of tourist attractions in Halong originate from very interesting stories and Surprising Cave is one of them. Actually at first the cave was named “Grotto de la Surprise” (The cave of Surprise) and recently, it has been shortened to “Surprise”. This title describes the very first feeling of tourists when they entered the cave with full of “wow”, “amazing”, and “unbelievable”.
At first, after few steps into the cave they tourists might think that the cave seems like a narrow and minuscule one, but with just few more steps into the cave, it becomes bigger and bigger. The tourists could not imagine how a tiny path could lead to such a giant, airy, and spectacular cave.
11. Quan Lan Island
Quan Lan Island is located within the area of Bai Tu Long Bay, stretching on a total area of 11 square kilometers, from Van Don mountains to Giot Mountain.
The island lies on a very important marine gateway connecting Vietnam and other countries such as China, Japan, Thailand, and The Philippines. Spreading along the coast of the island are numerous white sand beaches and this is also the sea where fishermen get high quality seafood such as squids, butterfish, mackerel, prawn, sea cucumber, etc.
12. Ngoc Vung Island
Ngoc Vung Island is a romantic place which possesses primitively beautiful landscapes with freshest and most delicious seafood of the bay at the lowest price.
Ngoc Vung Beach with a crescent moon shape winding 3km along the casuarina forest attracts visitors by the fresh air and clean water. Additionally, seafood captured by the local fishermen is fresh, delicious, and surprisingly cheap. Recommendation dishes are geoduck, lobster, and sipunculus nudus.
Con Do Fishing Village is also an interesting place to explore where you would get a chance to drive a motor boat, or to learn about the daily life of the local fishermen.
13. Minh Chau Beach
For those who want a long journey, a trip to Minh Chau Beach would be a wise choice.
The unique feature is the pristine white non-sticky sand that gives a comfortable sensation walking on. The beauty of the beach resembles the famous Snow White
On Minh Chau Beach, tourists would love to enjoy a variety of beach activities, camping, exploring the island, looking for rare sea animals of the island, or releasing your body and mind into a quiet and relaxing ambiance on the beach under the moonlight.
Tourists who are interested in visiting Minh Chau Beach can depart from Cam Pha District (Halong) and get a ferry for 9 kilometers to Cai Rong Town. Then, canoes would be the last transportation to Quan Lan Island, where Minh Chau Beach is located, for around three hours. I that three hours, tourists can also visit fishing villages and tropical green islands to enjoy the stunning landscape of the bay.
14. Kissing Rocks
With thousands of islets of different shapes and sizes on its surface, there are countless stories about them in Halong Bay. Among those beautiful islets, there are two most special chicken shaped rocks, one rooster and one hen facing each other in the middle of blue water and gentle wind of Halong.
They are not only the symbols of Halong but also the symbol of a passionate love. While to some others, these rocks seem fighting each other and they call them Fighting Chicken Rock, people seem to prefer the name Kissing Rocks. The rocks that have been facing each other for probably hundred thousand years, like an eternal love.
15. Wooden Head Cave
Floating on the emerald water, Wooden Head cave is amongst the most famous tourist attractions in Halong Bay. Inside Wooden Head cave, tourists will find Wooden Head Cave a very interesting cave.
From afar, the cave entrance is a jellyfish look-alike 90 steps stair. Into the cave, a massive system of stalagmites and stalactites resembling stony waterfalls would make anyone feel like being one with the nature.
The cave has three main compartments. The first area has a curved shape which is filled up by natural light. The celling of this area is a giant oil painting describing primitive landscapes with rows of stalagmites and stalactites changing their color upon the intensity and angle of the light. Many tourists love letting their imagination go wild with all the light reflecting on those stalagmites and stalactites.
16. Long Beach
Living up to its name, Long Beach stretches for nearly 2km, with smooth and white sand along with clean and fresh water. Other than breathtaking landscapes and relaxing atmosphere, tourists may find this beach more enjoyable with diverse choices of activities organized by trustworthy resorts here, such as beach volleyball, kayaking, Jet Ski, karaoke, spa, and sauna, etc.
Thanks to the romantic scenery, the wooden dock is the highlight of Long beach is a perfect spot of professional photographers to make outstanding masterpieces. Many people find this place an ideal place for wedding photo-shooting.
Additionally, tourists can get a one day cruise from Long beach to other famous tourist attractions of Halong like Bai Tu Long Bay, tropical green islands like Ngoc Vung, Quan Lan, Minh Chau, or sacred Cai Bau Pagoda.
17. Co To Island
Co To Island/Beach in Quang Ninh Province is probably the most beautiful and romantic beach of Vietnam with transparent blue sea, white smooth sand, golden sunshine, and green mountains and forest.
Visiting Co To, tourists would not only have a chance to become one with the nature in a relaxing and fresh environment of blue clean seawater, but also to visit primitive forests, the impressive lighthouse of Co To, Ho Chi Minh’s Monument, Co To Pier, fishing village and natural reefs and islets.
In Co To, you might feel free to immerse into the clean water while watching flocks of seagull flying above or wandering around the beach to look for their foods. With many options of beaches in Co To, you should never worry about finding a good spot for a relaxing afternoon lying on the beach.
18. Tra Co Beach
With the extensive beach of smooth white sand and blue transparent water, Tra Co Beach is the border of a natural island which is created by the impact of waves and sea stream onto the shore.
Most tourists prefer Tra Co Beach because that there are very few shops, restaurants, and street vendors here. If tourists want some fresh seafood, they can find it easy and cost-saving from fishing boats anchoring on the shore at its freshest.
If tourists come to Tra Co at the end of lunar calendar May, they can take part in “Tra Co Festival”, which occurs from May 30 to June 6 of the year. During 6 days of the festival, all the quintessence of Tra Co is revealed to tourists.
19. Tuan Chau Island
Tuan Chau Island is a newly established tourism center of Halong City, which is only 8 kilometers away from downtown Halong. The whole area of this island is about 2.2 square kilometers, which consists of multiple sloping hills.
Tuan Chau Beach is artificial, stretching over 2 kilometers long with white smooth sand and yellow sunshine the whole summer. Visiting Tuan Chau, you would never have to worry about your accommodation with more than 400 rooms of international standard at your service: private villa, luxury resort, or high-end hotel.
In Tuan Chau, tourists might also enjoy a variety of exciting activities like Jet Ski, canoes parachute, sea fishing, kayaking, mountain climbing, camping, or lavish services and entertainment such as dolphin show, seal show, circus, and martial art show 6 days a week (except Monday). Come to Tuan Chau Island, come to the heaven on Earth.
20. Reu Island
Reu Island lies just 500 m from the tourist boats wharf. The Hoang Gia International Joint Venture is implementing a project to turn the island into a resort complex with many kinds of services. At present, the island has a lot species of animals, including many rare ones. Reu Island is fast changing into an interesting holiday resort.
21. Soi Sim Island
Soi Sim is an earthen island 400 m away from Ti Top Island, and 9-10 km from the Tuan Chau Tourist Port. With the area of 8.7 hectare, the island has very special geological formation in which 2/3 covered by Feralit and soil weathered by wind. It also includes a primitive forest with varieties of flora and fauna, and plants endemic to Halong Bay Ecology.
In the island there are many ancient trees. The Halong Bay Management Board is going to build a system of guesthouses equipped with modern facilities. At present, a small beach has been improved and upgraded, adding more charm to the attractive holiday resort.
22. Ba Trai Dao (Three Peaches) Island
This island consists of three small mountains with the height of 23m, seen from afar, resemble three peaches (Ba Trái Ðào).
The island connects to a legend of about the romantic love between a youngest fairy who was very pretty with a young and poor fisherman. Because of feeling in love with him, she stole three peaches from Heaven for him, that if he ate, would give him eternal life, allowing them to live together forever. The King of the Heavens discovered the robbery and turned the peaches into three stone islands. Chastised, the young fairy had to return.
Today, Ba Trai Dao is a famous tourist attraction with three nice fairy beaches, romantic landscape. It is 22 km from south north of Bãi Cháy Tourist Wharf.