Composed of a multitude of limestone islands as well as islets rising from the sea in various shapes and sizes, Halong Bay is a spectacular seascape gorgeously sculptured by nature with a series of attractions. Visitors to this area are always impressed by the friendly people, the delicious food, glorious views, wonderful entertainment centers, and a multitude of activities. Read on for a list of Halong Bay must-see tourist attractions. Some are part of many Halong Bay cruises, others you can explore on your own Vietnam adventures.
There is a steep uphill walk to reach the main gate of this fort, which is located on Cat Ba Island, but the mesmerizing views of the sunrise and sunset make it well worth the visit. Cannon Fort was constructed by Japanese troops during World War II. Here, you can explore underground tunnels, well-preserved bunkers, trenches, and a pair of gun emplacements, with one featuring life-size Viet Minh model soldiers.
Two viewing decks overlook the forest-clad hills of the island rolling down to a colorful cluster of bobbing fishing boats in the port, beyond which the karst formations jutting out of the emerald waters of Halong Bay. There is also a café and a small museum. A short visit here combines historical impressions of Vietnam’s turbulent past with the natural beauty surrounding it.
Ho Chi Minh led a long and ultimately successful campaign to make Vietnam independent and is credited as being the founding father of modern Vietnam. No town in this country is complete without a statue of this formidable leader. The monument to Ho Chi Minh in Halong Bay is located on a mountain in Cat Ba Town and was built in honor of Ho Chi Minh’s visit to Cat Ba Island in April 1951. There is a steep but short staircase leading up to the viewpoint, from where you will get a panoramic view over Cat Ba Island out to Lan Ha Bay.
Tuan Chau once served as a vacation spot for former President Ho Chi Minh and is home to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. The island is connected to Halong City both by roads and waterways so it is easy to reach. Over the past two decades, Tuan Chau has seen significant growth and is now a fully developed tourist zone, which is known for its majestic mountains, beaches, and a wide variety of tourist services including resorts, restaurants, entertainment venues, and a recreational park. It’s also a port and embarkation point for many Halong luxury cruises.
Discovered by Vietnamese-French archaeologists in 1938, Trung Trang Cave is one of the most visited tourist destinations on Cat Ba Island. Stretching for about 1000 feet, this remarkable cave is a natural wonderland, surrounded by impressive mountains and rich and varied flora. Inside, countless shining stalactites take on different shapes and forms.
Trung Trang is sometimes called ‘Navy Cave’ because it was picked as an operations site by the naval forces during the American-Vietnam War. Today, you’ll still see some historical artifacts such as the activity room, water tank, meeting room, and the soldiers’ quarters. A visit here allows you to explore a natural wonder and a historical site at the same time.
One of the main modern Halong Bay Vietnam tourist attractions, the Sunworld Amusement Park offers an all-embracing view of Halong Bay and is applauded as being the leading entertainment hub of northern Vietnam with a world-class gaming system and an abundance of recreational activities for all ages. This world-class amusement and recreational complex consist of two main areas, connected by the spectacular 1.2-mile-long Queen’s Cable Car line, which crosses the sea and holds two Guinness World Records: One as the biggest reversible aerial tramway capable of carrying up to 230 passengers, and the other as the highest cable car at a height of 206 yards.
The Mystic Mountain Amusement Park on Ba Deo Hill presents highlights such as the Zen Garden, the Fun Park, an indoor game zone, the Mysterious Castle, and in particular the Sun Wheel, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the world, which is a fantastic sight as it changes color during Halong City’s light show. The Coastal Amusement Park on the scenic Bai Chay Beach features the Dragon Park – an extreme game zone and the most spectacular roller coaster of Vietnam; an exciting Typhoon Water Park called the Tornado Bay; and the unwinding coast of Ha Long, bordered by turquoise waters and a white sandy beach.
Built between 1963 and 1965 on Cat Ba Island, Hospital Cave is so named because it was used as a secret hospital during the American-Vietnam War; it could not be seen from the ground or the air and it couldn’t be bombed. It was also used by Viet Cong leaders. A guide will show you around some 17 rooms over three floors and you can even see an operating theater. The first level features man-made concrete rooms for patients and doctors’ offices. The second one is less spacious and formed mostly with natural rock, you can see a cinema within the cavern and a small swimming pool. The third level is a tiny safe house for the communist leaders.
The structure is extraordinarily brilliant and comprehensively equipped with ventilation shafts, water access, and secret tunnels allowing for immediate escape.
Located in the Hong Hai Ward of Halong City, the museum is a great way to experience centuries of Vietnamese history and the development of the country’s cultural identity. Inside the museum, you’ll find attractions including a whale skeleton, sailboat models, and fascinating artifacts depicting Vietnam’s storied past. The architecture of the building is also pretty special because it is designed to function like a massive mirror reflecting gorgeous views of the Halong Bay coastline.
The Bai Chay Bridge connects the bay area and the city, making it a major landmark in Halong Bay. Take a stroll through Halong City and over the Bai Chay Bridge at night, where you can watch a spectacular light show with the city bathed in color. The bridge is also magnificently decorated and is a great spot to pose for photos.
Also known as Maze Cave or Bewitching Cave, Me Cung is believed to be one of the oldest caves in Halong Bay and is an important archaeological site as it houses vestiges of human activity dating back to the Stone Age. Remnants found at the cave’s entrance are Melania shells – a type of periwinkle, which only lives in streams. Me Cung is also considered one of the most picturesque caves in Halong Bay. The entrance to the cave is 80 feet high up some stone steps, where you’ll find a very tight opening that only allows one person to enter at a time.
Inside, is a very complex structure of many levels and narrow chambers filled with sparkling stalactites in diverse shapes and sizes drooping like multi-colored curtains. A corridor extends about 300 feet to the far end. When you emerge, you’ll find another rough stone stairway and when you get to the top you’ll be rewarded with a splendid view of the blue Me Cung Lake surrounded by mountains. Right next to the lake is an area called the Royal Garden, which is home to many old trees. If you press on further to the top of the mountain, you have a breath-taking panoramic view of the area.
Located northeast of Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay actually forms three-quarters of the World Heritage Site. With hundreds of its own karst island formations, Bai Tu Long Bay easily rivals the scenic beauty of Halong. rich in biodiversity, limestone cliffs, and a vibrant coastal ecosystem. Be sure to visit Quan Lan Island, Thay Cave, Thien Canh Son Cave, and the Ang Du Area.
Named after its prominent resident, the rose myrtle, Soi Sim Island puts on the ultimate display of flora and fauna and is famous for its emerald waters, which are rendered green by the surrounding foliage. The remarkable forest here is filled with ancient plants, while the island is surrounded by mountains with a stunning view of Halong Bay.
Dau Be Island is a great spot if you want to go swimming or diving. You’ll find some amazing coral gardens here, as well as deep grottoes located inside three large lakes. If you want to get the underground cave and grottoes, then you need to row across to them at low tide, which is the only time that you will be able to climb inside.
Fighting Cocks Island is called Hon Ga Choi in Vietnamese and this is also one of the best-known landmarks in the Halong Bay area. The island is made up of two large rocks that jut out of the sea and resemble two cockerels fighting. The best time to visit the island is in the late afternoon when the sun sets between these two rock formations.
Halong Bay is a very popular destination in Vietnam, which means that many of the islands get crowded in the high season. If you would like to explore a quieter part of the region, then consider a trip to Lan Ha Bay – some of the Halong cruise boats dedicate the itinerary to Lan Ha.
With approximately 400 small and large limestone islands and islets, mysteriously covered with green trees and vegetation, the exceptionally beautiful Lan Ha Bay is the most peaceful of all the Halong Bay attractions. You can go rock climbing here, and the calm water is ideal for sea kayaking and swimming, especially around Cu islet, Sen Islet, and Money Islet.
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