Welp, one of the wonders the world is Ha Long Bay. It is an absolute must see when traveling Asia in general but most importantly Vietnam.
I can remember like it was yesterday the day I headed to my new home on the bus through the city and looking out the window to see the first limestone rock protruding out of the water. As I looked out over the horizon, all I could see was tons more. I mean literally miles of these unimaginable rocks that just came to be.
Not many people decided to come to Ha Long City. Most travelers mainly come to see Ha Long Bay and go to the surrounding islands inside the Bay on tours from Hanoi but Ha Long City is located just outside of the Bay, and when I say that I literally mean I could see Ha Long Bay from my apartment building, I am not kidding.
There are slight few that decided they want to make a pit stop in Ha Long City, unless its certian tourists, locals or teachers. It is a unique city, unlike any other I have lived in. It is up and coming and I believe within the next 5 years it will be booming with people that want to travel here from all over.
For now, its laid back and still cultural, it has not yet been bombarded with becoming very westernized. Which I love. If you are planning on coming to Ha Long City, I want to make sure you see and experience these 7 places that I have found to be the best spots!
Have you noticed Instagram’s growing post of Ha Long Bay’s viewpoint? If you have, it totally makes sense because it’s one of a kind. Bai Tho Mountain can be found in Ha Long City on the Hong Gai side.
The entrance is through someone’s home, you will have to pay around 40 thousand Dong. They will try to charge you more but haggle with them and you should be able to talk them down for cheaper.
A lot of tourist are finding it “closed” due to neglect from past tourist. It is still possible to get in if you pay the lady at her home and climb through the tree where the gate is.
The hike takes about 20 minuets to the top, it is quite an incline with all steps, but the end view is one that will forever be imprinted in my mind. When deciding to do this hike you want to make sure it is not a cloudy day, if it is you will get to the top and won’t see much!
This waterfall is located about 15 minuets from the Bai Chay area. It is not hard to find, follow the directions on google maps and you shouldn’t have a problem! It will coast about 40,000 Dong to enter. To be fair, I think the price is totally worth it.
Ha Long can be extremely hot during the summer months so the waterfall is a perfect place to cool off and enjoy a day lounging around. They have little cabana type places on either side of the waterfall to hang in the shade or a place to picnic. The water is clean and is wonderful for a nice swim.
You can walk right into the waterfall as well. There is a path you can walk that will take you up to where there is a swing for pictures. The path continues on to another smaller waterfall, but it is still just as cool. Regardless a great place to have a chill day cooling off in the water.
This is by far one of my favorite spots in Ha Long. About a 20-minute drive from Bai Chay you will find what seems like a hidden oasis where nobody ever goes. When you plug it into google maps the directions are pretty understandable.
You will be following a set of railroad tracks, there will be an opening to go over the tracks and then you will make a left turn. You will almost go through a mini village or market on your bike, you cannot access this place by car. Once you are through the mini market you keep driving and then all of a sudden you will see this huge colorful lake.
The locals that live there are so nice and often times give you fruit for free and they gave us rafts to float around in. They have places to sit and chill in the shade or sun and have a walking trail you can take around the lake or above it so you can oversee the entire thing.
You can also rent a boat that can take you around the lake, there is a Buddha in the middle that you can go see as well. It is great for day trips and a wonderful place to check out in Ha Long.
This would be my hot spring of choice because it is unlike the others around Ha Long. Tien Yen is located in Dai Thanh. It has beautiful scenery and some hiking trails.
It will take you about an hour walk from the entrance to reach the spring but once you have arrived it will make for a lovely day enjoying the hot water and scenic views especially if you visit Ha Long during the colder months.
This hot spring is one of the most famous in Vietnam and is considered very well for health due to the bromine density. This hot spring is a wonderful spa type of area that offers massages and acupuncture. They have 30 rooms that provide mineral bath services as well as a large community hot spring pool.
This is by far one of the most fun places I have been in Ha Long. When you think of waterparks in Vietnam, you wouldn’t think it would be one similar to what you would find in America or the UK but let me tell you, it totally is!
They have so many awesome rides to enjoy! You can easily spend an entire day at this park just riding every ride once. They have a wave pool, kitty park, lazy river, watersides that are single rider ones or some that can fit up to 4 people. Climbing to the top of each water ride you get to see the incredible views of Ha Long Bay behind you.
It is also quite safe, I never felt in danger on any of the rides. The rides were SO FUN. The best part about going to this water park is none of the locals go! We were able to go on all the rides we wanted without having to wait in line, and if we did it was maybe for 5 minuets.
This island was by far my favorite place to continue to return to while living in Ha Long City.
It is a 45-minuet boat ride from Ha Long City through the limestone greatness. I mean I was literally in awe the first time I was up close and personal with the natural beauty of the views.
When you reach Cat Ba and start driving through the island you literally feel like you are in the movie Jurassic Park. That’s how unreal the views of this place are.
I would be sure to check the boat times – usually there are 4 boat times and the last one leaves Cat Ba around 4PM so if you are only planning to make it a day trip don’t miss the boat!
Bing stuck on Cat Ba for a few days is totally not the end of the world though. You are also able to bring your motor bikes on the boat do you do not have to rent one once you get there.
Cat Ba is filled with so much culture and a lot to do! That will be a blog post for another day, but you will have to check out war bunkers, hiking trails, waterfalls, National Park, hang by the beach and the eateries they have! This place is an amazing get away for a few days or one just for a few hours.
If you are heading to Asia and want some more options to explore, feel free to check out The Asia section of my blog for more reads on this amazing Country!