The port city of Ha Long has long exported coal from its shores, but UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay does more to attract visitors than anything else. Caves, islands and limestone karst formations punctuate the Vietnamese coastal region, which some consider to be one of the most picturesque landscapes in all of Asia.
The best way to appreciate Ha Long's beauty is by boat or kayak, which can weave around the bay's natural formations and floating villages with ease. Many visitors forgo staying overnight ashore for more time on the water, choosing to sleep aboard. Of the 1,600 or so islands in Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba is the largest and most popular due to its national park – home to endangered golden-headed langurs – and adventure tours. There are also more than 20 caves scattered across the bay open to visitors. On Driftwood Island, you'll find Thien Cung and Dau Go – two caverns featuring soaring chambers and stalactites.
If you can pull yourself away from Ha Long's scenic pleasures, Ha Long City has a few attractions to explore. The Quang Ninh Museum provides an overview of Vietnam's history and culture with its educational exhibits and ancient artefacts. At the Sun World Ha Long Complex, Vietnam's largest amusement park, thrill rides are split between two sections and linked by the Queen Cable Car, which affords aerial views of the island and bay.