Enjoy your vacation in a beautiful Halong Bay cruise is one of the highlight activities that is unmissable for Vietnam vacation. An ideal destination to admire the gorgeous landscapes whilst refreshing yourself in the middle of the bay.
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Halong Bay is one of the natural wonders of the world recognized by UNESCO. 3 hour driving from Hanoi capital. Ha Long Bay is located in the Gulf of Tonkin, northeast of Vietnam. The bay has nearly 2000 large and small karst islands in the area of 434 square km rising out of the water with the height up to hundreds of meters. And numerous caves and grottos spread throughout the bay.
With its beauty of archaeological and geological significance, cultural and historical connections and an international gateway to the sea, Ha Long Bay has become an ideal destination for domestic and foreign tourists.
According to the tourist location of Ha Long, the Bay is divided into 2 areas: Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. These are two parts that the bay management board has built unique attractive routes.
The most outstanding feature of the bay is nearly 2000 large and small karst islands named by the local people's imagination about the shape of those islands. The average height of the island is from 50 to 100 m and the top of the island is steep cliffs that are human could not be accessible, so it is still full of wild natural features. The rocky islands on the turquoise blue water of the bay create a beautiful picture of nature.
Karst islands in Halong Bay - A georgous landscape for cruising
Besides the karst islands, Halong bay also has an irresistible attraction of caves and grottoes in those rocky islands. There are many caves that have not to be discovered yet. And to protect the nature of Halong Bay, only a few caves are open to tourists, such as Sung Sot cave, Thien Cung Cave, Dau Go cave, Trinh Nu cave, Thien canh Son cave…
In addition, on the bay, there are many large and small sandy beaches forming beautiful beaches that tourists can visit and swim such as Titov beach, Soi Sim beach.
With such geographical location, natural features and beauties as above, more and more tourists come to visit Halong Bay.
To visit Halong bay, visitors can choose from many routes for their trip. If tourists do not have much time and want to take advantage of visiting the beauty of the bay as well as the caves, they can choose Halong Bay Cruise day trip.
This is the most time-saving and cost-effective option while still enjoying the tour of Ha Long Bay. The schedule goes from Hanoi to Halong at noon, boarding to visit the bay, have lunch on boat and continue the journey until afternoon.
Tourists will return to Hanoi in the evening. The day cruise trip schedule will have a choice of 4 - 6 and 8 hours. And usually the 4-hour cruise is the most chosen. The 8-hour itinerary will take all day, only for guests who have stayed in Halong city.
The cruise day trip program can also be a private cruise or a group tour with other guests. For the privacy, or as a group of friends and family traveling together, you should choose a private day boat (charter).
The type of overnight cruise on the bay is chosen by most tourists because it optimizes the time and experience for visitors.
Depart from Hanoi in the morning and at noon arrive in Ha Long. Visit the bay, have lunch on board, and continue cruising on the bay until dinner. Overnight on board and participate in scheduled activities.
The next day, after breakfast, we will continue our journey until check out and return to Hanoi by bus or shuttle bus
Overnight cruises in Halong Bay
Like the 2 day 1 night program for the arrival and last day. It will have the second day for the whole day in Halong Bay.
You will be in transfer day cruise to visit and explore deeply inside the bay, do kayaking, swimming at the beach in the middle of the bay, visit the floating village, walking or biking in Viet Hai village… the activities depends on different cruises.
The Bay Management Board divides attractions for tourists to visit as follows:
3.1. For Halong Bay cruise daily visit
- Route 1: Entrance fee: 250 000 VND/turn/person: From Tuan Chau International Marina – Van Canh park: Thien Cung cave, Dau Go cave, Cho Da islet, Ba Hang cave, Dinh Huong islet, Trong Mai islet (Cock and Hen islet).
- Route 2: Entrance fee: 250 000 VND/turn/person: From Tuan Chau International Marina – Cave park: Soi Sim beach, Titov island, Sung Sot cave, Me Cung cave, Bo Nau cave, Luon cave, Trong cave, Trinh Nu cave, Ho Dong Tien.
- Route 3: Entrance fee: 200 000 VND/turn/person: From Tuan Chau International Marina – Center for Marine Culture Conservation: Cua Van floating culture center, Tien Ong cave, Ho Ba Ham, Ba Men temple, Du Lagoon.
- Route 4: Entrance fee: 200 000 VND/turn/person: From Tuan Chau International Marina – Center for Sea Recreation: Co cave, Thay cave, Cong Do, Cap La cave, Vong Vieng area, Tung Ang Ecological Park- Cong Do, Xep islet park.
- Route 5: Entrance fee: 250 000 VND/turn/person: From Tuan Chau International Marina – Gia Luan harbor, Cat Ba– Hai Phong): Cho Da islet, Ba Hang cave, Dinh Huong islet, Trong Mai islet(Cock and Hen islet), Gia Luan harbor– Tuan Chau International Marina.
3.2. For Halong Bay cruise overnight
A cabin in an overnight Halong Bay Cruise
Visiting and staying overnight in Ha Long bay (01-night route means 24 hours from departure time, 2-night route means 48 hours from the departure time)
- Route 2: Visiting the overnight stay places: Trong cave, Trinh Nu cave, Ho Dong Tien, Lat islet, Titov island.
2 Day 1 night cruise Entrance fee: 550 000 VND/ turn/ person
3 Day 2 night cruise: Entrance fee: 750 000 VND/ turn/ person
- Route 3: Visiting the overnight stay places at Tien Ong cave.
2 Day 1 night cruise: Entrance fee: 500 000 VND/ turn/ person
3 Day 2 night cruise: Entrance fee: 650 000 VND/ turn/ person
- Route 4: Visiting the overnight stay place at Cong Do area
2 Day 1 night cruise: Entrance fee: 500 000 VND/ turn/ person
3 Day 2 night cruise: Entrance fee: 650 000 VND/ turn/ person
Bai Tu Long Bay Cruise map
Day 1: Hanoi to Bai Tu Long Bay
You will transfer from your hotel in Hanoi to Halong Bay. The transfer will be private car or cruises’ shuttle bus on your request.
Arrive in Hon Gai Pier at noon and check in the cruise. Enjoy your lunch on cruise and after lunch, take a part in some activities of cruise such as: Kayaking, visiting the Vung Vieng floating village, pearl farm or cooking class while enjoying the beauty of landscapes.
In the evening, enjoy the dinner and then free to relax or join the squid fishing activiy. Overnight on boat.
Vung Vieng fiing village in a route of Halong bay cruise
Day 2: Bai Tu Long Bay transfer back to Hanoi
In the morning, get up for sunrise and join in the Tai Chi lesson on sundeck. Enjoy breakfast then go to explore the Thien Canh Son cave. Witness the amazing stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave.
Enjoy the beautiful lunch on the cruise before re-embarking and transfer back to Hanoi by private car or cruise’s shuttle bus.
Bai Tu Long cruise 3 day 2 night program is like the 2 day program for the first arrival day and the last day. The second day will on the transfer day boat to explore full day in the bay.
After Tai Chi and breakfast on the mother boat, tourist will be enjoy to discover Bai Tu Long Bay on the day boat. Explore Cap La area, go fishing, enjoy kayaking and swimming.
Have Lunch on boat and keep cruising as well as doing activities in the bay. Later afternoon, return to the mother boat for dinner and overnight on the cruise.
Enjoy a visiting on a rowing bamboo boat in halong bay cruise activities
Halong Bay cruise map
Day 1: Hanoi – transfer to Halong Bay
Get a pick up at your hotel in Hanoi and arrive in Halong at noon. Welcome on board and let the Halong Bay cruise vacation begins with a lunch while the boat cruises into the bay passing many beautiful karst islands, rock islands such as: Burner island, fighting cock islet, stone dog islet…
Moving to Titov island for swimming or hiking to the top for panorama view of the bay.
There are interesting cooking class on boat for those who love cooking. Join in for fun and experience. Dinner is served in the evening on boat and then take part in squid fishing, or simply relax on cruise. Overnight on Halong Bay
A cooking class on a Halong Bay cruise
Day 2: Halong Bay – transfer back to Hanoi
Get up earlier for beautiful sunrise and Tai Chi exercise before a nice breakfast served on cruise. Explore Surprising cave one of the biggest cave so far in Halong Bay with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.
Back to the cruise and check out time. Relaxing on cruise till your sumptuous lunch. The cruise re-embarks the pier and drive back to Hanoi.
Enjoying Tai Chi activity in a Halong Bay cruise
Halong bay cruise 3 day 2 night program is like the 2 day program for the first arrival day and the last day. In extra day is in the middle, the tourist will be transferred to the day boat for deeply discover the bay and more activities.
In the morning, take part in Tai Chi then breakfast is served in the restaurant with the morning view of the bay’s landscape.
After breakfast, get in a day cruise for a full day to discover the amazing bay. Explore Luon Cave where you can enjoy kayaking or rowing bamboo boat.
Moving to Cua Van fishing village for more discover the local life and landscapes of the bay. As well as set kayaking around the area before excellent lunch there.
Cua Van Fishing village in Halong Bay cruise route
In the afternoon, cruising to Ho Dong Tien area. Keep cruising and discovering the beauties on the bay. Then back to the mother boat, enjoy the sunset party, cooking class and then sumptuous dinner.
Relax and overnight on Halong Bay cruise.
Kayaking activity in Halong bay Cruise trip
Most of overnight cruise will welcome tourists at the pier around 11.30 AM. Therefore, tourists must be in time for their cruise vacation. Otherwise, they have to use tender with extra charge to transfer to the cruise if the cruise has left the pier.
From Hanoi city to Halong pier, it will be around 3 – 3.5 hours, if tourists travel themselves to Halong Bay, they have to aware of the time.
Tourists have many choices of ships to visit Ha Long Bay. From day trip program to 2 and 3 day program. With the day trip program, visitors can choose a group tour for a reasonable price. From 30 USD to 100 USD depending on the quality of each cruise company.
Or you can use the Halong bay day trip private tour service from a transport vehicle, tour guide and boat. The price will depend on the number of people in the group, the larger the group, the lower the price per person will be.
So if tourists travel with a group of family or friends, private Halong Bay day trip will be recommended.
For 2 or 3 day Halong Bay overnight cruise, there are many options from 3 star to 5 star cruises.
For 2 day trip, it starts from 130 USD per person for 3 star cruise, 150 USD for 4 star and 170 USD for 5 star cruise.
For 3 day trip, it starts from 250 USD per person for 3 star cruise, 280 USD for 4 star and 300 USD for 5 star cruise.
>> Read more: Halong Bay cruises in real time price
It is difficult to answer which is the best cruise in Halong Bay. There are many cruises rating from 3 stars to 5 stars and with different prices. Each cruise also wants to bring the best and most suitable service to customers. IZITOUR would like to list in no order the best cruise in Ha Long Bay for your reference.
- Aclass Legend cruise: 14 cabins, rate from 132 USD per person.
- Halong Majestic cruise: 10 cabins, rate from 143 USD per person.
- Glory cruise: 22 cabins, rate from 125 USD per person.
- Rosa cruise: 9 cabins, rate from 138 USD per person.
- Garden Bay cruise: 10 cabins, rate from 131 USD per person.
- Oriental Sails cruise: 18 cabins, rate from 146 USD per person.
- Swan cruise: 11 cabins, from 123 USD per person.
- Renea cruise: 11 cabins, rate from 155 USD per person.
A cabin in 3 star cruise in Halong Bay
- Paloma cruise: 20 cabins, rate from 175 USD per person.
- Huong Hai Sealife: 26 cabins, 160 USD per person.
- Signature cruise: 12 cabins, rate from 198 USD per person.
- Stellar cruise: 21 cabins, rate from 152 USD per person.
- Bhaya Premium cruise: 7 cabins, rate from 198 USD per person.
- Pelican cruise: 22 cabins, rate from 156 USD per person.
- Flamingo cruise: 10 cabins, rate from 150 USD per person.
A cabin in a 4 star cruise in Halong Bay
- Paradise Elegance cruise: 31 cabins, rate from 183 USD per person.
- Indochina Sails cruise: 15 cabins, rate from 144 USD per person.
- Athena cruise: 21 cabins, rate from 192 USD per person.
- Dragon Legend cruise: 24 cabins, rate from 240 USD per person.
- Starlight Cruise: 32 cabins, rate from 181 USD per person.
A luxury Halong Bay Cruise with beautiful ocean view cabin
When tourists book an overnight cruise in Ha Long Bay, it means that they have booked a package tour according to the cruise's program, so what does this package tour include and does not include?, here we will list it out so that visitors can better understand for their trip:
Things are included:
- Halong Bay entrance fee ticket (1 turn)
- Meals: All meals on cruise. For 2-day cruise: 1 Breakfast, 2 lunches and 1 dinner. For 3-day cruise: 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners.
- Each cabin, there are a couple of complimentary mineral water bottles.
- Wifi internet connection (If any)
- Activities on cruise: Tai Chi lesson, cooking class, squid fishing.
- Activities mentioned the cruise program: Hiking, biking.
- Local tour guide: English speaking guide will escort you during the cruise trip.
- Service charges and taxes.
Things are excluded:
- All drinks and beverages in the cruise, tourist will pay their own for what they order.
- Sauna and massage services
- Some private orders such as meal on the beach
- If you arrive in Halong Bay late, you have to take tender to catch the cruise. It costs around 60 -80 USD.
- Travel insurance.
- Tipping and gratuities
Things should be checked:
- Transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay and return. Most of cruises do not include this services. But some will include shuttle bus. Tourist must check before booking for sure the shuttle bus included or not. Otherwise, private car transfer is good option
- Kayaking activities: Most of cruises in Halong bay offer free kayaking. However, some 4 and 5 star cruises will not include it. Tourist have to pay some extra for this service. Normally, around 10 USD.
- During the peak season days such as New year, Christmas the surcharge may be applied for gala dinner, check with cruises or travel agent for detail.
Most tours to Halong Bay start and end in Hanoi - the capital of Vietnam 170km from Ha Long and take about 3 hours to travel.
For the convenience, the cruise companies offer shuttle bus service. This is a very suitable service with a relatively low cost, about 15 USD for round trip. Many cruise companies use high quality shuttle bus (D Car) to serve customers, especially the 4, 5 star cruises. However, the price is also correspondingly higher.
Besides, tourists could use private car booked from travel agency or even from cruise companies. That is suitable for group of family with kids or group of friends. That will save the cost and offer the maximized conveniences.
>> Read more: Car rental from Hanoi to Halong Bay
For the tourists have their own car, they can easily drive from their home to Halong Bay. Just be sure that the will arrive in the pier before the departure cruise time. And know exactly which pier that the cruise welcomes them.
The overnight cruises on Halong bay cruise offer electricity 24/24 at 220 volts/50Hz. Type A, C and F 2 pin plugs for your devices. If tourist brings the 110V device or 3 pin plugs, they have to bring more adapter since all of electrical outlets in Vietnam do not include a grounding hole.
Wifi internet connection is available and free on most of Halong Bay cruises. However, as using 3G wifi transmitter so the quality is sometimes not so good, lags and disconnected. It depends on the cruise’s position on the bay.
In case, you need internet connection during Halong Bay cruise trip, you should use your own 3G SIM for better quality.
Step 1: Choose the Halong Bay cruise itinerary: 2 options for your trip: 2 day 1 night cruise and 3 day 2 night cruise.
The first option will offer you enough experience about Halong Bay that would optimize the time and budget for your trip.
Meanwhile, the second option will offer you more experience with activities in the bay. If you have time, the second option will be perfect.
>> Read more:
Step 2: Decide which Halong bay cruise route you prefer?
As mentioned in the articles, there will be Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay route. Also there is another route in Lan Ha bay, but it belongs to other province and different port location.
Halong Bay route will be more popular, more tourists. However, it will included the most beautiful cave Sung Sot cave of the bay.
Bai Tu Long bay is beautiful, more authentic, less touristic with the more wild. Both of them are so amazing and have their own attractions.
Irrestible beauty of Thien Canh Son cave in the Bai Tu Long route
Step 3: Estimate the budge to match with Halong bay cruise’s rate.
Halong Bay with hundred overnight cruises, that would not be easy to decide which cruise for your vacation. However, if you have the budget and we will list the price ranges of the cruise, that would be easier for your decisions. The good price does not mean the cheap, it is reasonable with the quality services.
- 3 star cruise from 120 USD per person.
- 4 star cruise from 150 USD per person
- 5 star cruise from 170 USD per person.
The price is per person, per night with twin sharing. If you travel alone, the single supplement will be applied.
Besides, there are some supper luxurious 5 star cruises in Halong bay and the price start from about 300 USD per person, per night.
>> Read more: Halong Bay cruise selection with instance price
The trip will be more perfect if you bring the right luggage and belongings. Depending on the form of travel, visitors will bring the necessary items. Halong Bay cruise trip is a form of short vacation and relaxation, so visitors should bring the following items:
- Passport: That is very important, do not forget it. Without passport, you cannot check in the cruise. You should always carry it with you.
Remmember bringing the passport for check in Halong Bay Cruise
- Good walking shoes: During the visit in Halong Bay, there will be a cave visiting, hiking or climbing activities so a good pair of walking shoes is a must.
- Sun scream: That is always in your package, you always need it as you are in sea vacation, sunbathe, do kayaking or other activities.
- Sunglasses: For better view and protect your eyes and face, sunglasses are a necessary item in your pack.
- Flip-flops: Enjoy relaxation time on beach or simply walk in the cruise that will refresh your feet.
- Insect repellent: As you are in the middle of nature, for your heath, use insect repellent when needed to protect from the insects which may have during the trip.
- Big hat: Not only for fashion, but also helps to protect you under the sunshine of tropical area.
- Swimming suit: It will not make your luggage bigger, so bring one for your swimming activities.
- Suitable Electric adaptor: As mentioned, in all Vietnam, we use 220V/ 50 Hz and 2 pin socket. So bring your suitable devices during your trip.
Type of plug and electric socket in Halong Bay cruise
- Compact camera: You are in the world heritage sites, it means, it is so beautiful and a camera will help you to capture your moment with the beauty.
- Cash: Bring both VND and USD for some your personal expenses during Halong Bay cruise. As you will not find any ATM machine in the bay.
Halong Bay is located in the north of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin and belongs to the tropical monsoon region. A year will have 4 distinct spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Each season will have its own beauty of Halong, so what is the best time for Halong Bay cruise trip?
- Spring from February to April: The weather is pleasant, the temperature is from 18 to 23 degrees, the beginning of February can have a little drizzle, but March and April can be sunny. This is the ideal time for Halong Bay cruise trip.
- Summer from May to August: It is humid and hot, very sunny, high temperature is over 35 degrees. In addition, August is the month of hurricanes, sometimes there will be a storm and the overnight cruise in Halong Bay will be suspended. However, this is an exciting season because it is possible to fully participate in sea activities. In addition, in this season, the cruises and travel companies often offer discount promotions.
- Autumn from September to October, a short autumn but the weather is the most beautiful of the year, not hot, not cold but it is sunny. The sky is high and clear. There's nothing better than a cruise on Halong bay in such beautiful scenery. This is also the peak tourist season in Halong Bay.
- Winter from November to January: This is the coldest time of the year, the temperature drops down to 10 – 15 degrees and it is dry. Sometimes it is misty. Swimming in this period is impossible. This is also the festival season with some important occasions such as Christmas, New year and Lunar New Year.
Beautiful Halong bay cruise in foggy day
Most of Halong Bay cruises will apply the surcharge for gala dinners of these days.
For the information above, tourist could choose for themselves and make plan and schedule the best time for their Halong Bay cruise trip.
>> Read more: Things to do in Halong Bay