Halong Bay Cruise: What you need to know to have the best trip

Halong Bay Overview

Halong Bay is dotted with around 2,000 limestone islands, which took some 500 million years to evolve into what we see today. Due to Halong Bay's wonderful, all-encompassing scenic value, UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 1994. Its listing was revised in 2000 to reflect an acknowledgment of both its exceptional geological importance and geomorphic value.

Simply put, sailing around Halong Bay is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Halong Bay Overview

Halong Bay Overview

If you’ve been dreaming of experiencing spectacular Halong Bay for yourself, you won’t want to miss our guide to have the best trip to this legendary site!

The first thing is, that Halong Bay is not the only bay worth exploring in the Gulf of Tonkin. Actually, Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, and Bai Tu Long Bay are three neighboring bays that make up the Halong Bay World Heritage Site.

Join Halong Bay Cruise Deals and consider the differences among them to choose the best Halong Bay tour for your needs.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia for a reason. People flock here to see the area's soaring limestone karsts, which are very densely packed and give travelers the impression that they are traveling through a stone forest. Many people believe Halong Bay to be more beautiful than Bai Tu Long or Lan Ha because of this.

Go trekking through a world heritage forest

Go trekking on Halong Bay

Halong Bay is also home to Surprise Cave and Titop Island, two of the greatest natural attractions in the area. One of the most beautiful caverns in all of Vietnam, Surprise Cave is properly titled as visitors will be surprised by its gorgeous beauty. Whereas, Titop Island offers unrivaled panoramic views of the whole bay.

For individuals who wish to visit the official world-famous historical site and view its beauty for themselves, Halong Bay is the best option.

Lan Ha Bay

For those who want to get away from the crowded tourist sites of Halong and still wish to explore the most charming bay in the world, Lan Ha Bay is a great alternative. Lan Ha Bay alone has at least 139 beaches, making it the perfect location for swimming and tanning. As the ideal place for deep-water bouldering, hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking, Lan Ha is also a great option for adventurous vacationers.

In addition, Lan Ha has a number of less-traveled caves to explore than those in Halong. Cai Beo Floating Village is an alternative for visitors to Lan Ha Bay and might be a worthwhile cultural experience.

Explore caves in Lan Ha Bay by bamboo boat

Explore caves in Lan Ha Bay by bamboo boat

Bai Tu Long Bay

The phrase "The Other Halong Bay" is sometimes used to describe Bai Tu Long Bay. Despite being much bigger than Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long is nevertheless an off-the-beaten-track and cleaner alternative for those who want to avoid the crowds of Halong Bay. It is still just as stunning.

The fact that many of the cruise companies in Bai Tu Long have close relationships with the locals who live in the floating fishing villages is another benefit of going there. As a result, visitors may easily visit these communities and interact with the residents.

Thien Canh Son Cave in Bai Tu Long Bay

Thien Canh Son Cave in Bai Tu Long Bay

Visitors who want peace, relaxation, and an unhurried experience but still want to have a few options for activities should go to Bai Tu Long.

Since both other bays are quite far away, we advise choosing to spend at least two days and one night cruising there. If you have time to spare, three days and two nights would be even more ideal.

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island is the biggest and the most significant island in the entirety of Halong Bay.

Cat Ba Island has a developed tourist infrastructure thanks to its rising popularity with tourists, including hotels and hostels for potential guests, good roads, and a ferry station. A variety of natural features, including mangroves, limestone karsts, lush forests, white sand beaches, and coral reefs, are waiting for you to explore on a Cat Ba cruise.

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island

Sunbathing here, you can take a plunge in the ocean and get some sun. There are physical pursuits like kayaking, rock climbing, and snorkeling for rent so don’t worry if you left yours at home.

Best time to visit Halong Bay

As most of the activities in Halong are outdoor, you should consider the appropriate travel time to enjoy the best of Halong Bay. Check out the best time to visit Halong Bay.

The greatest time to travel is from October through March when the weather is pleasant and there is little to no rain. Naturally, there will be more people around at that time, so you should plan to reserve your tour in advance.

The wettest month of the year is August, and April to September are the hottest and muggiest months of the year.

As long as you don't mind a little rain, you can take a Halong Bay trip whenever you want because junk boats from Halong Bay Cruise Deals run all year round.

How to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

About 100 kilometers east of Hanoi is where you'll find Halong Bay. Because this route is popular not only for domestic tourists but also for foreign travelers, you may be curious about how to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

Your Halong Bay cruise tour package likely includes transportation to and from the bay. At around 8:00 am, they will pick you up from your hotel. You can choose to pay extra for a private automobile or take the large, luxurious, and air-conditioned bus that is part of the standard included transportation package.

The distance between Hanoi and Halong Bay can now be traveled in around 2.5 hours thanks to a brand-new roadway. It’s also possible to travel directly between Halong Bay and Ninh Binh which will save you some time if you’re planning on visiting both and don’t want to return to Hanoi in between.

Transfer service to Bai Tu Long Bay is always available. From Hanoi city center, you can take a shuttle bus/car within 3 hours while passengers from Noi Bai International Airport can choose a shuttle bus/car (3.5 hours). Bai Tu Long Bay is also accessible from Hai Phong, Cat Bi International Airport with a 2-hour private car or a taxi to the cruise's Hon Gai pier.

Activities in Halong Bay

Listed below are the top-rated activities that are typically included in junk boat excursions in Halong Bay.

Regardless of how long you stay, you will most probably join in the two most popular activities, Surprise Cave and Ti Top Island.

Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave)

Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave)

Ti Top Island

Another significant port of call on the Halong Bay cruise trip itinerary is Ti Top Island. You'll have time to relax on the beach, go swimming in the ocean, or hike to the lookout perched above the bay for the most breathtaking 360-degree views. It will be undoubtedly sweating and out of breath by the time you get to the top because the stairs are so steep, but the majestic scenery will totally be deserved.

Titop Island

Titop Island

Cooking Demonstration

A “cooking class” may be offered on your last day on the cruise. It can be a brief lesson in rolling rice paper spring rolls or other Vietnamese traditional dishes. You will have a chance to observe professional chefs performing their skills and then enhance yours will some hands-on experience.

Kayaking at Luon Cave and Lake

This is the preferred excursion of many throughout their Halong Bay cruise tours. In this activity, you’ll kayak through a cave and into a fairly large lake that is encircled on all sides by tall walls and dense vegetation. You might even spot a monkey walking along the lake's edge if you're lucky.

Visit Luon Cave

Visit Luon Cave

Pearl Farm Visit

This is a quick visit to a Pearl Farm where hundreds of thousands of oyster shells are cleaned each month and millions of oysters are managed to produce artificial pearls.

For more activities to experience in Halong Bay, check out our blog of fascinating things to do in Halong Bay and create your own memorable trip.

Best Halong Bay Luxury Cruise

Halong Bay Luxury Cruises stand out for its superiority in terms of design, functions, and sophistication in every aspect of carving and customer service. A tour across the emerald-green waters of a bay as gorgeous as the fabled Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, and Bai Tu Long Bay is made perfect by the vessels of the finest class of Halong Bay Luxury Cruises.

Additionally, Halong Bay Luxury Cruise is pleased to be the most luxurious five-star cruise on Halong Bay, where cultural and natural values are experienced in a distinctive, gracious, and opulent manner with a traditional wooden boat style, in harmony with the beauty of nature, but the entire inside is furnished with the most lavish and advanced amenities available.

For your treatment on a luxury cruise in Halong Bay, check out our suggested itineraries ranging from a day cruise to overnight cruises such as  2-day-1-night and 3-day-2-night Halong Bay cruises.

Are you looking for the intimacy of a tailored-made experience in the majestic setting of Halong Bay? Do you want to relish the finer touches on a cruise around a world-class bay with a higher-end budget?

We are proud to offer you exquisite Halong Bay cruises such as Hermes Cruise, Ambassador Cruise, Le Theatre Cruises, Heritage Cruises, Scarlet Pearl Cruises, Ginger Cruise, and Emperor Cruises,...

Halong Bay Day Cruise

You are invited to take it all in while joining us on a Day Cruise! whether from the bar or on the sundeck; either way, your fantastic experience is guaranteed. We also host educational cooking classes and entertaining fruit-carving demonstrations for you to enjoy the whole Halong Bay Day Cruise.

With our first-rate service, leaving Hanoi just takes you two hours, and the transit provides you an unmatched seven hours on the bay - nearly twice as long as other Halong Bay day trips typically take. Additionally, if you travel with us, you will receive warm hospitality and service. Our devoted crew will guarantee to return your Halong Bay trip to its purest state, where you are treated more like a guest in our beautiful country than just a customer.

Check out our fantastic Halong Bay Day Cruise list to make the first step in your plan for a trip to Halong Bay: Escape Sails Day Tour, Orchid Day Tour, La Regina Day Tour, Jade Sails Day Cruise, Halong Sen Day Cruise,...

We hope this blog helps you to choose a Halong Bay cruise boat that is right for you.

See you in Halong Bay!


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