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Cruising in Halong Bay

Located in Quang Ninh Province in Vietnam, Halong Bay is about 180 kilometers from Hanoi (3 hours by car). It has a tropical climate with four seasons. Spring (February to April) is the best time for sightseeing and water-based sports, with moderate temperatures and nice weather.

What to Expect When Cruising in Halong Bay

Halong Bay is a UNESCO-listed landscape with a collection of 1,900 towering limestone pillars and tiny islets, which is worth exploring and appreciating.

Major Attractions

Sung Sot Cave, also named Surprise Cave, is the most famous cave in Halong Bay and is in the center of the UNESCO World Heritage area.

It is divided into two parts, covering about 12,200 square meters. The first part is similar to a theater hall with many stalactites hanging from the high ceiling while the second part includes a flow of natural light that bathes the surfaces.

Titov Island features a beach shaped like a crescent moon and it’s one of the most perfect destinations for swimming, kayaking, and climbing. The sandbank there is clean and white as it has been washed by the tide. The quiet atmosphere and beautiful scenery make it a perfect stopover for passengers to enjoy recreational activities.

Castaway Island is a party island where you can enjoy drinks, fun, and games with backpackers. There, you can meet like-minded people and experience guided canoeing and kayaking through tiny fishing villages, caving, rock climbing, wakeboarding, and tubing.

Cua Van Floating Village is the top attraction and is about 20 kilometers away from the tourist boat wharf. It’s the largest fishing village with a population of 733 residents, who live in floating houses, and is a great place to experience the authentic lifestyles of the local people.

Onboard Activities

Cave exploration, swimming, and fishing are indispensable activities and are usually included in a cruise trip. Sundeck barbecues and spa services are provided upon request at an extra charge. Cooking classes are only available on specific cruises, such as the Glory Legend Cruise.

An Excellent Place for Honeymooners, Couples, and Senior Travelers

A Halong Bay cruise trip is undoubtedly an excellent way to relax in natural surroundings, and is especially good for honeymooners, couples, and senior travelers. You will be immersed in the magical karst scenery and lively activities, and forget any fatigue from your busy journey.

How to Choose a Halong Bay Cruise

Choosing a Halong Bay cruise depends on your timeline, budget, companions, and local season. We highly recommend a 2-day cruise for tourists as it’s not too rushed and can provide enough time to appreciate the beauty.

Detailed Itineraries

1-Day Itinerary

Morning: Our shuttle bus will pick you up at 8am. Enjoy a 3-hour trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay with a stop for a bathroom break. You will arrive in the marina at midday, then transfer to the cruise ship and enjoy a welcome drink.

Afternoon: Savor lunch and then enjoy the tranquility and natural beauty of Halong Bay from the deck. Visit Sung Sot Cave at 3pm and return to the marina at 4pm.

Evening: Disembark at 5:30pm and return to Hanoi at 9pm.

Suggestions: A 1-day tour is a rush as you have to spend 6 hours on the road. It’s too hectic to enjoy the beautiful scenery and we recommended you do not choose this option.

2-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi – Halong Bay

Morning: You will be collected at 7:30am for a 3-hour car trip to Halong Bay. There is a stop for refreshments and you can enjoy the landscape of the Red River Delta countryside.

You will arrive at the marina at midday, then transfer to the cruise ship and enjoy a welcome drink. A briefing of the itinerary and safety information will be laid out for you.

Afternoon: Savor a delicious Vietnamese lunch buffet on board at 12:30pm while cruising past beautiful and quiet islets, such as Incense Burner, Dog Stone Islet, Fighting Cock, Soi Sim beach, and Coconut Three Island.

At 3pm, spend about 50 minutes exploring Sung Sot Cave, one of the biggest caves in Halong Bay with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.

At 4pm, you can swim or hike on the beautiful Titov Island, which is famous for its fresh atmosphere, clear water, and white sand. A panoramic view of Halong Bay from the top is also a great attraction for tourists.

At 5pm, return to the boat, which is anchored overnight. Various onboard activities are available, such as cooking classes, a MasterChef Competition show, fruit carving demonstrations, enjoying drinks at the bar, and sunbathing. A traditional spa service is available for an extra charge. Book this with your cruise manager if needed.

Day 2: Halong Bay – Hanoi

Morning: Get up at 6am and feel refreshed with a tai chi session on the sundeck. Coffee, tea, and pastries will be served for breakfast at 7am in the restaurant.

At 8am, visit Luon Cave via a kayak or a bamboo boat. Explore the perfect combination of limestone mountains and jade-green sea, and you will see monkeys on the islands if you are lucky.

At 9am, go back to the boat, check-out, and settle your bill at the reception desk. Then enjoy brunch while cruising back to the marina. Appreciate the bay scenery along the way.

At 10:30am, disembark and transfer back to Hanoi.

Afternoon: Arrive at Hanoi at 3pm.

Suggestions: A 2-day trip includes an overnight stay at sea, which is a common choice for tourists with more than 5 days to spend in Vietnam. There is enough time for you to enjoy the natural beauty and Vietnamese dishes, and is highly recommended.

Your Budget

Your budget is an important factor, influencing your choice of cruise. All cruise companies consider this first, offering different fleets for different routes at different prices.

Mid-range cruises usually cost from US$200 to US$350 per cabin while luxury ones range from US$280 to US$350 and upwards.

Who You Are Traveling With

Companions also play an important role when you are making travel plans. For active travelers, a Halong Bay cruise is thought to be slow-paced.

A 2-day cruise is perfect if you are taking your children with you. A 3-day cruise in a high-end cabin means less noise and more tranquility, which is suitable for senior travelers, returning travelers, honeymooners, and anybody who would enjoy the peacefulness.

Important Tips About Cruising in Halong Bay

  • Driving from Hanoi to Halong Bay takes 3 hours and we will stop for a rest and bathroom break.
  • Soft drinks and wine are not included in most cruises, and your tour guide will take you shopping in advance for anything you need, such as drinks, fruit, and snacks.
  • Food onboard is mainly seafood. If you are vegetarian or have food allergies, please make a special request in advance.
  • The transfers between Halong Bay and Hanoi are both done by a shuttle bus. At Asia Highlights, we will include the private transfers unless requested otherwise.
  • Land excursions will involve some walking and climbing, and the caves are slippery. So wear non-slip shoes for safety reasons.
  • Tipping the cruise crew will be at your discretion, but a recommended amount is US$15 to US$20 per day per person.
  • If you want to fly to your next destination, we suggest that your flight time is no earlier than 4pm as most cruises finish at 11am and it takes 2 hours to get to the airport.

How Asia Highlights Chooses Your Cruise

Asia Highlights always takes a client’s needs into consideration and is dedicated to offering the best travel experience. We customize travel plans based on price, service, facilities, and so on.

For 3-star clients, our choice will be around US$240 to US$280 per cabin and US$280 to US$340 for a 4-star cruise. If you want an extravagant holiday, we can certainly meet your requirements.

Our service is up to Western standards with well-trained English-speaking staff. You can enjoy fabulous views as well as good service.

Cabin footage should be at least 25 square meters, possibly with a private balcony. Activities, such as a spa, cooking classes, sundeck cocktails, and barbecues are available for you to choose. Safety precautions, such as life vests, medical aid, and professional lifeguard training, make sure you have a wonderful journey.

Why Book with Us?

Travel experiences are our top priority. Asia Highlights provides all-around fleets and routes so that different clients can choose whatever they want.

Reasonable prices are given to all clients. Our team is dedicated to customizing a great variety of routes at low prices for different people. Prices change with the seasons.

If you have special requests, our staff will assist you on a 24-hour basis to answer your thoughts, concerns, and questions. This is both convenient and professional.

Visit Vietnam with Asia Highlights

Asia Highlights welcomes the chance to help you design your perfect trip to Vietnam. Our knowledgeable staff will assist you in selecting destinations, accommodations and activities that best suit your requirements.

Check out the following links to learn more about our tours and get a head start on planning your hassle-free vacation today!

9-Day Best of Vietnam with Mekong Delta

13-Day Vietnam Classic Wonders with Sapa

14-Day Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Tour

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