How many days in Halong Bay? A must-read travel guide

Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracts travelers with its blue waters, towering limestone cliffs, and hidden caves. If you’re planning a trip to this natural wonder, you might be wondering: How many days in Halong Bay are ideal? In this travel guide, we’ll explore various cruise lengths, their pros and cons, and help you decide the perfect itinerary for your visit.

How long should I stay in Halong Bay?

When visiting Halong Bay, people often stay for either 2 or 3 days. Let’s weigh the pros and cons of each length of stay to help you decide whether a one- or two-night itinerary in Halong Bay is better or a day tour is enough.

how long to stay in halong Bay
How long to stay in Halong Bay

Halong Bay day trip cruise

If you don’t have much time but still want to see the amazing beauty of Halong Bay, you can take a day trip cruise. This quick adventure lets you enjoy the stunning scenery and join in some activities without needing to stay overnight.

Halong Bay one day trip
You can admire the stunning Halong Bay when taking a day trip

Typical itinerary for a Halong Bay day trip cruise

  • Morning departure: Depart from Hanoi early in the morning, typically around 7:30 AM, with a comfortable shuttle bus ride to Halong Bay.
  • Boarding the cruise: Arrive at Halong Bay around mid-morning and board your cruise ship. Enjoy a welcome drink and a brief introduction to the day’s itinerary.
  • Scenic cruising: Sail through the bay, passing by iconic limestone formations and islands. The cruise will often pause for photo opportunities and to admire the stunning landscape.
  • Exploring caves and islands: Visit attractions like Sung Sot Cave or Ti Top Island. Take time to explore the cave’s impressive formations or hike to the top of the island for breathtaking views.
  • Lunch on board: Enjoy a delicious seafood lunch while cruising through the bay. The meal typically includes fresh local dishes and is a highlight of the trip.
  • Water activities: Participate in activities such as kayaking or swimming. Some cruises may offer bamboo boat rides for a closer look at the limestone formations.
  • Return to Halong City: Head back to the port in the afternoon, disembark, and board the shuttle bus for the return journey to Hanoi.
  • Evening arrival: Arrive in Hanoi in the early evening, typically around 8:00 PM, with plenty of time to enjoy dinner and reflect on your day in Halong Bay.

Halong Bay 2 days 1 night cruise

Going on a 2-day, 1-night cruise in Halong Bay is a great way to fully enjoy the beautiful natural scenery without feeling rushed. This trip allows for a good mix of adventure, relaxation, and cultural experiences, giving you plenty of time to see the best of the bay and enjoy a peaceful overnight stay on the water.

Cooking class on board
Cooking class on board

Typical Itinerary for a 2 Days 1 Night Cruise

Day 1

  • Morning departure: Depart from Hanoi early in the morning, typically around 8:00 AM, with a comfortable shuttle bus ride to Halong Bay.
  • Boarding the cruise: Arrive at Halong Bay around noon and board your cruise ship. Enjoy a welcome drink and a brief introduction to the itinerary.
  • Lunch on board: Enjoy a delicious seafood lunch as you begin cruising through the bay, passing by iconic limestone formations and islands.
  • Afternoon activities: Visit tourist attractions in Halong Bay, explore the cave’s impressive formations hike to the top of the island for panoramic views, and try water activities such as kayaking or swimming in the bay.
  • Sunset and dinner: Return to the cruise ship and relax on the deck as the sun sets over the bay. Enjoy a delicious dinner on board, featuring fresh local dishes.
  • Evening activities: Participate in evening activities such as squid fishing, stargazing, or simply relaxing on the deck with a drink.

Day 2:

  • Morning Tai Chi and Breakfast: Start your day with a Tai Chi session on the deck, followed by a light breakfast.
  • Morning activities: Visit a floating fishing village or explore another cave. Some cruises may offer additional kayaking or swimming opportunities.
  • Brunch on board: Enjoy a hearty brunch as the cruise slowly makes its way back to the port.
  • Disembarkation: Arrive back at the port around noon and disembark. Board the shuttle bus for the return journey to Hanoi.
  • Afternoon arrival: Arrive back in Hanoi in the early afternoon, typically around 4:00 PM, with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your day.

Suggested Halong Bay cruise 2 days 1 night

  • Paradise Grand Cruise: price from $151 per person, with the itinerary: Lan Ha Bay – Viet Hai Village – Dark & Bright Cave
  • La Regina Classic: price from $113 per person, with the itinerary: Hanoi – Thien Canh Son cave – Vung Vieng Village
  • Valentine Premium Cruise: price from $852 per person, exclusive and intimate experience with the itinerary: Halong Bay – Sung Sot Cave – Luon Cave – Titop Island – Cua Van Fishing Village

Halong bay 3 days 2 nights cruise

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive experience in Halong Bay, consider a 3-day itinerary. Staying an extra day allows you to explore more remote areas such as Thien Canh Son Cave, and Hang Luon Cave. Each day, the ships have to return to their designated sleeping points for safety reasons.

Therefore, a longer itinerary offers less crowded sites and activities like biking on a local island, visiting a pearl farm, and relaxing at a private beach. Additionally, onboard activities like Tai Chi or squid fishing are repeated, giving you a second chance to participate if you missed them on the first day.

remote areas in Halong Bay
You can visit remote areas in Halong Bay with 3 days 2 nights cruise

Suggested Halong Bay cruise 3 days 2 nights

  • Orchid Premium Cruise: price from $291 per person, with the itinerary: Halong Bay – Lan Ha Bay – Trung Trang Cave – Ao Ech Area
  • Indochine Cruise: price from $158 per person, with the itinerary: Halong Bay – Lan Ha floating fishing village – Ong Cam Bay
  • Prince Junk Cruise: price from $968 per person, exclusive and private experience with the itinerary: Bai Tu Long Bay – Vung Vieng Village – Yen Duc Village– Thien Canh Son Cave

FAQs

When is the best time to visit Halong Bay?

Spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-November) provide pleasant weather and calm seas, ideal for outdoor exploration and water activities. However, Halong Bay is a year-round destination, so you can plan your trip according to your preferences.

How long does it take from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

The travel time from Hanoi to Halong Bay can vary depending on the mode of transportation and the route taken. Generally, it takes around 3.5 to 4 hours to reach Halong Bay from Hanoi. You can get to Halong Bay from Hanoi directly by private car, or by shuttle bus, or you can get to Hai Phong by train, and then head to Halong Bay by shuttle bus or private car.

Which is better Halong Bay or Lan Ha Bay?

Both Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay offer breathtaking natural scenery. Halong Bay is more famous and attracts more tourists, while Lan Ha Bay offers a quieter and more personal experience. Your choice between the two depends on whether you prefer the famous attractions of Halong Bay or the peaceful atmosphere of Lan Ha Bay.

Determining the right number of days to spend in Halong Bay can significantly enhance your travel experience. Whether you choose a 2-day, 1-night trip to get a taste of the bay or a 3-day, 2-night adventure for a deeper exploration, the tips here ensure you make the most of your time and enjoyment.

From Halong Junk Cruise Team, a brand of Indochina Voyages!

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