Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay, located in northern Vietnam, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world. It is characterized by its emerald waters, thousands of limestone karsts and islets topped with lush greenery, and mesmerizing caves. A Ha Long Bay cruise is an unforgettable experience, offering you a chance to immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery and cultural richness of the region. In this blog, we will explore the top things to do in Ha Long Bay and provide valuable tips for an unforgettable cruise experience.

Ha Long Bay, overview, youintravel

Top Things To Do On Ha Long Bay Cruise

A Ha Long Bay cruise is an extraordinary journey through one of the world’s most captivating natural wonders. Whether you’re exploring the enchanting caves, kayaking through hidden lagoons, or simply basking in the beauty of the limestone karsts, Ha Long Bay promises an unforgettable adventure that will stay with you forever.

  • Cruise Amidst the Limestone Karsts: The most iconic way to explore Ha Long Bay is by taking a cruise. There are various options available, from budget-friendly cruises to luxurious ones with top-notch amenities. Cruising amidst the towering limestone karsts while witnessing the changing colours of the bay during sunrise and sunset is a magical experience.
  • Visit Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave): One of the most impressive and largest caves in Ha Long Bay, Sung Sot Cave offers a surreal underground world with magnificent stalactites and stalagmites formations. The cave’s illuminated chambers and rock formations are sure to leave you awestruck.
  • Explore Ti Top Island: Climb to the top of Ti Top Island for a panoramic view of Ha Long Bay. The short hike rewards you with breathtaking scenery, making it a favorite spot for photography enthusiasts.
  • Kayak through Luon Cave: For a closer encounter with the bay’s natural beauty, paddle through the picturesque Luon Cave in a kayak. The cave’s entrance is surrounded by lush vegetation, and once inside, you’ll find yourself in a peaceful lagoon with clear waters.
Kayaking in Halong Bay
Kayaking in Halong Bay
  • Enjoy a Floating Village Experience: Visit one of the traditional floating fishing villages in the bay to learn about the unique way of life of the local fishermen. It’s an opportunity to witness their daily routines and experience the vibrant culture of the region.
  • Try Squid Fishing at Night: Many cruises offer night squid fishing activities, allowing you to experience a local fishing tradition. It’s a fun and interactive experience that brings you closer to the local way of life.
  • Indulge in Vietnamese Cuisine: Ha Long Bay cruises often serve delicious Vietnamese cuisine, including fresh seafood dishes. Take this opportunity to savor authentic local delicacies while surrounded by the bay’s stunning scenery.
  • Tai Chi Sessions: Wake up early to join a Tai Chi session on the deck of your cruise ship. This ancient martial art practiced amidst the serene surroundings of the bay is a perfect way to start your day.
  • Cooking Classes: Participate in cooking classes to learn how to prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes. The ship’s chef will teach you the art of making spring rolls or other local delicacies.
  • Relaxation and Spa: Unwind and pamper yourself with onboard spa services. Enjoy a relaxing massage as you take in the tranquil beauty of Ha Long Bay.
  • Sundown Parties: Many cruises organize sundown parties with music and dancing, providing a chance to socialize with fellow travelers.

Best Time To Go To Ha Long Bay

The best time to visit Ha Long Bay is during the autumn months, from September to November, and the spring months, from March to May. During these periods, the weather is pleasant, with milder temperatures and lower humidity. The skies are clearer, providing better visibility of the bay’s magnificent scenery.

Avoid the summer months (June to August) as they can be hot and humid, and occasional storms can disrupt cruises.

The winter months (December to February) can be chilly, although you might experience fewer crowds and cheaper cruise prices.

1 Night Or 2 Nights Cruise In Ha Long Bay?

If you have the time and budget for a 2-nights cruise, it is recommended as it allows you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquillity of Ha Long Bay. You’ll have more opportunities to explore various islands, caves, and lagoons, and you can enjoy a more leisurely pace during your trip.

On the other hand, if you are short on time or have budget constraints, a 1-night cruise is still an excellent option. It provides a taste of Ha Long Bay’s enchanting beauty and allows you to see the main highlights of the area.


1-Night Cruise:

A 1-night cruise is the more popular and common choice for many travelers. It typically includes an overnight stay on the cruise ship and provides a taste of the beauty and charm of Ha Long Bay. The itinerary usually covers the major highlights of the bay, such as visiting Sung Sot Cave, Ti Top Island, a floating fishing village, and kayaking or exploring a lagoon. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a stunning sunset and sunrise over the bay.

Suitable for travellers with limited time or on a tighter schedule and generally more budget-friendly than a 2-nights cruise. Ideal for those looking for a quick getaway or a glimpse of Ha Long Bay’s beauty or travel in the winter.

2-Nights Cruise:

A 2-nights cruise allows you to have a more relaxed and in-depth experience of Ha Long Bay. It often includes less-visited areas of the bay and provides additional activities and excursions. With an extended itinerary, you’ll have more time for activities like kayaking, swimming, hiking, or simply relaxing on the ship’s deck. Better chance to enjoy onboard activities and amenities. You won’t feel a bit rushed with a packed itinerary.

You will need to organise transport from Hanoi to Ha Long Harbour or book a shuttle bus run by the cruise you have booked with.

Which cruise route is the best?

Halong Bay, with its stunning limestone karsts and emerald waters, offers several cruise routes for travellers to explore. Each route has its own unique highlights and experiences.

1. Ha Long Bay Route:

This is the classic Halong Bay route, taking you to the heart of the bay where you can witness the iconic limestone formations, visit Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave), and enjoy activities like kayaking and swimming.

You’ll get to see the most famous attractions, and it’s suitable for travelers of all ages.

Because it’s popular, it can get crowded during peak seasons.

5 star Cruises:

  1. Ambassador Cruise
  2. La Regina Royal
  3. Bhaya Classic Cruise
  4. Paradise Luxury Cruise
  5. Margaret Cruise

2. Bai Tu Long Bay Route:

Bai Tu Long Bay is known for its quieter, less touristy atmosphere. You’ll explore pristine beaches, Vung Vieng fishing village, and enjoy activities like kayaking and visiting Thien Canh Son Cave.

It offers a more serene experience away from the crowds, perfect for relaxation.

It’s a bit farther from the main Halong Bay attractions, so the cruise may last longer.

5 star Cruises:

  1. Bhaya Legend Cruise
  2. Sealife Legend Cruise
  3. Swan Cruises
  4. Athena cruise
  5. Starlight cruise
  6. Dragon Legend cruise
Bhaya Legend cruise

3. Lan Ha Bay Route:

Located south of Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay is known for its stunning beaches, secluded lagoons, and rock climbing opportunities on Cat Ba Island. You can also visit Viet Hai Village on Cat Ba Island.

Less crowded than Halong Bay, it offers a more pristine and adventurous experience.

There are many top luxury cruises so you have more choices:

  1. Stellar Of The Seas
  2. Elite Of The Seas Cruise
  3. Scarlet Pearl Cruise
  4. Capella Cruise
  5. Le Theatre Cruise
  6. Mon Cheri Cruises
  7. Orchid Cruises – Orchid Trendy Cruise And Orchid Premium Cruise
  8. Peony Cruises
  9. Rosy Cruise
  10. Doris Cruise
Elite Cruise Halong Bay
Elite Of The Seas Cruise

4. Cat Ba Island Route:

Cat Ba Island is the largest island in the bay and offers a mix of natural beauty and culture. You can visit Cat Ba National Park, relax on Cat Co beaches, and explore the island’s caves.

A unique combination of nature and culture with opportunities for trekking and cycling. May involve more land-based activities than traditional cruises.

5 star Cruises:

  1. Heritage Cruises Binh Chuan
  2. Indochine Cruise
  3. Nostalgia Cruise
  4. La Regina Legend Cruise
  5. Heritage Line Ginger Cruise

The best route for you depends on your preferences. If you prefer iconic attractions and a standard experience, the classic Halong Bay route is a good choice. If you seek tranquillity and want to avoid crowds, consider Bai Tu Long Bay or Lan Ha Bay. For an adventurous and active journey, Cat Ba Island route is recommended.

Charter Cruise In Ha Long Bay

Imagine setting sail on the turquoise waters of Ha Long Bay, surrounded by towering limestone karsts, all on your own terms. Chartering a cruise in Ha Long Bay offers you the ultimate in luxury and exclusivity. It’s a bespoke experience where you become the captain of your adventure, and the bay becomes your private playground.

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply seeking an extraordinary adventure, a chartered cruise in Ha Long Bay is the epitome of personalized travel.

Charter Cruises:

  1. Bhaya Cruise – 3 cabins
  2. Amira cruise – 3 cabins
  3. L Amour cruise – 1 cabin
  4. Prince 2 cruise – 2 cabins
  5. Dragon Bay cruise – 3 cabins

Written and Shared by Youin Travel team


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