How to plan the trip to Halong Bay?

Rohan Mathew

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay is a spectacular site and a must-see that should be included in any Vietnam tour. The bay is located on the Gulf of Tonkin and is lined with nearly 2,000 limestone mountains of varying shapes and sizes, rising from the emerald waters. Everything creates an impressive landscape. In fact, Halong Bay is like a gigantic and mythical labyrinth of limestone islands, many of them remain intact, while others have caves to explore. There are many ways to enjoy Halong Bay, day trips or overnight cruises. Here are the important tips for planning the best trip to Halong Bay:

Best time to visit Halong Bay

Although you can visit Halong Bay at any time of the year, there are still some periods of time that are more favorable. From February to April and October to December, a Halong Bay cruise trip will be more memorable in pleasant dry weather. At times, it can be a bit foggy when starting the cruise or early in the morning, but it makes the bay look more mysterious. During the low season, from May to early September, the Halong Bay cruise trip may be affected or canceled by occasional typhoons. However, the bay is quieter and with fewer tourists spending the night on cruise ships. Also, there are many promotions and good prices for Vietnam private tours at the moment as it is the low season.

How to transfer to Halong Bay

The most popular way to get to Halong Bay is to travel from Hanoi. The trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay is 3-4 hours and can be completed by minibus, van or coach. The new toll road has recently been opened to reach Halong Bay through the city of Hai Phong. You can shorten the travel time between 2 to 2.5 hours, but the toll fee is quite expensive. There is no airport in Halong City. The nearest airport is Van Don in Van Don town and it takes 1 hour to reach Halong Bay. In recent years, travelers have a new option to fly seaplane from Hanoi to Halong Bay in less than an hour.

However, the easiest way to visit Halong Bay is to book an organized excursion in Hanoi with a round trip from there. Alternatively, you can travel to Halong Bay and book the service there, but the last minute booking may be a bit higher. Therefore, it is advisable to have everything organized before leaving Hanoi, then there is no more stress in finding the cruise operator in Halong city. A good tip here is to spend little time researching a reputable travel agency or cruise operator that has good reviews from other tourists. Try to avoid offers that appear to be very cheap, as there are potential hidden costs for meals or attraction fees. A good Halong cruise deal should be all-inclusive for a comfortable stay, such as private cabin, meals, entry, additional activities, and round-trip transportation.

Day cruise or night cruise

If you’re short on time during your Vietnam vacation, a 4-6 hour Halong Bay day cruise with exploring caves, visiting fishing villages and seafood on board is good enough to experience the bay. This type of day trip can be arranged by any accredited tour operator in Hanoi. However, the most typical way to truly enjoy the incredible beauty of Halong Bay is by taking the night cruise. The 2 days and 1 night cruise trip is chosen by most of the tourists. A Halong Bay Overnight Cruise gives you more time to admire the spectacular scenery and relax in one of the most beautiful destinations on earth.

Also, if your tour in Vietnam is quiet, spending 2 nights on board will be a wonderful experience. You will have the opportunity to visit Lan Ha Bay or Cat Ba Island with many activities to join in such as kayaking, swimming, or rock climbing.

Are you ready to go there?