What’s the Best Halong Bay Cruise for You? 6 Tips to Find Out

When traveling to Vietnam, you can't miss visiting Halong Bay. It's a gorgeous natural wonder of the country

Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Asfa Rasheed

When traveling to Vietnam, you can’t miss visiting Halong Bay. It’s a gorgeous natural wonder of the country, and despite the crowds, it’s still worth seeing, especially on the best cruise boat. You should choose the best Halong Bay cruise to enjoy a relaxing gateway to this breathtaking natural setting.

Now, you might wonder how to choose the right cruise. This article enlists some tips for booking the best Halong Bay cruise.

Tips to choose the best Halong Bay Cruise

  • Choose a 3D2N Cruise to See all the Highlights

You can book Halong Bay cruises ranging from 1 to 3 days. If you don’t have much time to explore Halong Bay, opt for day trips to catch the key highlights of the bay. However, squeezing Halong Bay’s highlights into a few hours is impossible. When going on the Halong cruise, consider doing the 3D2N cruise to watch the blazing sunset on emerald waters, wake up to a fantastic sunrise view, and enjoy the sightseeing.

  • Choose a Smaller Cruise Ship

If you are not a big fan of impersonal tours, you can take a smaller cruise ship. Usually, the day cruises are larger, accommodating up to 100 individuals, and such cruises are generally impersonal. For those seeking a personalized experience, the best Halong Bay cruise is the overnight one. Such cruises are generally smaller, accommodating 20 to 60 individuals, and provide personalized attention to each person.

  • Take the Less-Touristy Routes in Halong Bay

Only a few travelers will know this, but although the whole area is famous as Halong Bay, there are three different bays, i.e., Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, and Tu Long Bay. If you don’t prefer traveling to crowded destinations, you can choose the routes in Halong Bay, having fewer boats around you. For instance, consider booking a cruise that can take you to Lan Ha Bay or Bai Tu Long, as most travelers prefer visiting Halong Bay.

Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long are more scheduled but less crowded bays. The plus point is that these three bays have the same views and activities. So, you won’t miss out by deciding not to go to Halong Bay.

  • Look at the Itinerary for a Less Cookie-Cutter Experience

Most people, when booking Vietnam holiday packages, especially the Halong Bay cruise, always look at the pictures of the boats and activities list. Most cruise boats offer tai chi, sunset parties, kayaking, kike to Tiptop, cooking demonstrations, and cave visits.

However, you can also find Halong Bay cruises that offer more exciting stops on the itineraries, such as hiking in Cat Ba National Park, cycling on Cat Ba island, and more varied onboard activities like yoga and jet-skiing. There are cruises that let travelers enjoy parties with live DJs.

So, if you want a less cookie-cutter experience at Halong Bay, look for a cruise with a differentiated itinerary.

  • Take the Expressway When Going on a Day Cruise

If you are restricted by time and can only go for a day cruise from Hanoi, you should choose the cruise that can take you on the expressway route from Hanoi. Many cruise boats offering transportation from Hanoi can take tourists on the 4-hour non-expressway route as it’s cheaper. With such cruise boats, you will spend about 8 hours traveling and only 3-4 hours on the water, making it super rushed for a day trip.

Instead, looking for a cruise that takes around a 2-hour expressway route will be best. These cruise boats will cut your transfer time by half while allowing you to relax for about 5-6 hours on water. Moreover, you can avoid the tourist trap shops on this faster route.

  • Go to Cat Ba to Really Avoid the Crowds

Cat Ba is an excellent spot for travelers searching for less-crowded bays to enjoy the cruise experience. It’s reported that Cat Ba sees a third of tourists than Halong Bay sees every year. Moreover, the USP of Cat Ba is that it offers quite the same karst landscape and the same type of activities as Halong Bay. So, if you want a more off-grid cruise experience with the same breathtaking views, consider heading to Cat Ba instead.

You can find a lot of boats from Cat Ba that might still take you to the Halong Bay area, but they spend more time around Cat Ba and offer more outdoorsy activities like hiking, rock climbing, and cycling around the island.

Final Thoughts!

The best way to enjoy the serenity of Halong Bay- an utterly breathtaking area of northern Vietnam is by cruise. But with Vietnam holiday packages offering so many Halong Bay cruise options, you might find it hard to choose the best one. Keeping in mind the tips listed above can help you book the best cruise capable of meeting all your expectations from the Halong Bay getaway.