Halong Bay Travel Tips & Experiences

December 05, 2023

Being the Seven Wonder of the World, Halong Bay attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. To visit this place, there are many things to plan, such as how to travel, what to do, what to eat, where to stay, etc. All will be revealed in the complete Halong Bay travel guide below!

  • Location: Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam, Halong City, Quang Ninh Province.
  • 3 Nearest airports: Noi Bai Airport (174km), Cat Bi Airport (44km), Van Don Airport (55 km)
  • Popular transportation: shuttle bus from Hanoi, 2.5 hours.
  • Best time to visit: March - April, September - November.
  • How to visit: Booking an overnight cruise.
  • Travel duration: 2-3 days.
  • Things to do: kayaking, swimming, cave visiting, etc.

Halong Bay Travel Tips & Experiences


How To Get To Halong Bay

To support the needs of visitors, the travel infrastructure in Halong Bay is quite established. There are several methods to get there. The most popular means of transport are shuttle buses, private cars, and planes.

Shuttle Bus

For most travelers, the shuttle bus is the best choice as it’s easier to book, has a reasonable price, is suitable for many types of guests, and is convenient to travel. The downside is that you don’t have much privacy and it’ll be tiring if you travel further than Hanoi.

You can book the shuttle bus from your cruise company or with reliable travel companies. The price/pax is around US $15 - 20 if you travel from Hanoi.

Transportation to Halong

Transportation to Halong

Private Car

If travel from the airport or just simply want a peaceful experience, a private car will be a better choice. You’ll have complete privacy in a high-end car during your journey. Keep in mind if you travel in a group of 3 or below, it’ll be expensive.

The price/pax for a private car is usually about US $105 - $200 (from Hanoi). You can contact travel companies like Halong Bay Junk Boat to book this transfer service.


If you’re far from Hanoi, you should take a flight to Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi), Cat Bi Airport (Hai Phong), and Van Don Airport (Quang Ninh) and take a road transfer to Halong. This is the fastest and most comfortable way to travel. However, the flying cost is pretty high. 

There are 3 airlines to select from: Vietjet Air (low-cost), Vietnam Airlines, and Bamboo Airway (full-service). You can simply reserve them through their website or by contacting Halong Bay Junkboat. The price is around US $60 or higher for one way.


Best Time To Visit Halong Bay

Overall, the best time to travel to Halong is from late September to November. During this time, the storm season has passed, and the weather is mild and pleasant. Other than that, the atmosphere is cooler, there is less rainfall and a more gentle breeze. You can also travel during March and April as the weather is sunny and warm.

This time is perfect for cruising, sightseeing, cave visiting, and outdoor activities such as kayaking or swimming.




(Feb - Apr)

  • 18°C - 30°C
  • Humid, Drizzy, Calm sea


(May - Aug)

  • 26°C - 38°C
  • Sunny, Hot, High rainfall, Occasional storms


(Sep - Nov)

  • 20°C - 33°C
  • Cool, Mild, Clear sky


(Dec - Jan)

  • 12°C - 23°C
  • Cold, Dry, Heavy fog, 

Halong Bay weather overview

What If My Cruise Is Cancelled Due To Bad Weather?

This is one of the frequently asked questions for those who travel to Halong. The Halong Bay Management Board will be in charge of making decisions to cancel or postpone the cruise. Here is some advice from us that may help you.

If you haven’t started your trip yet, you can simply contact your travel company or cruise operator for assistance. They will help you reschedule another trip if you want. You can ask for a full refund if you don’t want to have another trip.

If the cancellation is announced while you are already on board, the following policies will be applied:

  • Some services have been used (transfer, lunch, day trip, hotel in Halong, etc.): used services will be charged, and the rest will be refunded.
  • The trip may be cut down from 2 nights to 1 night, and tourists will be charged a 2 days/1 night trip, plus other used services, the rest will be refunded.

Don’t panic and follow the instructions of the staff on board. After you end the trip, the final cost will be confirmed by your consultant via email. In all cases, please contact us directly for any urgent help. We are here to support you with all of our best!

  • Hanoi City Tour
  • Tam Coc - Ninh Binh fullday tour
  • Sapa 2D1N tour


Best Places To Stay In Halong Bay

Halong Bay Cruises

  • Cruise Types

The best way to experience Halong Bay is to stay on a boat. It offers a one-of-a-kind experience and is a refreshing way to relax. 

There are many cruise types for many kinds of travelers, such as luxury, mid-range, budget, overnight, day, and private cruises. The cruises have 3 main routes: classic Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, and Lan Ha Bay.

  • How To Book

The process of booking a cruise is very easy, you just need to visit travel company websites that have Halong Bay tours and choose your preferred cruise. Then, you can make an inquiry, and provide your information, then the travel assistant will contact you and help you with the booking.

With many years of experience, Halong Bay Junk Boat proved to be one of the best company provide tours to Halong. If you are interested, let’s choose a cruise now:

  • Which Cruises Suit You? 





Why choose?

Mon Cheri 



US $170

 Best-seller luxurious cruise in Lan Ha Bay




US $148

 Boutique cruise with high-class service




US $137

 Top budget cruise to Bai Tu Long

Paradise Elegance



US $174

 First-class cruise with butler services and exquisite cuisine




US $156

 Top famous cruise in Lan Ha Bay

Scarlet Pearl



US $176

 Best luxury ship for eco-tourism

Queen Luxury



US $64

 8-hour cruise with excellent service




US $127

 Bai Tu Long cruise with a traditional Vietnamese theme

The most recommended cruise to Halong Bay

  • Popular On-Board Activities

Depending on which cruise you choose, there will be various activities to take part in on board. Based on many travelers' experiences, the must-try activities are Tai Chi, cooking class, and squid fishing.

Tai Chi is a martial art origin in China, this activity usually starts in the early morning. Practicing Tai Chi helps you improve your health, reduce stress, and balance energy.

The cooking class operates around dusk. Here, you will have a chance to learn how to make Vietnamese dishes such as Spring rolls and try your product.

Another activity you may try is squid fishing at night. The staff will prepare fishing rods and open the light for you. This is a great way to try your luck (June - August is the squid season).

Cruising overnight is a must-try

Cruising overnight is a must-try

Stay On Cat Ba Island Hotel

Cat Ba is known as the Pearl Island of Hai Phong. Over the years, this place has become a must-visit tourist paradise with its breathtaking nature. The infrastructure on the island is fairly developed with many hotels and resorts you can choose from:




Hôtel Perle d'Orient Cat Ba - MGallery 5*

 Cat Co 3 Beach, Cat Ba Town

US $133

Cat Ba Eco Hotel 3*

 133 Ngoc Mountain, Cat Ba

US $35

Cat Ba Paradise Pool & Sky Bar 4*

 229 1/4 St., Cat Ba

US $87

Cong Khanh Boutique Inn 4*

 84 Ngoc Mountain, Cat Ba

US $57

Flamingo Premium Cat Ba Beach Resort 5*

 Cat Co Beach, Cat Hai, Cat Ba

US $202

Staying on the pretty Cat Ba Island

Staying on the pretty Cat Ba Island


Interesting Activities You Must Not Miss

Cave Visiting

Halong Bay has some of the world's most stunning and biggest caverns. As a result of millions of years of nature’s construction, these places have numerous stalactites and stalagmites of all shapes and sizes illuminated with various hues.

Many of these caverns may be visited and are usually included in every cruise schedule. Some famous caverns are Sung Sot Cave, Luon Cave, Dark & Bright Cave, Thien Canh Son, and Trung Trang Cave.


A cruise allows you to fully appreciate the scenery, while a kayak allows you to access areas that ships cannot. You can freely paddle through the bay and get closer to nature. Kayaking is thus one of the top activities to do in Halong Bay.

Almost all cruise ships, from day excursions to multi-day cruises, feature this activity on their itinerary. Places such as Tra Bau, Luon Cave, Cong Dam, Ba Trai Dao, etc are the best for kayaking as the water is calm and the scenery is magnificent.

Have fun with the Kayaking Activity

Have fun with the Kayaking Activity

Explore Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba is Halong Bay's biggest island and is the ideal place for a vacation. The island features a wonderful natural national park where you can go for hikes, observe wildlife, and enjoy stunning views of the forest.

Cycling in Viet Hai Village, swimming, or simply resting on the beach are all enjoyable pastimes you should try. To visit Cat Ba, you may take a Lan Ha cruise that has it on the itinerary or take a boat from Got Pier (Hai Phong).

Beach Relaxation

As many islands in Halong Bay lack beaches, and those with beaches are frequently tiny and difficult to reach, they can only be visited on a cruise. Therefore, most beaches in the bay are pristine and still maintain their natural beauty with clear emerald water and white sandy beaches.

Ba Trai Dao, Titop, Cap La, and Frog Pond are notable beaches that are included in many cruise itineraries. Cat Ba is the finest option if you don’t want to take a cruise. There are various beaches to visit on your own like Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2, etc.

Visit Floating Villages

Floating villages is one of the most unique places in Halong Bay. The scenery of many small but colorful houses among the majestic limestone mountains really worth exploring. Visit these places, you can get on a rowing boat or kayak to explore the daily life of the hard-working fishermen here.

Nowadays, only Cua Van and Vung Vieng Floating Village are open for guests. You can visit these places by booking a Halong Bay cruise that includes them in the itinerary.

The charming Floating Village from above

The charming Floating Village from above


Insider Tips For Foreign Travelers

Essential Things To Pack

A trip to Halong Bay is usually short, so you shouldn't bring too much stuff. If you have too much luggage, you should take a private car to have enough space.

A traveler to Halong Bay may bring the following items:

  • Travel documents (important): Passport, Visa, ID card, tour guide & travel agency contact.
  • 2 - 3 sets of clothing, 1 - 2 swimsuits
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, and basic skincare
  • Phone and camera with a waterproof case 
  • Your medicines if needed (the ship is only equipped with basic medicine).
  • Cash and credit card 

Remember to Pack lightly

Remember to Pack lightly and bring your Passport

Insider Tips

To help you prepare for your trip to Halong Bay, here are some tips from travelers who have experienced:

  • To get the best price on the finest Halong Bay cruise, book early (typically 2 - 3 months before your visit date). 
  • The internet signal is unstable due to the bay's geology. To use high-speed internet, you should buy a 4G sim card before boarding.
  • Bring reusable bags for swimming or kayaking and avoid using plastic bags to protect the marine environment.
  • Use comfortable shoes when visiting the caves as you have to walk a lot.
  • Most cruise lines forbid passengers from bringing food & drinks on board. You will be charged an additional fee according to the ship's regulations.
  • Tipping is not expected in Vietnamese culture. You are welcome to tip the guide and staff between US $3 - $10 per day.
  • If you travel to Halong yourself, please arrive at the pier before 11:00 to check in. To avoid traffic jams on weekends and holidays, depart early.


After all, understanding the vital tourism information may assist you in making the best plan, particularly for first-timers. We hope you found this Halong Bay travel guide useful. With 13 years of expertise, Halong Bay Junk Boat is where you can find the greatest Vietnam tours with the promise of excellent services and reasonable pricing.

Hale Nguyen

Image source: Internet

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