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A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Natural Wonder of the World, Halong Bay is one of the most epic, natural phenomenons in the world. Located in Northeast Vietnam, on the western part of the Gulf of Tonkin, the bay is home to over 2,000 islands. These lush, limestone islands create an incredibly peaceful and charming ambiance as you cruise through the waters. Typically, an overnight cruise is the best way to explore Halong Bay, as it provides you the time and access to embark into the bay’s island landscape, full of caves, mountain hikes, and beaches. There is a range of cruises offering 1 or 2-night stays, though it is important to know what you’re looking for before finalizing your booking.
Halong Bay Cruise Travel Guide
Best Time to Visit Halong Bay-
Due to the dry climate during these time periods and reduced risk of weather-related cancellations, September – November and March – May are typically the best time to cruise Halong Bay.
How to Get to Halong Bay –
The most efficient way to arrive in Halong Bay, from Hanoi, is via a private driver. As of recently, a new freeway route has been built between Hanoi to Halong Bay, and reduced travel time by more than an hour. Be sure your driver is taking this route to avoid wasted time. Due to tolls, this will cost a bit more but is definitely worth it.
How to Pick a Halong Bay Cruise –
When looking for a Halong Bay cruise to book, I highly recommend opting for one of the luxury lines. I see this as more of a travel investment, considering that you are still in a third world country and want to ensure the highest food quality and accommodation standards. A 1-night, 2-day is more than enough time to explore Halong Bay, but for those looking to gain a more extensive experience, 2-nights, 3 days is also a great option.
Before booking your cruise, be sure to check for the following:
- A cruise ship that is no more than 35 cabins
- Double check what is actually included in the cost of booking, especially as far as meals and beverages
- Research recent reviews and customer feedback
Highlights to See on a Halong Bay Cruise –
As you cruise through the bay, there are a number of activities to partake in, especially considering the incredible natural beauties that this area holds.
When booking your cruise, look for activities that are of interest to you, as well as showcase Halong Bay’s highlights:
- Viewpoint hike, like Titop Mountain
- Cave visits
- Floating village visit
- Vietnamese cooking class