Halong Bay is Vietnam’s most popular place for tourists, with beautiful waters spread over  more than 1550 sq km and over 2000 dramatic karsts rising out of the sea, creating a surreal seascape. Sadly, it is also the most touristed place with massive crowds and waters overrun by cruise vessels. But, with a bit of research and planning, it is possible to have a blissful and rewarding experience. Almost all providers will pick and drop back to a hotel in Hanoi or you can choose to stay at a hotel near the bay. We’ve done the hard work and shortlisted some of the best tours to get the most from Halong Bay.

Jade Sails’ Day Cruise

For those strapped for time, a day cruise is possibly the best way to get a taste of the spectacular bay. Jade Sails sets out relatively early in the morning and packs in quite a bit over the day: stops at Dark and Bright Cave and Lan Ha Bay, kayaking and swimming, a cooking demonstration, as well as a sumptuous meal and a sunset party.   

Prices From: USD 119 per person.

Office Address: 39B, Hang Hanh Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Departure Point: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Tuan+Chau+International+Marina/@20.9203491,106.9796571,15.75z/data=!4m10!1m2!2m1!1stuan+chau+marina!3m6!1s0x314a5f6c35501c19:0x87c70af7a804721b!8m2!3d20.9224804!4d106.9907306!15sChB0dWFuIGNoYXUgbWFyaW5hkgEGbWFyaW5h4AEA!16s%2Fg%2F11f60z8wf_?hl=en

Book Here: https://www.jadesailscruise.com/


Era Cruises’ Day Trip

Combining modernity and luxury, Era Cruises packs in a lot in one day, making its customers feel like they haven’t missed out. It picks its way through floating villages and limestone formations to reach Three Peaches Island for coral diving, rock climbing, and fishing, and ends with a visit to Monkey Island.        

Prices From: USD 85 per person.

Office Address: 110 Tue Tinh St., Nguyen Du Ward, Hai Ba Trung Dist., Hanoi, Vietnam.

Departure Point: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Era+cruises/@20.9260076,106.9798904,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m8!3m7!1s0x314a5f079d755849:0x17d039aec675b058!5m2!4m1!1i2!8m2!3d20.9259965!4d106.982096?hl=en

Book Here: https://eracruises.com/en/


Indochina Junk’s Overnight Cruise

With a small fleet of traditional wooden junk boats, Indochina Junk takes visitors to the less-visited Bai Tu Long Bay on an overnight cruise. Hiking to a hidden cave with stalagmite and stalactite formations, squid fishing at midnight, and visiting the floating Vung Vieng fishing village at dawn are some of the unique activities it offers. In between, the cruise line keeps its visitors satiated with delicious Vietnamese food.

Prices From: USD 220 per person.

Office Address: Quarter 4, Thuong Thanh Ward, Long Bien District, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Departure Point: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Halong+International+Cruise+Port/@20.9533997,107.0535435,16z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x314a599fe53f38c1:0xbe13a199388f605!2sHalong+International+Cruise+Port!8m2!3d20.952984!4d107.0560813!3m4!1s0x314a599fe53f38c1:0xbe13a199388f605!8m2!3d20.952984!4d107.0560813?hl=en

Book Here: https://www.indochina-junk.com/


Peony Cruises’ Overnight Trip

Combining luxury, style, and convenience, Peony’s overnight cruises are top of the line. They have fewer rooms so the boat is less crowded and the company operates in a different area - Trung Trang Cave, Frog Pond, and Cat Ba Island so the itinerary is unique, and includes such activities as Tai Chi and a tea ceremony.

Prices From: USD 360 for doubles.

Office Address: Block 34, Tuan Chau Pier, Vietnam.

Departure Point: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Got+Ferry+Terminal/@20.8068711,106.8997279,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x314a697fa0678dc1:0x81a58fa283c8da1a!8m2!3d20.8068661!4d106.9019166?hl=en

Book Here: https://www.peonycruise.com/


Athena Cruises’ Overnight Trip  

A relatively new addition to the Halong Bay scene, Athena offers luxurious space without the crowding. It has 20 roomy cabins, three decks, a rooftop sundeck, a sauna, coffee lounge, and bar. It also ferries its passengers to Bo Nau and Sung Sot caves on the first day and offers a kayak or bamboo boat experience at Luon Cave the next morning.

Prices From: USD 380 onwards for doubles.

Office Address:  12-14, Alley 171, Thinh Quang lane, Thinh Quang Ward, Dong Da District, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Departure Point: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Halong+International+Cruise+Port/@20.9529907,107.0538892,17z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x314a599fe53f38c1:0xbe13a199388f605!2sHalong+International+Cruise+Port!8m2!3d20.952984!4d107.0560813!3m4!1s0x314a599fe53f38c1:0xbe13a199388f605!8m2!3d20.952984!4d107.0560813?hl=en

Book Here: https://athenacruise.com/


La Pinta Cruises’ Overnight Trip

If you want to cruise Halong Bay in understated elegance and sophistication, La Pinta is the cruise line to opt for. There are only 16 cabins and the thoughtful hospitality adds to the experience. They sail to Lan Ha Bay which is a new destination, with untouched, pristine beaches, and offer such things as cooking classes to roll out the Vietnamese staple – spring roll.

Prices From: USD 230 per person.  

Office Address: Ngõ Hàng Hương 13, Vietnam.

Departure Point: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Got+Ferry+Terminal/@20.8068711,106.8997279,17z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x314a697fa0678dc1:0x81a58fa283c8da1a!2sGot+Ferry+Terminal!8m2!3d20.8068661!4d106.9019166!3m4!1s0x314a697fa0678dc1:0x81a58fa283c8da1a!8m2!3d20.8068661!4d106.9019166?hl=en

Book Here: https://www.lapintacruises.com/


L’Azalee Cruises’ Bespoke Itineraries

Everything about this is off the beaten track. From choosing the route to opting for activities based on interest, including visiting pearl farms and hiking on karsts, L’Azalee Cruises offer single-cabin vessels to make the Halong Bay experience both remarkable and memorable.

Prices From: Varies depending on the number of days, route, and activities.  

Office Address: T7 Villa, Tuan Chau Marina, Halong, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam.

Departure From: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/L%E2%80%99Azal%C3%A9e+Cruises/@20.9224177,106.9805936,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x314a5ec72e2c42a1:0x171117718c17d06a!8m2!3d20.9224124!4d106.9827791?hl=en

Book Here: https://www.lazaleecruises.vn/


Stellar of the Seas’ Extended Cruise

If cruising in luxury is your thing, then Stellar of the Seas offers a yacht-style experience in Halong Bay. Their three-day two-night cruise takes one to Lan Ha Bay and the village of Viet Hai. Apart from a host of on-board activities and luxuries, you can enjoy swimming in lagoons, barbecues, and sunset parties. Avid golfers can ask for their golfing cruises.

Prices From: USD 725 onwards per person.

Office Address: 803, ACB Building, 10 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Departure Point: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/TUAN+CHAU+MARINA/@20.9274495,106.9838497,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x314a5ec255555555:0x62af2c58ea784026!8m2!3d20.9274495!4d106.9860384?hl=en

Book Here: https://www.stellaroftheseas.com/


Au Co Cruises’ Extended Trip

If you are the kind who suffers from a serious case of FOMO, then Au Co’s three-day luxury cruise touches all three major bays - Halong, Lan Ha, and Cat Ba. Along the way, indulge in activities to your heart’s content, such as kayaking, swimming, bamboo boat rides and even hiking, trekking, and biking. Or just lounge on the pristine beaches and soak in the bliss of the bays.

Prices From: USD 500 onwards per person.   

Office Address: 47, Phan Trinh Street, Hanpi, Vietnam.

Departure Point: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/The+Au+Co+Cruise+-+Halong+Bay/@20.9200523,106.983019,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m8!3m7!1s0x314a5ec6b941bb01:0x66ad92e6130f8910!5m2!4m1!1i2!8m2!3d20.9200523!4d106.9852077?hl=en

Booking: https://aucocruises.com/


Hai Au Aviation’s Seaplane Experience

No cruise, no matter how long a duration, can truly capture a sense of Halong Bay’s vastness and magnificence. A seaplane ride can definitely do it. Hai Au aviation’s 25-minute flights over the bay offer a different perspective of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Flying over the karsts and the still water is an incredible experience.     

Prices From: USD 125 per person.

Office Address: Level 8, 70-72 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Departure Point: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/TUAN+CHAU+MARINA/@20.9274495,106.9838497,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x314a5ec255555555:0x62af2c58ea784026!8m2!3d20.9274495!4d106.9860384?hl=en

Book Here: https://www.seaplanes.vn/en/


Published on: Feb. 28, 2023, midnight Last modified on: Feb. 5, 2023, 10:54 a.m.
Anita Rao Kashi
Written by

Anita Rao Kashi

I am a Bangalore-based independent journalist and travel and food writer with over 25 years of experience writing for domestic and international publications including BBC, Nikkei Asian Review and South China Morning Post. I love my city to bits, but am always looking for an excuse to travel. When not travelling, I can be found writing, reading, cooking or eating - and not necessarily in that order!