The startling landscapes of Halong Bay are best explored by boat, but with so many options, choosing the perfect cruise can seem impossible. There are luxury cruises, traditional junk boat cruises, day and multi-day cruises, and itineraries that check off all the top attractions or venture off-the-beaten-track, plus plenty of extras like Vietnamese cooking classes, sea kayaking excursions or morning Tai Chi onboard your boat.
If time and budget isn’t an issue, a 3-day cruise is the best choice for discovering Halong Bay, offering plenty of time to explore the unique limestone caves, visit the island settlements and floating markets, and stop to swim, kayak or hike around the many islands. Hop on-board the luxury Calypso Cruiser and visit top sites like Sung Sot cave, Ti Top island and Luon Cave; take a Royal Palace cruise to Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay and Cat Ba Island; or ride the authentic Dragon Pearl junk boat to the less-visited Bai Tu Long Bay.
A more affordable option is a 2-day cruise, which still offer plenty of time to soak up the scenery and duck off the tourist trail, as well as spending the night on board an atmospheric junk ship. If you’re pushed for time, it’s also possible to take in the highlights on a day trip or overnight cruise, spotting famous landmarks like the Cave of Surprises, Fighting Cock Island, Dog Rock and Turtle Island. Maximize your time by including a thrilling seaplane transfer from Hanoi, an onboard cooking class or a kayaking tour.