Insider Tips on How to Get the Most From Halong Bay

Insider Tips on How to Get the Most From Halong Bay

Halong Bay with its emerald water and limestone karsts jutting out of the water are an essential stop in a Vietnam vacation. However, being the most popular attraction in the entire country comes with its own caveat- it can get a tad bit crowded. The bay receives over a million visitors in a year. This many visitors means that your experience in Halong Bay might not be up to par with all the crowds and tour boats blocking the magnificent view in front of you. So, to ease your pain or in this case to make sure you get your money’s worth we have compiled a list of tips on how to get the most from a Halong Bay tour. 

Stay in Hai Phong City

Most people who come to Halong Bay skip out on Hai Phong City altogether. However, the city makes for a great base camp to enjoy the bay. Plus the view from the city’s promenade is amazing. The city also has plenty of sights for you to enjoy including a naval museum, the Hai Phong City Museum, and the famous Elephant mountains which resemble an elephant lying down. From Hai Phong, Halong Bay is around an hour and fifteen minutes away by bus, taxi, and around three hours by ferry. 

Cat Ba, Hai Phong
Cat Ba, Hai Phong

Opt for a multi-day cruise

Most cruises in Halong Bay offer either one-day cruises, two days and one-night cruises, or three days and two nights cruises. Out of these three, a one-day cruise around Halong Bay is one of the most popular tours but it might not be enough. Especially if you want the full Halong experience. Halong Bay is massive and on top of that, a one-day cruise is rushed with barely any time to take in the sights properly. A multi-day cruise also offers stunning sunset and sunrise views of Halong Bay, something you might miss out on during a one-day tour.

Booking a tour in advance is not always a good option

Most of the time, booking your Halong Bay tour in advance is always the safer and easier option. Most hostels and hotels around Vietnam offer Halong Bay tour options. However, these tours vary in quality. There are nightmare stories from some of these tours ranging from getting scammed to having to share a small cramped room with strangers to not getting any food during the tour, etc. Always make sure to research before booking any tour. Read the reviews online. Check with others who have been on the same tour. Do not book a tour blindly because it's cheap or because everyone else is going. You want to make the most of your money and ending up stuck in a small room without food is not ideal.

Halong Bay crusie ship
Halong Bay crusie ship

Luxury cruises are not worth the money

There are different types of Halong Bay cruises depending on your budget and one type of cruise that stands out are luxury cruises. The word “luxury” brings to mind opulence, elegance, and comfort and you will be forgiven for thinking that's what the Halong Bay luxury tour offers. Unfortunately, the best thing you’ll get in a luxury Halong Bay cruise is better food quality and slightly better rooms. The luxury cruise is not worth paying upwards of $500. It is better to choose a mid-range cruise which will cost around $150 to $400.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Halong is during the months of October to November when the weather is pleasant with little chance of rain. But this period is also the most crowded time of the year. 

If you want to avoid crowds, you can also visit Halong Bay during the months of May to September during the off-season. Expect to see rainfall but fewer crowds.

Still on the fence about whether you want to visit Halong Bay or not? Check out this blog on why you will definitely fall in love with this stunning bay.

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