Complete Halong Bay Cruise Guide, Vietnam 2023
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Are you ready to see one of the most stunning places in the world? I have seen the jaw-dropping formations of the Halong Bay limestone mountains that are coated with deep green forestry. We cruised through the unforgettable cat-eye green waters. As a result, I write the ultimate Halong Bay cruise guide review to share my thoughts and all the information you need for your trip. After you have visited Halong Bay, you should visit Sapa- You can check out my guide on how to get from Hanoi to Sapa here!
In this post I want to share with you everything you need to know about the Halong Bay Cruise for travellers and also my personal review on the famous cruise of Halong Bay.
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Which boat trip to do on the Halong Bay Cruise?
You will most likely know that Halong Bay is a very touristic destination. As a result, there is a wide variety of boat trips available including luxury cruises, cheap cruises and plenty of others cruises. Okay let’s have a look into the options a little further;
Day trips on Halong Bay | cost $60 PP – This is the cheapest option at $60. It includes pick from your hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter at 8am, from here you will depart on a 3.5-hour coach ride from Hanoi To Halong (it’s a nice scenic route). Then you spend the day cruising around Halong Bay, kayaking and visiting a floating village in Halong Bay. Also, seafood dinner is included.
Personally, this didn’t appeal to me. I think if you’re going to book a cruise on Halong Bay, then you should stay over for at least a night. But I completely get that you might not have enough time or your on a budget. Nevertheless, it’s still worth doing to see the epic views.
2day/1night cruise on Halong | cost $140 PP – This is the same cruise as I did, however, you will stay for one night as opposed to two. This consists of hotel pick up at 8am, including hotel pick from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Check into the luxury cruise. Set sail into Halong Bay. Kayaking or learning about the visited pear farm. Visiting the Ti top beach (its has an incredible photo spot high up in Halong Bay) and then back to the cruiser for food and happy-hour cocktails.
Day 2 you will have breakfast, visit a cave and then depart back to your hotel.
3 day/2 night stay on the Halong Cruise | cost $220 PP – This is the option I chose so I’m going to explain everything you need to know about the Halong Bay Cruise. You will be able to make your mind up if the Halong Bay cruise is something you would like to do (you most definitely will).
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Halong Bay glory legend cruise review
I walked onto the pier and took a glance at my home for the next 2 nights “yessss!” It looked amazing, a pearling white and stained wood ship. The Glory Legend cruise ship’s exterior is marvellous. We ran (with excitement) onto the Halong bay cruiser to discover what was inside our new short-term water home. They’re amazing, let’s run through the ship visually.
The Golden legend cruise bedrooms – Picture perfect is how I can describe the rooms. As you walk into the room the first thing that stands out is the sliding doors the allow the full view of the Halong Bay emerald water.
The rooms are of the wooden interior that clashes nicely with the beaming white bed linen (as I write this the beds are the sweetest I have slept on in 2.5 months). In addition to this, you also have a minibar, wardrobe, safe and table/chairs in your room.
The bathroom is all wooden with a glass shower and I have to say the shower is the best I’ve had in a long while. Powerful and instantly hot, heaven.
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The dining room – The dining room is on the first level of the 2 level ship (excluding ground). The thing I loved most about this room is the windows views you get, whilst you dine. They’re out of this world. And I’ve not yet experienced any better backdrops as make my way through divine food. In addition, the Golden Cruise dining room is not very large compared to the size of the cruise and it gets quite crowded with around 40 visitors on board. Also, there is a bar in the room that provides hot and cold drinks.
The Top Deck – The Golden cruise liner wouldn’t be complete without a mega top deck to provide us with the amazing things to do in Halong Bay. The deck has sunbeds (only great for when the sun is shining), seating tables for drinks on happy-hour and a bar that provides epic cheap cocktails. Also, this deck is used for the Thai Chi class (I will go into this in a minute). The deck is the number one spot for sundown.
Best Things to do in Halong Bay
There are some great things to do in Halong Bay. You have probably heard about the kayaking on Halong Bay because this is definitely one of the most popular things to do. But don’t worry the Glory Legend cruise has you covered with some great activities during your stay. The top things you will do on a Halong Bay boat stay are;
Kayaking in Halong Bay
You will have a few golden opportunities to maximise your Halong Bay visit with some sweet emerald water kayaking. You will glide along the smooth waters of Halong Bay. I couldn’t believe how smooth the waters are! I kayaked in the sea in Cambodia and I remember how difficult it can be with a few waves. But you will have perfect waters to take some epic selfies and of the limestone mountains in Halong Bay. Furthermore, kayaking is done on all cruises in Halong including the Halong Bay day trips.
A visit to the Ti Top island
This will give you an unbelievable view of Halong Bay and it will most likely be this best view you will see on your visit to Halong Bay. The island is great for climbing which you will need to this for the views (there is not that many steps 😉 ), kayaking which is another golden opportunity to hit the waters, swimming which is very popular and general sports like volleyball and football. This really is a great little island and you will get to spend roughly an hour on the Ti Top island. However, this island can get extremely busy with tourists depending on the season of travel in Vietnam.
Visit Halong Bay’s floating village
Halong bay has given a home to the floating villages for thousands of years. And to this day the villagers still keep things very traditional. For example, they don’t have a power supply other than generators. The villagers don’t have WiFi which most of the world’s population would panic BIG time nowadays without it. You will see on your visit how they have kept things traditional and it’s a great thing they have going on, personally, I couldn’t live like that now but they seem happy! You will visit here and can either Kayak around the small village or have one of the local’s rows you around for 30 mins, Side Note – We gave 50,000 vdk (around $1) to the lady who rowed our boat. She was astonished. All the villagers were amazed and they were was all so happy with this new given small richness of theirs. We couldn’t believe how so small money meant so much to them. It shows how we take things for granted.
A visit to Halong Bay’s pearl farm
This is where you will get to see how them amazing pearls that are a popular choice of jewellery, are created. In addition, you will be given a little tour through the different stages of the creating of these magnificent little moneymakers. This will also be your first stop on Vietnam’s Halong Bay 2day/3night cruise and it also where you will have your first chance to kayak in Halong Bay.
Check out how to get from Hue to Hoi An here!
Squid Fishing in Halong Bay
After your 7pm meal, you can make your way to the rear of the boat to participate in night squid fishing. You can wobble a rod for around 30 mins to see if you’re lucky enough to catch one these tentacled swimmers of Halong Bay. However, I didn’t hear of anyone catching anything in the Vietnamese sea.
Halong Bay Cooking class
I’m a foodie and I do enjoy Vietnamese spring rolls. The Halong Bay cooking class teaches you how to prepare spring rolls and then you get to devour your marvellous creation. The Hanoi to Halong bay cruise cooking class takes place just before tea at around 6pm and lasts for 30 minutes.
The famous Halong Bay tour happy hour – Yeahhhh happy hour 🙂 cheap cocktails all-round. I don’t really drink much but I did take advantage of the 2-4-1 cocktails on the Halong Bay cruise tour. There is a good range of cocktails available on the Halong cruise and the cocktails on board contain plenty of alcohol. Furthermore, with happy-hour the cocktails work out at around $2.80 each. Not a bad price for a cocktail whilst you watch the sunset on Halong.
That is the best things you will do on the Halong Bay tour. There is plenty for you to do and you are kept busy on your time on Vietnam Halong cruise. Don’t worry if you are only doing the Halong Bay day trip there is still plenty for you to do.
Those doing a 2 day/1 night and 3 day/2 night stay will have a busy few days with these amazing things to do on Halong bay.
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Where will I visit on the Halong Bay Cruise?
The journey will start as soon as you make your way from Hanoi to Halong Bay or any other place in Vietnam. But, the places you will visit are;
- Halong Bay – This is where you cruise will start and it sets the scene for an amazing cruise.
- Bai Tu Long – Yes you will visit Bai Tu Long on the Halong tour. Here you will be amazed at more limestone rockery and Emerald waters.
- La Ha Bay – This is the 3rd bay you will visit on the Vietnam boat cruise. Some might say the views in La Ha Bay are just as impressive as Halong Bay. To be fair, I did find them very impressive!
Although you don’t directly visit Cat Ba island some boats do offer trips here. However, I was more impressed with a visit to Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long and La Ha Bay.
Find more information on the below links for cruises to Bai Tu Long and La Han Bay;
- Cruise to Bai Tu Long
- Cruise to La Ha Bay
When is the best time to do a Halong Bay Cruise?
Early spring time in Vietnam – February to April – This is a good time to visit Halong as the weather in Vietnam starts to warm up. You may experience a few more tourists due to the nice weather. However, the weather will make it a good experience for you.
Halong’s summer time – May to August – This is the best time to enjoy all the best things you can do on Halong Bay. For example, you can kayak in the sunshine without worrying about getting caught up in the rain. Sunshine makes everything better. Just a thing to thing about Halong will most likely get crowded due to the weather.
Autumn time – September to November –This is when you most likely get rough seas due to the weather in Vietnam. And this is when least tourists visit from Hanoi to Halong and everywhere else because of this. I wouldn’t recommend visiting Halong Bay for a tour this time of year.
Winter time – December & January – Cold weather and low temperatures, do you really want to visit Halong this time of year? probably not! I would save your money and wait for a better time of year to visit.
See below link for the weather in Halong Bay to see the best time to visit for your Halong Cruise
Wondering how to get to Halong Bay? You should stay in Hanoi, and make your way from there!
What is the food like on the Halong Bay Cruise?
I was a little sceptical about what food the Glory legend cruise tour was going to provide due to pre-cruise Halong information, stating it seafood. I do like seafood but I wasn’t sure I could handle a 3 day cruise on Halong Bay just eating seafood. However, I was more than happy with the food. It’s delicious, I’ll run through one of the Halong cruise set menus for the evening meal;
- Meal 1 – Chicken and vegetable spring rolls.
- Meal 2 – Vegetable soup and bread.
- Meal 3 – King prawn and squid salad
- Meal 4 – Grilled fish and rice
- meal 5 – Fish
More food than most can handle and it’s along super tasty!
If you like Vietnamese food, you will love the Morning Glory Restaurant in Hoi An.
What if I don’t like seafood?
Don’t worry the Glory legend cruise has got you covered. They will make sure you visit to Vietnam’s Halong Bay is a special one and if you don’t like seafood they will change it for you.
Want some more inspiration for places to visit in Asia? check out Khao Sok lake one day tour
Halong Bay Cruise Guide
This has been a positive post, why? Because I had an unforgettable time on the Halong Bay cruise and I want you to get a feel for what’s in store. For just $220 a person for a 2 night/3 day cruise on Halong Bay, with food included is an unbelievable price.
The only regret I have is how quick my 3 days on the cruise of Halong soon went. Nevertheless, I will remember this experience forever.
Thanks reading and hope your visit to Halong Bay is as spectacular as mine was.
Please share you experience with me.
You can check out my other Vietnam travel guides here.