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A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing Between Halong Bay and Ninh Binh Tours
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A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing Between Halong Bay and Ninh Binh Tours


When planning a trip to Vietnam, two of the most popular destinations that come to mind are Halong Bay and Ninh Binh. Both of these locations offer incredible natural beauty, rich culture, and a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. However, if you're deciding between the two destinations for a tour, it can be a tough decision to make. In this comprehensive guide, we'll go through everything you need to know to choose between Halong Bay and Ninh Binh tours.

The Comparison of Halong Bay and Ninh Binh Tours

Halong Bay Tours

The Comparison of Halong Bay and Ninh Binh Tours

Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is often considered one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam. The bay features thousands of limestone islands and islets rising from the water, creating a unique and stunning landscape. Halong Bay is a popular tourist destination, with many different tour options available to explore the area. Embarking on a cruise tour in Halong Bay is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers the ultimate in luxury, relaxation, and adventure. Halong Bay cruise tours come in a variety of styles and sizes, from budget-friendly options to high-end luxury experiences. One of the highlights of a Halong Bay cruise tour is the chance to explore the majestic Sung Sot Cave or Luon Cave. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or both, a Halong Bay cruise tour is an unforgettable way to experience one of the most stunning natural wonders of the world.

You might read: Choosing the Perfect Halong Bay Day Cruise Tour: Tips and Recommendations

Advantages of taking a Halong Bay tour

  • Incredible natural scenery that can't be found anywhere else in the world
  • A variety of activities, such as kayaking, swimming, and hiking
  • A chance to visit fishing villages and learn about the life of fishermen
  • Tasty local seafood
Advantages of taking a Halong Bay tour-Sung sot cave in halong

Types of Halong Bay tours

  • A-day cruise tours: These tours are perfect for travelers on a tight schedule, as they allow you to see the highlights of Halong Bay in a day. A day cruise tour in Halong Bay is a fantastic way to explore one of Vietnam's most iconic destinations, even if you're short on time. These tours typically start in the morning or after lunch. It takes you on a journey through limestone karsts, clear blue waters, islands, islets, caves, and floating fishing villages. You'll have the chance to explore the caves and grottoes that make Halong Bay famous, as well as enjoy a delicious lunch onboard your cruise ship.


bamboo boat in Halong bay - aloha travel
A-day cruise tours in halong - aloha travel
Overnight cruise tours

 Overnight tours give you more time to explore the Bay. Overnight cruise tours in Halong Bay are a popular option for those who want to fully immerse themselves in the Ha Long beauty. On an overnight cruise tour, apart from exploring the many caves, islets, and floating villages, you'll also have the chance to take part in activities such as kayaking, a sunset party, moon sightseeing, squid fishing, and cooking classes, traditional folk performance, karaoke, etc. Also, tourists enjoy delicious meals and luxurious accommodations on a cruise ship. A night on the cruise brings you an unforgettable memory. After nightfall, all cruises gather in an area with shimmering lights and lively sounds like a big party.

See: Halong Bay with Paradise Elegance 5 stars cruise
Halong bay overnight cruise tour for international tourist
Halong City Tour (no cruise)

While Halong Bay may be the main attraction, Halong City itself is also worth exploring. A Halong City tour offers a chance to discover. Some of the city's highlights include the Halong Market, where you can find an array of fresh seafood and local products, and the Quang Ninh Museum, which provides a fascinating insight into the history and development of the region. You can also visit the Long Tien Pagoda, a beautiful temple with stunning views over the city and bay. Additionally, a walk along Bai Chay Beach provides an opportunity to enjoy the sand, sea, and sunshine…

You might read: 

Halong To Ninh Binh: Best Ways To Transfer And Tips For Good Price Updated 2023

Discover Halong Bay in a Day: A ultimate guide for A Halong Bay Tour from Hanoi

Halong City Tour

Ninh Binh Tours

ninh binh day tour - aloha travel

Ninh Binh is often referred to as "Halong Bay on land" due to its stunning natural scenery. The area features beautiful limestone formations, rice paddies, and the Red River Delta. Ninh Binh is a quieter and less crowded destination compared to Halong Bay and is perfect for travelers who want to explore the natural beauty of Vietnam. Ninh Binh also has a UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural and natural values - Trang An. 

You might read: 20 Must-have items for Ninh Binh tour - Updated 2023

Advantages of taking a Ninh Binh tour

  • Stunning natural scenery with fewer crowds than Halong Bay
  • A variety of activities, such as hiking, cycling, and boat rides
  • A chance to learn about the local culture and history of the first dynasty of Vietnam
  • Local mountain food. 
  • Can choose the sites you want to visit while on a Ha Long cruise, you all follow a fixed cruise route.
ninh binh boat tour in Tam coc

Types of Ninh Binh Tours

  • Day tours: These tours are perfect for travelers on a tight schedule, as they allow you to see the highlights of Ninh Binh in a day.
  • Overnight tours: Overnight tours give you more time to discover the activities on offer. Accommodation is often provided in local homestays or hotels, giving visitors a chance to experience the local way of life and interact with the friendly and hospitable people of Ninh Binh.
  • A day in Ninh Binh Resort: A day in Ninh Binh Resort can be a perfect way to relax in a tranquil environment. The resort offers a range of activities to suit different interests, including swimming, cycling, and fishing. You can also take a leisurely stroll around the beautiful gardens and admire the lush greenery and exotic flowers. A day in Ninh Binh Resort is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and a chance to connect with nature and yourself.

Choosing Between Halong Bay and Ninh Binh Tours

Choosing Between Halong Bay and Ninh Binh Tours

When choosing between Halong Bay and Ninh Binh tours, there are several factors to keep in mind:

  • Distance and Travel Time: One of the most significant factors to consider is how much time you have for your trip. 
    • Halong Bay is located approximately 170 kilometers east of Hanoi and takes around 3.5 to 4 hours to travel by car. The most common route is via Highway 18, which passes through the city of Hai Phong and across the famous Bai Chay Bridge to Halong City. If you pass through the expressway to reach Tuan Chau Wharf, it’s approximately 2.5 hours. 
    • Ninh Binh is closer to Hanoi, located approximately 90 kilometers to the south. The journey from Hanoi to Ninh Binh takes around 1-1.5 hours by car or motorbike, depending on the traffic conditions. The route usually goes via National Highway 1A, which passes through the city of Nam Dinh before reaching Ninh Binh.
Choosing Between Halong Bay and Ninh Binh Tours 2

In terms of distance from Hanoi, Ninh Binh is closer and more accessible than Halong Bay. However, both destinations are easily reachable from Hanoi and one day is enough time for you to explore Halong or Ninh Binh. 

  • Budget: What is your budget for the trip? Halong Bay tends to be more expensive compared to Ninh Binh due to its popularity and the cost of transport, accommodations, and activities. On the other hand, Halong offers more luxury services than Ninh Binh. 
  • Activities: What activities are you most interested in? 
    • Ha Long Bay: Cruise tours, kayaking, swimming, visiting local villages, cave exploration (Thien Cung Cave and Sung Sot Cave), island hopping, fishing, cooking class, catching squid, shrimp, and other beach activities. 
    • Ninh Binh: mountain climbing, boat tour on the river, visiting the ancient pagoda, cycling around the small village, visiting the national park  
  • Scenery: Which scenery appeals to you more?

Read: Ninh Binh on a Budget: Affordable Day Tour Options

Choosing Between Halong Bay and Ninh Binh Tours 3

Overall, Halong Bay is famous for its stunning limestone formations and emerald green waters, while Ninh Binh is known for its picturesque countryside, ancient temples, and natural scenery. To choose between the two destinations, consider your travel style and preferences. If you enjoy cruising and prefer a more developed tourist infrastructure, Halong Bay may be the better choice for you. On the other hand, if you want to get off the beaten path and experience Vietnam's rural countryside, Ninh Binh may be a better fit. Ultimately, both destinations offer their own unique charms and attractions, so it depends on your personal interests. 

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision about which destination is the best fit for you and your travel preferences.

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