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


When embarking on a Halong Bay day cruise tour from Hanoi, many travelers are overwhelmed due to the multitude of options available. With the abundance of choices from traditional junk boats to luxurious cruise ships, choosing the right operator takes you even more time than planning an entire Vietnam itinerary! To help you avoid Halong Bay's overwhelm, this blog gives you useful tips to choose the best Halong Bay day cruise. There is also information in selecting the best time, itineraries and things must know before taking Halong Bay day cruise tour that suits your preferences and needs.


Aloha Vietnam Travel usually received common questions regarding the Halong Bay cruise: 

  • Are overnight cruises worth it, or can I do a day trip instead?
  • What activities and excursions are included in a typical Halong Bay cruise?
  • Can I customize the activities or itinerary on a Halong Bay day cruise?

The location of Halong Bay. Is the Halong Bay cruise worth it? 


Halong Bay is now considered one of the top destinations in Vietnam. In the North of Vietnam, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 1,600 lush islands. About 180km east of the beautiful capital city of Hanoi, It takes you around 3 - 3.5 hours to get there. Exploring the bay and weaving among the limestone karsts is a truly magical experience that should be on everyone's Southeast Asia travel list. And a cruise tour is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere here. 

Why choose a Halong Bay day cruise in Halong Bay? 


How many days for the Halong Bay cruise is always the top question for first-time travelers. In fact, taking an overnight cruise for 2 days or 3 days are better. You have more time to explore Halong Bay's unique landscapes and its surrounding. In one day, you will be rushed. 

On the other hand, one day Halong Bay cruise itinerary is chosen by many people because of its time-efficient, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility. If you have limited time, a day cruise allows you to experience the beauty of Halong Bay for a shorter duration. You can still witness the stunning landscapes, explore caves, and enjoy activities offered during the day. 

Day cruises are generally more budget-friendly compared to overnight cruises. They offer a chance to enjoy Halong Bay's highlights without the additional expenses of an overnight stay. Besides, you can choose from various cruise options based on your preferences and available time. You can select the cruise duration (4 hours - 6 hours - 8 hours), activities, and itinerary that best suits your interests.

The best time to visit Halong Bay 


The best time to visit Halong Bay is from March to May and September to November. During these months, the weather is generally pleasant with mild temperatures and lower humidity.

  • March to May (Spring): It offers comfortable temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C and clear skies. The bay is less crowded during this time, allowing you to enjoy a more peaceful and serene experience. 
  • September to November (Autumn): Temperatures ranging from 18°C to 30°C. The weather is typically sunny, and the water is calm, creating ideal conditions for activities such as swimming, kayaking, and exploring the caves.
  • June to August (Summer): This time is summer vacation in Vietnam so Halong Bay is usually crowded with domestic tourists. The weather can be hot and humid, with occasional rainfall. While the bay's scenery remains stunning, the increased heat and occasional storms can affect the overall experience.

Note: During that period, it is advisable to plan ahead and make advance bookings for your tour.

  • December to February (Winter): This time is characterized by cooler temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C. Although it can be chilly, the bay's misty landscapes and fewer tourists create a unique and tranquil atmosphere.

Halong Bay Cruise Tips- How to choose the best day cruise in Halong 


Choosing the right Halong Bay cruise day trip can absolutely be overwhelming due to the group of choices. To help you make an informed decision, here are four useful tips. 

1. Choosing the right cruise operator with good reviews 


When it comes to planning your voyage in Halong Bay, one of the most valuable tips is to check out reviews of the operators. Type the keywords you want then read the sharing from previous travellers. To access reliable reviews, I recommend visiting TripAdvisor and These platforms often feature photographs uploaded by travelers, providing a more authentic perspective. Don’t just choose cruise ships that catch your eye because professional photos are usually uploaded by the company. 

2. Check the cruise itinerary


In addition, please check the itinerary. Different cruise and tour operators offer different cruise schedules. Check the duration of the cruise, the number of stops, and the activities included. Determine if the itinerary matches your interests and desired level of exploration. Some cruises offer unique experiences like kayaking, visiting local fishing villages, or exploring caves, so choose one that aligns with your preferences.

What is included and not included in the tour? A reasonably priced tour will be more appealing. However, with low-budget tours, some services may be reduced. Therefore, the additional payment for excluded services might be higher than the total price of a package tour.  Don’t just compare the price. Once again, pay attention to the duration, cruise route, the type of cruise, and whether transfers to/from Hanoi and meals are included. 

When booking your Halong Bay cruise via instead of a local travel agent, it is crucial to carefully review the terms and conditions. It is possible that you will be required to pay an extra fee of $30-$40 per person for a round-trip transfer to/from Hanoi.

3. Prepare the budget


Halong Bay cruises typically offer full board packages that cover all meals but exclude Drinks, tips for the tour guide and driver, kayaking/ bamboo boat, and other personal expenses. It will be perfect to enjoy a can of beer or cocktail under the sunset. You can also bring along snacks and large bottles of water for your journey. Not only will this help you save on expenses, but it will also help you refresh when climbing up the island or doing water activities. Cash in Vietnam dong is preferred. 

4. Consider cruise size and atmosphere

Halong Bay day tour booking tips

Halong Bay cruises range from small traditional junk boats to larger luxury ships. Smaller boats often offer a more intimate and authentic experience, while larger ships may provide additional amenities and facilities. Consider your preference for the size of the cruise and the atmosphere you desire. Do you prefer a more private and serene setting or a lively and social environment?

Suggestions for an interesting 1-day Halong Bay Cruise

1. How long for a Halong Bay day cruise tour? 

The majority of Halong Bay cruise itineraries typically involve a pickup in Hanoi at approximately 8:00 or 8:30 am and arrival at the boat around 12:00 pm. 

what is the best time to visit halong bay

There are three 1-day itineraries open for the Halong Bay cruise:

  • 4 hours cruise
  • 6 hours cruise
  • 8 hours cruise 

Almost tourists take 6 hours on boat for the following activities: 

How long for a Halong Bay day cruise tour?
  • Enjoy the breathtaking islands and islets' view 
  • Climb and swim on Titop Island
  • Do kayaking or bamboo boat on crystal-clear water and feel the quiet of Halong Bay
  • Visit Surprising Cave to see a lot of stalagmites and stalactites
  • Take a sunset party on cruise 

2. Popular cruise brands and itineraries. 

A luxury cruise (6 hours) - $59

Popular cruise brands and itineraries.
  • Delicious set menu of seafood
  • Swimming on Titop sand beach and hiking to the top of the island
  • Enjoy sunset party 
  • Explore the most beautiful cave "amazing cave"
  • Kaying or bamboo boat at Luon cave

Cozy Cruise (6 hours) - $75 (Highly recommended) 

Halong Bay Cozy Cruise-Aloha Travel with 6 hours Crusing.
  • Round-trip transportation on a Limousine bus via expressway.
  • Enjoy a buffet lunch featuring a variety of over 30 dishes.
  • Experience a romantic sunset party with offerings such as Red wine, tea, cakes, shrimp chips, and fresh fruits.
  • All-inclusive activities: Cave exploration, Titop Island visit, and options for kayaking or bamboo boat rides.

Cong cruise (6 hours) - $85

Halong Bay Cong Cruise-Aloha Travel with 6 hours Crusing.
  • Kayaking and Swimming at Trinh Nu Beach
  • Visiting Sung Sot Cave
  • Mountain climbing at Ti Top island
  • Enjoy a delicious seafood lunch
  • Sunset Party, Cooking class for Pho rolls and relax…

We have shared some suggestions for your 1-day Halong Bay Cruise. We hope you find them helpful as you plan your trip to Vietnam.

If you need more information or have any questions about the tour, please feel free to reach out to our Aloha Vietnam Travel Team. We are always available to assist you!

Check out Aloha Vietnam Travel on Tripadvisor

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

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