Visit Halong Bay on a 3 days/2 nights cruise adventure

Escape the ordinary and embark on an unforgettable journey to one of the most mesmerizing natural wonders in the world – Halong Bay.
This 3-day, 2-night cruise through the emerald waters and limestone karsts of Halong Bay is not just a vacation, but the experience of a lifetime.
Set sail on a magical adventure through this UNESCO World Heritage Site, exploring hidden caves, trying fantastic Vietnamese cuisine, and basking in the sheer beauty of this natural gem.

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Book an epic cruise adventure in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

Day 1 - Welcome aboard, enjoy the scenery, visit a surprising cave, and a magical sunset

The adventure begins as you step aboard a luxurious cruise ship, your home for the next two nights.
Greeted by the friendly crew, you’ll settle into your comfortable cabin with panoramic views of the bay.

As the ship sets sail, take in the stunning landscape of Halong Bay, enjoy a delicious lunch buffet, and get ready for the first stop on your Halong Bay cruise: Hang Sung Sot.
The name means “Surprise Cave”, and boy is it accurate. Nestled among the limestone karsts, this expansive cave unveils a breathtaking world of intricate stalactite formations and awe-inspiring chambers.
As you navigate through its illuminated pathways, the cave’s natural beauty and historical significance come to life, making it a must-visit highlight of any Halong Bay cruise.

End the first day of your Halong Bay cruise by relaxing on the sundeck with a drink for happy hour, watching the sun set over the amazing scenery, and joining a cooking class learning how to make delicious Vietnamese spring rolls.

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Day 2 - Discover magnificent viewpoints, explore traditional villages by kayak, and visit a pearl farm

Wake up to the gentle rocking of the boat and the fresh sea breeze. After a hearty breakfast, embark on a full day of exploration.

The highlight of the day is a visit to the iconic Titop mountain viewpoint. A short hike leads to the summit, where a breathtaking view of the bay and its famous limestone formations awaits. Afterward, descend to Titop Beach for a refreshing dip or relax on the sandy shores, surrounded by the beauty of nature.

In the afternoon, take a kayak to explore a peaceful fishing village nestled in the heart of the bay. Immerse yourself in the local culture, interact with friendly villagers, and witness their traditional way of life.

Halong Bay is not just about its natural wonders; it’s also home to fascinating pearl farms. A visit to one of these farms provides insight into the meticulous process of cultivating pearls. Learn about the life cycle of oysters, witness pearl harvesting, and explore a stunning collection of jewelry crafted from these aquatic treasures.

As the day unfolds, the cruise will anchor in a secluded area, allowing you to indulge in another cooking class on the sundeck while enjoying happy hour and the beautiful landscape during sunset.

Day 3 - Tai Chi at sunrise and farewell

On your final day, rise early to catch the sunrise over the bay.
Join a rejuvenating Tai Chi session on the sundeck, surrounded by the tranquil beauty of Halong Bay.

As the cruise slowly returns to the harbor, enjoy a farewell brunch and take in the beautiful scenery of Halong Bay one last time.

Travel costs for a Halong Bay cruise

The costs for a Halong Bay cruise can vary dramatically, depending on the luxury and comfort you want during your trip.
It’s essential to understand the costs to plan your budget effectively.

In this guide, I’ll break down the various expenses you can expect when booking a 3-day, 2-night cruise in Halong Bay, to make sure you’re well prepared for this unforgettable journey.

Cruise package

The primary cost of your Halong Bay cruise is the package itself. Prices vary based on the cruise company, the level of luxury, the type of cabin, and the inclusions.

Standard packages often cover accommodation, meals, guided excursions, and onboard activities.

Deluxe or luxury packages may include additional perks like spa treatments, private dining, or exclusive excursions.

I traveled with Incredible Asia Journeys and was very happy with everything.

They offer 3 levels of cruise packages: budget, deluxe and luxury.
I chose a deluxe option because I like to travel with a little bit more luxury than budget options, but don’t need anything super exclusive.
The deluxe cruise included transport to and from Hanoi, accommodation in a very nice cabin with balcony (which was upgraded for the second night to a suite since most other travellers only chose the 2D/1N trip option and the suite would’ve been empty anyway), guided tours to the caves and viewpoints, cooking classes and morning tai chi.
Not included were drinks and spa treatments.


Depending on your starting point, you may need to consider transportation costs to reach the Halong Bay embarkation point.

If you’re traveling from Hanoi, for example, you can choose between shuttle services provided by the cruise company or private transportation, which are usually round 25-50 USD per person for a return trip.

Optional excursions

While the basic package often covers standard excursions, some cruise companies offer optional activities at an additional cost. These may include more exclusive tours, spa services, or special dining experiences.

With the cruise I booked through Incredible Asia Journeys, everything except drinks and spa treatments was included in the price.


Most cruise packages include meals, but beverages, especially alcoholic drinks, may not be included.
Budget for drinks you plan to enjoy during the cruise, whether it’s a glass of wine with dinner or cocktails on the sundeck. Some cruises offer beverage packages or happy hour, so explore these options to potentially save on costs.

Souvenirs and shopping

Halong Bay offers unique shopping opportunities, from local crafts to souvenirs.
Budget for any personal shopping you plan to do, keeping in mind that prices may be higher in tourist areas.

What to pack for your Halong Bay cruise

When preparing for a cruise through Halong Bay, make sure you pack light but smart.

Begin with essentials like lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for warm weather, as well as swimwear for those refreshing moments in the bay.
Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes for on-shore excursions and a hat to shield yourself from the sun.

Since the evenings can be cooler, include a light jacket or sweater.

Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated during outdoor activities.

A small backpack is handy for day trips, allowing you to carry essentials like your camera, sunscreen, and a hat. Formal attire may be required for certain dining experiences, so include a dressier outfit.

Lastly, bring travel-sized toiletries, any necessary medications, and a universal power adapter for charging devices.

Also, to fit everything nicely into your suitcase or backpack, use packing cubes!
They’re a game changer and make it possible for me to basically travel with hand luggage only whenever I go anywhere.

Packing cubes gift ideas for travel lovers

My favourite are these ones from traveldude, made from 100% recycled plastic so they’re super practical AND sustainable!

The best time for a Halong Bay cruise

The best time for a cruise through Halong Bay is during the fall, from September to November.
This period offers the best weather, mild temperatures, lower humidity, and clear skies.

The bay comes alive with vibrant greenery, and the comfortable climate allows for an enjoyable exploration of its stunning landscapes and attractions.
Additionally, the calmer waters during this season enhance the overall cruising experience, ensuring smooth sailing and the opportunity to fully appreciate the beauty of Halong Bay.

Don’t forget about travel insurance!

Better to be safe than sorry, so don’t forget your travel insurance before heading to Vietnam.

My favourite is this one from Seven Corners because you can choose the plan that’s best for your trip.

Last but not least, do you need a visa?

European passport holders can visit Vietnam without a visa for 14 days, or get an E-visa which is valid for 30 days for 25 USD per person.

Thanks for reading my Halong Bay cruise travel guide, I hope it inspires and helps you to plan your own epic adventure!

Chúc bạn có một chuyến đi an toàn (which means safe travels in Vietnamese),

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Follow my adventures

I share my best travel tips, detailed itineraries and delicious food recommendations
over on Instagram @haveyoutriedtraveling to make your next trip epic.

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