The overnight Halong Bay cruise is an unforgettable experience and one that we definitely recommend when visiting Vietnam. Halong Bay has thousands of limestone islands and islets and when the mist rolls over them it’ll look like something right out of a movie. Cruising along the emerald waters while weaving through the towering limestone cliffs is such a unique experience that is sure to leave you speechless. There are plenty of cruise operators that offer an overnight Halong Bay cruise, ranging from budget options to more luxurious options.
We decided to treat ourselves to a luxury cruise with Paradise Cruises and we can’t recommend them enough. We’ll go over our experience and tell you everything you need to know!
How to get to Halong Bay
Most cruise packages offer a pick up and drop off service from Hanoi to Halong Bay. They will take you directly to the marina where you will board the cruise. This was included in the package for us. However, you should double check wether it’s the same or if you’ll have to pay an extra fee. Additionally, if you want to see the famous Halong Bay Viewpoint, you can make your own way to Halong Bay and stay in the city for a night before making your own way to the pier the next day. Most cruises don’t offer pick up from Halong City so be sure to take that into account when planning your trip.
To get to Halong Bay City, we used 12Go to book a van from Hanoi. 12Go is a super cheap and reliable way to get around Vietnam and other popular Southeast Asian countries.
↠ Book: Latest 12Go prices and timetables.
What to Expect
Different cruises will have different itineraries so be sure to do some research and see which one suits you best. We went with a 2 Day, 1 Night cruise and this is what we got up to. The activities are optional so you can decide wether you’d like to go and explore or stay and relax on the boat.
Our Overnight Halong Bay Cruise Itinerary
After being transferred onboard Paradise Elegance, we were given a quick briefing and welcome before we checked into our rooms. As the cruise started to head towards Halong Bay, we enjoyed a delicious lunch with some of the best views we’ve ever seen.
Our first stop for the day was at Sung Sot Cave, otherwise known as Surprise Cave. A short hike up some steps will lead you to an incredible viewpoint just before the entrance to the cave. We took a quick break to stop and admire the stunning view of the bay and the emerald waters. After entering the cave, you’ll have to stick to the footpath that loops all the way back around. We sure weren’t expecting the cave to be as big as it was. Once inside, the cave opens up massively. There are plenty of unique rock formations and pools that you can admire.
The second stop for the day was at Luon Cave which is a popular spot for kayaking and golden monkeys. We decided to give this one a miss and enjoyed some afternoon tea and snacks on deck. Luon Cave is only reachable by kayak or small boat. This is due to the limited height of the archway which you’ll have to pass under to reach. Kayaking isn’t the only option as you can explore Luan Cave on a bamboo boat which is rowed by a local. If you’re lucky, you’ll even be able to spot some monkeys climbing around the cliffs.
Once back on board, you can relax and get ready for a cooking demonstration followed by a lovely five-course dinner. We were exhausted after a long day and decided to spend the rest of our night admiring the ocean and fresh breeze from our balcony.
We slept past the sunrise Tai Chi session on the skydeck and headed up for a quick light breakfast before making our way to Titov Island. We enjoyed a morning swim on the beach and admired the surrounding views of the beautiful Halong Bay scenery. Alternatively, you can hike to the top of the island for another incredible panoramic view of the bay.
Our time on the cruise was coming to an end. We enjoyed our final breakfast buffet as we cruised past the caves and islets back to the mainland. After disembarking, we went back to the hotel where we waited for the transport to take us to Hanoi.
Our overnight Halong Bay cruise with Paradise Cruises was an amazing experience that has been the highlight of our Vietnam trip so far. If you plan on visiting Halong Bay, definitely don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience. If you’re after the ultimate luxury experience, be sure to check out Paradise Cruises as we had an incredible time.