Halong Bay has been received many noble awards and titles: World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Wolrd new 7 wonders of Nature, Asia's top five tropical island paradises by CNN ...etc. For those who got this beautiful bay in their bucket list, how long should they spend here is a common question. There is more than one answer depending on what you look for in your vacation.
What options are available?
Normally, people will stay in Halong for 2 to 3 days either on a cruise or a hotel on land. Let’s take a look at pros and cons of each length of stay.
- Day tour: a day tour means you will need to come back the port within the day. It is the favorite choice of domestic tourist because of affordable price. They book a hotel room in Halong city where you will stay overnight after visiting the bay during the day. This way is not recommended especially for international tourist. It is not worth your journey all the way here to stay just a few hours on the bay. In case you just have one day here and don't want to miss this famous bay, Daytour is a reasonable choice.
2 days 1night cruise (2D1N): It is the most popular choice of tourist coming here. 2 days are enough time to visit one or two attractions and you will have an overnight onboard. Around 10 a.m the second day you will disembark. Travellers who are gonna have a one-month holiday in Asia often choose this option. They’d rather save the time for other destinations than spending too much time at one.
3 day 2 nights cruise (3D2N): this is the option for tourists seeking a more in-depth Halong experience. One more day in Halong Bay allows you to reach further and remote areas. Every day, at a certain time the ships need to come back assigned sleeping point where the ship anchored and stay over the night. This is strictly regulated for safety reason. Therefore, a 3-day itinerary offers further and less touristy sites including biking on a local island, visiting a pearl farm, time at a private beach..etc.
Along with longer itinerary, some onboard activities such Tai Chi or squid fishing are repeated. This can be both advantage and disadvantage. It’s the second chance to join if you missed it on the first day.
Combo: 1 night in hotel and 2D1N or 3D2N cruise: If you prefer one more day to discover Hanoi or Halong city, this combo is just right for you. The hotel option is flexible. You can choose to stay in the hotel either before or after the cruise. It can be a hotel in Hanoi or in Halong city depending on the particular package. 2D1N cruise and 1 night in Hanoi hotel is most reasonable option for international tourist who will be going on a Halong cruise. The typical schedule for a traveler is catching a flight to Hanoi, staying there for one night and going to Halong in the early morning the next day so that you’ll be on time for embarking the cruise. Check out the cruise's price comparison and different cruise's type in this article to find the best cruise for you Halong Bay trip.