Best Activities in Halong Bay

Halong Bay overnight cruise or Day cruise: which one should I choose?

Halong Bay offers visitors not just stunning natural scenery made up of hundreds of limestone islands and islets, but also incredibly fascinating and engaging experiences. If you’re unsure of how long to stay in Halong, the following guide will assist you in deciding whether to take a day trip or an overnight cruise.

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Things to consider while choosing between a day trip and an overnight stay in Halong

Halong Bay might keep you occupied with an endless number of recreation activities in addition to a large selection of tours and excursions. As usual, most visitors prefer to spend 2 or 3 days on an overnight trip, however some opt for a day trip.

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For those who are still considering, this post will provide you with the deciding factors, the key distinctions between an overnight cruise and a day trip in Halong Bay, as well as some advice on how to choose the best route.

Your trip time, your expectations, and your travel budget are the three primary criteria that will greatly influence how long you stay in HaLong Bay.

Key Factors Day Trip Overnight Cruise
Length of trip
  • 6 Hours Cruising
  • 8 Hours Cruising
  • 2 Days 1 Night
  • 3 Days 2 Nights
Your Goal
  • Visit highlight beauty spots
  • Discover hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path areas
  • Join different activities
Your Budget
  • From 45USD – 120 USD/Pax
  • From 125 USD – 235 USD/Pax

Length of trip

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Your vacation plans will also undoubtedly have an impact on how long you stay in Ha Long.

  • A-Day Trip: A day cruise in Halong Bay is the best option if you have a busy itinerary while visiting Vietnam. The excursion will run from 8 am to 5 pm, so it is suitable for those with a tight schedule. You will choose from the option of visiting the bay in 6 or 8 hours on a day trip.
  • Overnight Cruise: For those with flexible schedules, it is advised to stay in Halong Bay for 2-3 days. In fact, a 2-day Halong cruise lasts for 24 hours on the bay to visit a few sites, while a 3-day Halong cruise lasts for 48 hours so that you can explore all the must-sees, must-dos, and untouched locations in the breathtaking bay.

Your Expectation

Halong Bay can be visited in a variety of ways, as preferred by each visitor. While some returning tourists can just spend a day visiting particular areas, first-time visitors need more time for an overnight cruise to fully explore the bay.

So what is your expectation of your Ha Long trip?

  • A-day Trip: If you’re really into the natural wonders made of distinctive limestone mountains and caves, a full day tour is enough to visit most of the well-known sites.
  • Overnight Cruise: For those who want to experience exciting things to do in Ha Long, an overnight cruise offers a wonderful opportunity to partake in swimming, kayaking, cooking classes, cycling, visiting pearl farms and fishing villages, doing morning Tai Chi exercises,… You’ll have an additional chance to visit several of the large islands and less touristy areas.

Your Budget

Tour costs are undoubtedly an issue to take into consideration while deciding between a day trip and an overnight cruise to Halong Bay. The longer you stay in the bay, the higher the cost you will have to pay for your trip, but it is well worth it

  • Cost of Day trip: The cost of a full day trip typically includes lunch, entrance fees to several caves, kayaking and boating to the fishing village,… Typically, a 1-day excursion costs between $45 and $100.
  • Overnight Cruise: The cost of an overnight stay will be much higher due to a wider range of costs. The price of a 2-day cruise in Halong Bay typically ranges from $125 to $235 per night, depending on the quality standards.

Manage your expectations. Remember, if you are looking for a cheap Halong Bay cruise, it will not look like that dreamy cruise you might have imagined!

A day Trip and 2 Days

What distinguishes an overnight cruise in Halong from a day tour?

This part provides you with the main differences between a day trip and an overnight cruise in Halong to assist you in making a better choice.

Highlights of Halong Bay Day Tour

Overall, a few hours are barely enough for a few activities, such as cave explorations, swimming, kayaking, and occasionally cooking classes on a full-day Halong Bay cruise.

  • Visiting caves

A visit to the cave, which is one of the must-do things on the Halong itinerary, will make you impressed by the magnificent and magical caves. And in order to provide time for additional activities, a day tour often only takes you to one of the renowned caves of Halong Bay.

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A day cruise to Halong allows you to kayak and swim on the pristine beaches. You are often provided an hour to paddle slowly between the emerald waters and the steep rock formations.

>>> Read more: Kayaking in Halong Bay – The Completed Guide to Explore Amazing Bay

  • Watching the sunset on the bay

Halong Bay is a popular destination for tourists due to its landscape and cuisine, but it is also a great location to view the “masterpiece of nature” on the sea every afternoon, which is sunset.

Halong is extremely beautiful when the sun goes down. The colorful lights from the Halong cruises reflect on the sea, creating a shimmering scene with a variety of fanciful colors.

  • Deluxe & Small Group Halong Bay Day Trip 6Hour Cruise -Limousine Bus
  • Start from: $ 51/Person
  • Superior Halong Bay Day Tour 6 Hour Cruise
  • Start from: $ 45/Person
Explore-tour Explore-tour

Sunset on halong bay day tour

Kayaking in Halong bay

>>> You may want to read Other BEST Day trip from Hanoi

Highlights of Halong Overnight Cruise

There are typically two alternatives for overnight cruises: 2-day, 1-night cruises and 3-day, 2-night cruises. The longer you stay in Halong, the more activities on board you can take part in. Here are some additional activities that overnight itineraries include besides kayaking and exploring caves.

  • Watching the sunrise

An overnight cruise will give you the chance to view Halong Bay’s gorgeous scenery in the early morning.

  • Taking a Tai Chi session

You can take part in Tai Chi, a Chinese practice, as part of another fascinating activity on board at dawn. What could be better than to meditate while surrounded by the calm waters of Halong Bay? Early in the morning, the fresh air here will provide you a perfect retreat for your mental well-being and physical balance.

  • Taking part in a cooking classes

A cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Vietnamese foods will be included in the first afternoon’s itinerary. You can learn step-by-step about the ingredients and the cooking procedure. For foodies and people who are enthusiastic in both food and Vietnamese cuisine, this is definitely a great activity.

  • Experiencing night squid fishing

Squid fishing is a must-do activity during an overnight trip to HaLong Bay. You can experience squid fishing on a boat by following the locals’ instructions at night.

In addition, when going squid fishing, you will have the chance to unwind and take in the nighttime splendor of Halong Bay. Then, the squids you caught will be prepared into delectable delicacies so that you can celebrate your fishing achievements.

Check out: The Best Halong Bay Overnight on Cruise


In conclusion, you should consider the pros and cons of each Halong overnight cruise option as follows:

Duration Pros Cons
Day Trip
  • Affordable price
  • Efficient for those who have scanty time
  • Limited itinerary & activities
  • No chance to witness Halong at night
2D1N on Cruise
  • Economical and the most popular choice
  • Only one night in the bay
  • Undiversified activities
3D2N on Cruise
  • Wide range of 4- and 5-star cruises
  • Various things to do in Halong
  • In-depth experience with hidden parts
  • High cost

Recommendations for the top cruises to Halong Bay

There are a variety of Halong Bay cruises available with varying lengths to choose from. The following are top-rated cruise suggestions based on their excellent quality, service, price, and positive reviews from previous customers.

Day Trip Overnight Cruise
La Casta Daily Luxury Halong Bay Cruise – 8 Hours Cruising

  • Price from 89 USD
La Pandora Cruise – A Best 4 Star Cruise in La Ha Bay

  • Price from 141 USD
Wonder Bay Cruise – Luxury 6 Hours Cruise – Limousine Transfer

  • Price from 79 USD
La Casta Cruise – A Midrance 5 Star Luxury Cruise in Lan Ha Bay

  • Price from 175 USD
Ha Long Excursion 6 Hour Cruise By Limousine – Luxury Tour

  • Price from 67 USD
Le Theatre Cruise – Luxury Halong Bay 5 Star Cruise

  • Price from 189 USD
Arcady Luxury 1 Day Cruise – The Best Halong Bay 1 Day Tour

  • Price from 77 USD
Orchid Classic Cruise – A Luxury Halong Bay 5 Star Cruise

  • Price from 195 USD
Jade Sails – A luxury Halong Bay & Lan Ha Bay 8 Hours Cruise

  • Price from 109 USD
Rosy Cruise – A 5 Star Boutique Cruise in Halong Bay & Lan Ha Bay

  • Price from 178 USD
The Halong Catamaran Premium Cruise

  • Price from 99 USD
Stellar of the Seas Cruise – Best Valueable for 5 Star Cruise

  • Price from 215 USD
Luxury Ambassador Day Cruise – 7 Hours Cruising

  • Price from 115 USD
Ambassador Cruise – A Big 5 Star Luxury Cruise in Halong Bay

  • Price from 225 USD

Tips for choosing the best itinerary

After carefully examining each sort of itinerary, you should take into consideration the following advice to make your final choice.

The length of stay is the most important thing to consider.

  • Your decision will be directly influenced by how long you stay. For overnight cruises, there are two options available, including two-day, one-night cruises and three-day, two-night cruises. And if you want to take a day trip, you can opt to visit the bay in four hours, six hours, or eight hours. For the best decision, you must consider utilizing your time effectively.

An overnight Halong Bay cruise is highly recommended

  • because you will have more opportunities to visit unique tourist sites and engage in a variety of activities. A stay of two to three days is also sufficient for you to fully appreciate Halong Bay’s stunning scenery.


  • In addition to the above mentioned factors, the weather might occasionally have a significant impact on your plans. A day trip to Halong will be the best option in case of bad weather because it is quite dangerous to spend the night on the bay. On the other hand, if you’re a connoisseur, a 2- or 3-day Halong cruise will allow you to have the most beautiful photos and a delightful experience on one of the most modern cruises.
  • In conclusion, Halong Bay is a must-see destination that any traveler to Vietnam should spend at least a day exploring. A day trip is still a great choice if you have a busy schedule. Otherwise, an overnight trip to Halong Bay is highly recommended to fully experience a cruise on the bay.

For further helpful information, don’t hesitate to contact us, we are always willing to assist you.

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