Halong Bay Holidays

A fairytale vision of greenery-draped limestone towers rising from an emerald sea, Halong Bay is one of the natural wonders of the world.

An inspiration to generations of Vietnamese poets and painters, Halong Bay’s striking scenery is like something out of a dream. According to legend, it was made by a family of dragons who, to protect the local people from an invasion, spat jade and emerald into the water to create a fortress of conical peaks and towering pillars – and who are sleeping nearby in case they’re needed again. The real story of its creation may be less dramatic and considerably slower, but it’s no less remarkable, as you’ll discover as you slip through the sparkling waters of this World Heritage site on a wooden junk or elegant small ship.

Sail among 1,600 or so islands and islets made of limestone formed over millions of years and just as slowly whittled away by water, wind and waves into eye-catching shapes topped by luxuriant rainforest. Step or kayak into spectacular caves and caverns, and learn about a vast hidden world of underground lakes scooped out by the sea. Then meet the people of this awe-inspiring area as you row around floating fishing villages that were, until recently, lived in full time and are still a hive of activity.

Call us to arrange your perfect stay in Halong Bay, from the choice of boat to the itinerary that ticks all the boxes.

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Experience the very best in comfort, style and fine dining during this off-the-beaten-track itinerary which explores lesser-known areas of Halong Bay

There are two ways to explore this enchanting UNESCO World Heritage area of natural beauty – known locally as ‘dragon descending to the sea’ – on a guided small group tour as part of a bigger itinerary across Vietnam or Indochina, or on a cruise that takes you around Halong Bay in more depth. Our escorted tours are intimate with small group numbers, knowledgeable tour leaders and immersive experiences included. And they are packed with activities; you can go kayaking to Trinh Nu Cave and see the stalactites and stalagmites, with time for a swim or sunbathe on the private beach; join t’ai chi on the boat deck, and enjoy leisurely evenings watching films at the Moonlight Open Cinema, sipping cocktails and playing board games. A cruise in a traditional junk is the best way to experience the bay’s stunning beauty.

Our recommended Halong Bay tours

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Get to know Halong Bay and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.


GMT +7 hours


Vietnamese Dong


16 hours (excluding stopover time)


Vietnam is a multi-religion state with Buddhism as the leading religion.



Where is Halong Bay?
Halong Bay is in the Gulf of Tonkin in northeastern Vietnam, between Bai Tu Long Bay and Cat Ba Island. The nearest border crossing into China is around 110 miles to the north east along the coast, while Hanoi is 102 miles – a two-and-a-half-hour drive – to the west.

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The thick layer of limestone that forms this ‘drowned karst landscape’, as it’s known, began to be laid down around 340 million years ago. Over time, layers of marine sediment hardened into rock, before being slowly eroded by wind, rain and – a mere 8,000 years ago – by a rapid rise in sea levels known as the mid-Holoscene transgression. Together, they sculpted cave systems, underground lakes and soaring islands from the relatively soft limestone, creating the wonderland that exists today.

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The experiences you enjoy will vary according to which boat you’re on and the length of your cruise. Possibilities may include kayaking to Trinh Nu Cave to see the stalactites and stalagmites, sunbathing on secluded beaches, morning t’ai chi sessions on deck and leisurely evenings watching films under the stars, sipping cocktails and playing board games.

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Within easy reach of the capital Hanoi and its international airport, Halong Bay is an obvious inclusion in every dream Vietnam or Indochina itinerary. Add a night to an end-to-end adventure through the country that takes in the highlights: not just Halong Bay, but historic towns such as Hué and Hoi An and the city bustle of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Or focus on the north, teaming the vibrant capital with the hill-tribe region to the north and a longer cruise through the glories of Halong Bay.

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Visas & passports
British passport holders can enter Vietnam for 15 days without a visa; for stays of over 15 days, you must obtain a visa from official channels before you travel. Your passport must be in good condition and valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in Vietnam.

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Halong Bay Weather

Dec - Apr