A strikingly beautiful landscape of limestone islets and emerald waters
Enchanting Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage area of natural beauty known locally as ‘dragon descending to the sea’. It lies in the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam’s north east and is home to around 2000 limestone karsts, islets and grottos that stud the serene waters. A cruise in a traditional junk is the best way to experience the bay’s stunning beauty.
Best time to visit Halong Bay
There are two main seasons in Halong Bay: from April to September it is hot with occasional rain and from October to March it is cool and can be windy.
Halong Bay holiday highlights
Planning your cruise
A Halong Bay cruise is the highlight of any trip to Vietnam and we feature an overnight cruise in all of our Vietnam tours. It fits perfectly into any Vietnam or Indochina itinerary and we recommend spending a night in Hanoi before your cruise, due to the long transfer.
Create your own multi-centre and combine exploration of the lively cities with relaxation and mesmerising scenery on board a traditional junk in Halong Bay. Or you could discover the stunning Ninh Binh Province – known as ‘Halong Bay on land’ before taking a cruise in Halong Bay. On a one-night cruise you will have plenty of time to relax and appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of the bay as well as enjoy several activities.
If you're looking for a more immersive experience and have the luxury of time then it is worth splashing out on a two-night cruise on board the luxury Au Co – soak up the dramatic scenery, feast on a fantastic seafood barbecue and enjoy a hiking and biking excursion to Cat Ba Island.
What to do
Relax on the deck and admire the breathtaking scenery, enjoy tasty local cuisine on board, socialise with fellow travellers and watch the sunset from the deck before retiring to the comfort of your cabin for a peaceful night’s sleep. Activities include swimming, a cooking demonstration and a cave visit. Other activities on offer vary but can include spa treatments, early morning t’ai chi and visits to local floating fishing villages and islands.
All Halong Bay cruises include return transfers from Hanoi hotels, full board and excursions. Drinks and some additional activities will be payable on board (eg. spa treatments). All boats offer you the chance to go swimming, watch a cooking demonstration and visit a cave.
The legend of Halong Bay
Legend has it that a family of dragons were sent to aid the people of Vietnam during an invasion of their lands. Descending into Halong Bay they threw down jewels and jades into the water which turned into clusters of conical peaks and isolated towers, creating a fortress that their assailants were unable to conquer. Today, these foliage-clad limestone islands are scattered in tranquil waters and the scars that mark their surface reflect millions of years of erosion.