Cruise from Hanoi to Halong Bay - A Once in a Lifetime Experience You Can't Miss

Transportation to Halong

Halong Bay is no stranger to both Vietnamese locals and foreigners, lauded as one of the most reputed UNESCO World Heritage Sites for years. While the bay welcomes tourists from all cities and countries, traveling from Hanoi remains the favored option due to the broad array of cruise packages and services available. 

More details about the cruise from Hanoi to Halong Bay will be discussed in the following sections.

Where is Halong Bay?

It is situated within the Gulf of Tonkin

It is situated within the Gulf of Tonkin. 

Halong Bay is situated within the Gulf of Tonkin (Province Quang Ninh) in northern Vietnam. Its core shares the same recognition as the two sibling bays, Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay, together shaping a vast seawater area referred to by most tourists as Halong Bay.

The bay is dotted by over 1900 islets and limestone monoliths perking from the water, topped by dense jungle vegetation.

How Far Away Is Halong Bay from Hanoi?

It is 101 miles from Hanoi

It is 101 miles from Hanoi.

Situated on the coastline of Vietnam, the distance from Hanoi to halong bay by more than 101 miles (or 163 kilometers) in the east, far from the capital’s bustling life. 

While the number seems overwhelming, traveling to Halong from Hanoi is unsurprisingly easy due to the numerous transportation options and services to choose from. We will discuss each in the next section.

Read More: Best Time to Visit Halong Bay - Enjoying Its Ideal Climate

How to Get to Halong Bay from Hanoi? 

There are several common methods to get to Halong

There are several common methods to get to Halong. 

1. Minibus/ Luxury Shuttle Bus Included in Cruise Booking

Here at Paradise Vietnam, we offer Hanoi - Halong luxury shuttle buses door-to-door transfer with full-fledged amenities, like free Wi-Fi, cozy seats, ambient light, and mineral water.


Cruise from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Cruise Halong Bay from Hanoi

2. Private Cars

Notably lauded by most travelers as the most convenient and direct solution, private cars allow ambitious customers to spend their entire holiday solely on bay exploration. Those traveling in large groups - or not fond of sharing the same vehicle with strangers - would also find private cars quite ideal.

3. Online Taxi Booking

We suggest pre-booking your ride to avoid overcharges and scams - a common issue in most countries with well-developed tourism systems like Vietnam. The price usually ranges from $20 to $40 for each way.

4. Public Buses

Backpackers or tight-budget tourists seeking cheap traveling between Halong and Hanoi should settle with a local bus, whose bus tickets cost below $5 per person. Note that no return is included in the deal, however.

5. Motorbikes

An option reserved for adventurous, confident riders, a motorbike trip only requires an average bike model for the rest of the way. The common price range only fluctuates around $5 to $6 a day. 

6. Slow Trains

Each train to Halong Bay takes 7 hours or even more; but in compensation, the ticket costs less than $4 while allowing you many opportunities to take pictures of the stunning roadside scenery.

Read More: Should you travel by train from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

Top 5 Halong Bay Cruise Options from Hanoi

1. Paradise Sails Cruise - The Best Halong Bay Cruise 


Paradise Sails Cruise - Best Halong Bay Cruise

Paradise Sails Cruise - Best Halong Bay Cruise

It offers 16 cabins of the best quality

It offers 16 cabins of the best quality.

As one of the best Paradise Vietnam cruises, Paradise Sails offers 16 luxurious cabins for personal use and extremely spacious sundecks (sunbeds included) to guarantee unprecedented views of Halong Bay’s emerald water and limestone formations. After a long day of kayaking and exploring, passengers can return on board to rest in the comfortable lounge or have world-class spa treatments in the Le Parfum Spa. 

Intimate dining is another non-skip highlight of Paradise Sails, boosted to the highest levels with sophisticated dining rooms and royal-like Vietnamese menus, offering you an hands-on experience of the country’s cuisine cultures. In the morning, do not forget to participate in the 30-minute Tai Chi sessions while enjoying the ocean’s refreshing air. 

Read More: Ha Long Bay Cruise: A Perfect Family Vacation

2. Paradise Peak Cruise


Paradise Peak - Best Luxury Cruise

Paradise Peak - Best Luxury Cruise

Paradise Peak has fitness rooms, day spas, and libraries

Paradise Peak has fitness rooms, day spas, and libraries. 

The 5-star luxury cruise ship peaks through the competition with 8 cabins equipped with all-inclusive amenities -  entailing private dining areas, Jacuzzi, butler services, and a private balcony for the best sightseeing experience. Day spas and libraries are also included, and those who love to exercise even during sea travels would love the Paradise Peak’s premium onboard fitness room that looks directly to the sea’s unique view.

Exciting water-based activities aside, you also have the chance to try out traditional cooking classes before dinner, guided by the most talented chefs on the cruises.

3. Paradise Elegance Cruise 

This sleek vessel inspires a sense of comfort and luxury

This sleek vessel inspires a sense of comfort and luxury. 

Paradise Elegance - Best Halong Bay Cruise

Paradise Elegance - Best Halong Bay Cruise

Paradise Elegance is a modern, sleek vessel that combines Vietnamese’s remarkable design concepts with contemporary styling, inspiring a sense of luxury and comfort the moment you step on board. 

The cruise prides itself on high-quality restaurants and bars serving two-star Michelin dishes, day spas, wellness centers, and spacious piano lounges for a good-hearted rest after dinners. There is also a huge sundeck (holding 90 people), ideal for both formal event organizations and casual get-togethers between friends.

Regarding itinerary, Paradise Elegance introduces in-depth dives into Sung Sot Cave/Surprise Cave - Halong’s largest cave, kayaking trips near Tung Sau Pearl Farm, and extended hiking atop Titop Island for the best panoramic view. 

Read More: Comfort and Adventure on a Halong Bay Cruise Luxury

4. Paradise Delight Cruise - The Best Luxury Halong Bay Cruise

It has a 360-people capacity

It has a 360-people capacity.

Paradise Delight - Halong Bay Luxury Cruises

Paradise Delight - Halong Bay Luxury Cruises

With a capacity of 360 people, this five star cruise is a great place for weddings, seminars, conferences, events, parties, and arts shows thanks to the modern and elegant European style. The cruise also passespass through the bay’s scenic spots, such as Thien Cung Cave, Dau Go Cave, Reu Island, and more, giving you the chance to bask in the full glory of this world-famous UNESCO Heritage Site.

The fine-dining restaurants and their excellent gourmet specialties serve as another cruise highlight. While you enjoy the high-quality culinary dishes, the surrounding curved glass walls form a 360-degree visual feast to boost your dinner quality to a new height.

Paradise Delight also introduces the first visual spectacle show on the Halong Bay cruise, staged by the reputed director Hoang Nhat Nam, which cites the bay’s famous legends through world-class visual effects.

5. Paradise Explorer Cruise - The Best Halong Bay Cruise Mid-Range

Explorer is a good choice for budget cruisers

Explorer is a good choice for budget cruisers.

Regarding the best mid range cruise, Paradise Explorer is indeed the most favored Halong Bay day cruise from Ha Noi, tailored for people who still wish to have a taste of the bay’s beautiful landscapes and crystal water without breaking the bank. 

As the day cruise travels past Titov Island and Trong Mai islets, passengers can enjoy hearty lunches onboard and capture beautiful pictures from Explorer’s 360-degree sundecks. A wide range of Asian/European menus and beverages are also available on this budget cruise, boosting your energy during mid-time breaks between kayaking and swimming sessions.

Note: This cruise is reserved for groups, not for individual cruisers.

Tours and Things to Do in Halong Bay


Tours and Things to Do in Halong Bay

Tours and Things to Do in Halong Bay

1. Kayaking

Passengers can choose to admire the stunning landscape from the deck; nevertheless, kayaking allows better access to places a day boat cannot reach. Aided by the gentle waves of the lake and sea, it has become one of the most common activities to partake in once you arrive in Halong Bay.

Several caves have wide channels to paddle through, leading you to completely hidden parts not included in the itinerary. Visiting various beaches through kayaking is also highly recommended and often included in numerous travel programs - both day tours and multi-day packages.



2. Squid Fishing

Squid fishing gives you a good-hearted lesson on how to be patient, while also rewarding all your efforts with mouth-watering, refreshing dishes if the squids are caught fresh. 

As per local experience, nights without moonlight are the perfect time to join squid-fishing gangs in Halong Bay. Daytime or nights with bright moons, on the other hand, give the squids too much visibility advantage; hence, they will not flock around your boat once the flashlight is turned on.

Read More: Halong Bay Day Cruise: A Perfect Way to Spend Your Vacation


Squid fishing

Squid fishing

3. Cooking Class

Cooking classes on luxury cruises like Paradise Vietnam usually take about 1 hour (depending on your chosen itinerary) before dinners or after kayaking/cave exploring sessions. 

They offer great opportunities for passengers to sample the best cuisine dishes while discovering impressive backstories about Vietnam’s culinary culture. The chef also shows and teaches you preparation methods for some reputed traditional dishes, such as dried or fresh spring rolls, vegetables/fruit carving, and more.

From time to time, fierce competition will break out among the cruisers, and the fun gets twice better if you manage to seize the number 1 spot. After all, there is no better experience than to taste your own cooking.


Cooking classes in Halong Bay Trip

Cooking classes in Halong Bay Trip

4. Tai Chi Classes

Tai Chi sessions are often organized about half an hour in the morning before breakfast. The relaxing poses, breathtaking landscapes, and refreshing air will lift heavy thoughts off your mind to welcome fresh bounds of energy for the adventure ahead.

Choose the most comfortable and loose-fitting outfit to avoid motion restriction. Regarding footwear, you will need lightweight, flexible shoes that provide sufficient support for body balance - while still being thin enough on the soles to let you feel the floor better. Sometimes, barefoot practices are also a great idea.

Most instructors ask you to observe their movements first, so remember to pay extra attention to each gesture change. Always focus on your ground connection and the base, too.


You can have Tai Chi sessions before breakfast

You can have Tai Chi sessions before breakfast.

5. Overnight Cruise

Though a Halong Bay day tour does have its perks, those with generous budgets should not miss the chance to stay in Halong Bay for more than a day; in-depth explorations and ample opportunities to discover off-beaten places are awaiting. 

The most common overnight options for the Halong Bay tour from Ha Noi: 2 days 1 night and 3 days 2 nights. Consider your time limits, preferences, and financial conditions to settle on the most suitable package.


Stay overnight to enjoy the natural beauty of the bay

Stay overnight to enjoy the natural beauty of the bay.

6. Cycling

Cycling with your friends and families under the warm sunlight and gentle winds is nothing short of exciting; fortunately, numerous Halong Bay cruises include this activity in their itineraries to the Viet Hai Village (Cat Ba). For those not taking cruises, bicycling renting services around the area are still available.

  • Cycle renting: 20,000 dong/ hour; 100,000 dong/day
  • Bike renting: 120-200,000 dong/day

Should You Travel Independently or With A Package Tour?

Each option has its respective perks and downsides; it would be better to assess the pros and cons while taking in your own traveling preferences and budgets.

1. Independent Travel for A Halong Bay Cruise:

Independent travelers still have their routes and certain amenities arranged by their company. But other than that, they are responsible for the rest of the Halong Bay trip and navigate from one destination to another entirely by themselves. There is no group support or guides included in these tours - though some agencies do offer luggage transfers, pointers, basic maps, and so on.

The Pros

  • You can decide at your own pace. Compared to package tours, you will have much more flexibility in choosing your pacing and how many hours/days to spend for each area.
  • You can travel with anyone and make friends during the trip. One notable perk of a self-guided tour is that you are free to choose your partners, join groups with other tourists taking similar routes, or alternate between the two according to specific destinations. There is no need to confine yourself within hundreds of strangers all the time like with package tours.
  • You don’t have to do much research. While the notion of independent tours often implies travelers have to do everything on their own, that is not always the case. The tour operators still give you all the necessary information and must-see tourist destinations to refer to, and they are certainly much cheaper than hiring an inexperienced guide.
  • It is still safe. Contrary to popular belief, independent travel is no longer considered dangerous, especially with the help of 24/7 Internet, mobile phones, and local advice. These strips strike a good balance between safety and adventure, ensuring you enjoy the beauty of Halong to the fullest without putting yourself at risk.

The Cons

You have to be very proactive and keep good track of your itinerary. Always be punctual, especially if your schedules are tight, to avoid messing up the day’s overall plan.

2. Package Tours for a Halong Bay Cruise:


Package tours for a Halong Bay cruise

Package tours for a Halong Bay cruise

Packaged tours refer to all-inclusive traveling experiences led by a cruise operator/ tour guide and following pre-planned itineraries. Regarded as the most popular option for Halong Bay, they introduce a wide range of packages that suit different budgets and preferences.

The Pros

  • It saves first-time tourists from trouble. Joining package tours to Halong is the safest choice if you have little experience in off-the-beaten places that are hard to access or do not speak Vietnamese or even English.
  • You will gain a deeper historical and intellectual understanding of Halong. Luxury ships like Paradise Vietnam pride themselves in experienced and well-trained guides, from whom you can learn many interesting tidbits and stories about each cave, island, and artifact.
  • They are convenient. Coordinating every aspect of the trip, from event tickets and transportation to restaurants and resting places, can be very daunting, especially for beginners or people on tight schedules. As such, a pre-arranged itinerary handled by professionals will save you lots of time and effort.
  • Better deals are available. Since tour providers have already negotiated group rates for every amenity, you will usually gain access to much better hotels/activities than what you would have got as individuals and at the same pricing.

The Cons

You barely have any freedom to plan adjustments, which does not sit right with people who prefer going-with-the-flow types of traveling.

Nevertheless, several 5-star cruise companies do pay attention to these critical demands and strive to balance personal time and free time for you, paving the way for both organic experiences and snapshot moments. 

Read More: When is the best time to cruise Vietnam Halong Bay? Find Out Now!

FAQs about Cruise Halong Bay from Hanoi

How long does it take to visit Halong Bay from Hanoi?

Visiting Halong Bay takes about 2 to 4 hours of traveling; the exact number depends on the type of transportation you choose.

How much is the transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay?

230,000 VND to 9,000,000 VND, depending on whether you choose shuttle buses, private cars, or seaplanes.

How to go from Hanoi to Halong?

Trains, motorbikes, day/night cruise tours, private tours, private cars, traditional junk boat trips, and so on. Refer to the guidelines above for further information.

Is it worth staying on a cruise in Ha Long Bay?

Yes. Paradise Vietnam day/night cruise packages offer inclusive itineraries and excellent onboard amenities to cater to all preferences and activities, ensuring every moment in Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay is well-spent.

What dining options are available on these cruises? Are there opportunities to experience local cuisine?
Cruise ship restaurants offer a variety of dining options for tourists, including regional dishes like Eurasian cuisine, seafood, and local specialties from Halong and Vietnam. In particular, visitors can enjoy traditional Vietnamese dishes, and specialty seafood caught right on the bay.

Is there flexibility for passengers to personalize their experience?
It's exhilarating to have a tailored cruise tour experience. For instance, you can indulge in private activities or time spent relaxing on a cruise. Along with catering, you may also ask for a customized menu that is made to your specifications.

Are there specific cultural or historical insights that these cruises offer about the region?
Ha Long Bay cruises provide a glimpse into the area's one-of-a-kind culture and past. Tourists can discover local customs, see landmarks like Sung Sot Cave and Ti Top Island, and interact with native communities. Guides share captivating tales about the region's history, traditions, and festivals. Cultural events such as cooking lessons and traditional shows enhance the trip, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in Ha Long's unique cultural fabric.

Could you detail the types of accommodations available on these cruises? Are there options for different budgets or preferences?
The types of accommodations available on these cruises are very diverse. The entry-level rooms and rooms on the upper deck offer comfort and convenience, while those positioned at the back of the upper floor provide tranquility with stunning views. On the second deck at the front of the ship, guests enjoy panoramic vistas of the horizon, witnessing breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Each room type caters to varied preferences with diverse prices, ensuring a delightful stay amid different locations and scenic backdrops. 


Paradise Vietnam cruise Halong Bay from Hanoi promises to cover your traveling demands throughout the entire trip with dedicated staff, five-star services, and great balances between planned itineraries and your personal experience. Contact Paradise Vietnam to settle on the best Halong Bay day trip!

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