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10 Steps to plan Hanoi to Halong Bay tour

10 Steps to plan Hanoi to Halong Bay tour

10 Steps to plan Hanoi to Halong Bay tour

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    Step 1: Researching about Halong Bay

    Before starting a trip to any places, researching is one of the important steps to get understanding the place you are going to travel. Therefore, you can search the keyword “Hanoi to Halong Bay tour” in the searching engine or read some articles about Halong Bay from famous travel bloggers. This will help you have general look about Halong Bay and gain experience to plan a Hanoi to Halong Bay tour.

    Read more: 10 Steps to plan Hanoi to Halong Bay tour

    Overview of Hanoi to Halong Bay tour: 

    Halong Bay is a complex of thousands of isles and limestone karsts in various shapes and sizes covering the area of 1,500 km2. It is the center of the large zones including  Cat Ba Island to the southwest and Bai Tu Long Bay to the northeast. Administratively, the bay belongs to Quang Ninh Province which is about 170 kilometers from Hanoi Capital. In 1994, Halong Bay is recognized as one of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its unique beauty. So far, Halong Bay has become one of the most tourist attractions of Vietnam with millions of tourists coming each year. Because of the advantage of distance and transportation, a lot of tourists also travel to Halong Bay after visiting Hanoi.

    Get more detailed at: Travel Guide in Halong Bay, Vietnam 2018.

    Besides, you should read some articles and books about Halong Bay to get inspiration and understand more about culture and local people in Halong Bay. 

    Step 2: Deciding the time you are going to start your Hanoi to Halong Bay tour

    Apart from researching, the time to travel is extremely essential because it will affect the activities you can do at Halong Bay and your budget. Of course, this depends heavily on your schedule but don’t worry! Halong Bay is a year-round touristic destination so traveling at the different time, you can enjoy the different charms of Halong Bay. 

    1. Spring - Enjoying the festive atmosphere (January to March)

    Spring is the rainy season of Halong Bay with continuously drizzling and misty sky. However, this weather is the best condition for the growth of flowers and trees so if you come to Halong Bay this season, you can see the colorful picture of nature. Also, from late January to early February is the Tet holiday - the biggest holiday of the year in Vietnam and March is the best time for traditional festivals in Halong Bay. Therefore, you can have a chance to take a look at Vietnamese culture as well as join in the interesting activities with local people.

    2. Summer - The peak season of domestic tourists (April to August)

    In the summer, the temperature in Halong is usually around 30oC, the daytime is longer and the sky is prettily clear which is suitable for most activities. This is the reason why in this period a lot of Vietnamese tourists come to Halong Bay, which creates the overloading and increase in the price of tourist services. Therefore, if you come to Halong Bay at this time, it is recommended to book tours and accommodations in advance to get good prices and avoid rush hours.

    3. Autumn - Enjoying the autumn’s romantic of Halong (September to October)

    If you are looking for a peaceful and romantic place for a couple tour or a honeymoon, Halong Bay in Autumn is a great choice. In the autumn, the weather in Halong Bay is so great with the temperature around 27oC and low rainfall which is really suitable to take a cruise on the bay. However, September is the typhoon month with some storms happening so remember to check the weather forecast before coming.

    4. Winter - Exploring the tranquil and silent charm of Halong (November to early January)

    In the winter, the weather in Halong Bay is drier and the temperature will drop very low from 8oC to 20oC. At this time, the number of tourists coming to Halong Bay will decrease dramatically so it is extremely suitable for those who prefer quietness and mystery. Also, you can save money if traveling to Halong Bay this season because the prices of the services will be lower the other periods.

    Now you have already decided the most appropriate time to start your Hanoi to Halong Bay tour, right? Let’s move on to the next step!

    Step 3: Deciding how long you are going to stay in Halong Bay

    Halong Bay is not a large area but extremely diverse with a lot of interesting places to explore from the mesmerizing limestone karsts and natural caves to fishing villages or beautiful beaches. Depending on your schedule, you can choose the length of your trip to Halong Bay. Here are some recommendations for you:

    1. Day tour - Reasonable choice for busy people

    If you have a business travel to Hanoi and want to combine your work with the short trip to Halong Bay, a day tour is definitely suitable for you. Of course, you can take the trip to Halong Bay by yourself but it is better to book a full-package Hanoi to Halong Bay tour. In this kind of tour, you can visit some famous destinations in Halong Bay with a tour guide who will help you explore more about the bay in a short time. More importantly, the tour agencies always have their own means of transportation from Hanoi to Halong Bay and vice versa, so you can come back Hanoi on time.

    2. 2 day-1 night tour - The popular choice in Halong Bay

    The favorite option of almost travelers when coming to Halong Bay is a 2 day-1 night cruise. With this tour, you can visit several famous destinations in Halong Bay, do some typical activities like going kayaking, diving, exploring fishing villages, tasting cuisines, etc and have an overnight onboard. 

    3. 3 day-2 night tour or longer - Exploring deeply Halong Bay

    If you are fond of exploring novel things, the longer time in Halong Bay will allow you to discover the hidden beauty of this bay. You can have a chance to reach further and remote areas which are less mentioned in the articles about Halong Bay. Also, you can join in other interesting activities such as visiting a pearl farm or squid fishing. Besides, you can consider the combo 2 day-1 night cruise and a night in a hotel in Halong City to enjoy the nightlife of the city.

    Step 4: Deciding the budget for your Hanoi to Halong Bay tour

    So, you have known the time you start your trip and how long you will stay. Now, let’ decide the budget for your trip. Are you a backpacker seeking for a saving-money trip? Or are you planning a luxury honeymoon with a romantic atmosphere in Halong Bay? Or maybe, do you just want to have a simple Hanoi to Halong Bay tour to relax after busy work? And so on. Don’t worry! Halong Bay tourism can adapt and provide you with customized services at all price levels.

    You can easily calculate your budget for the Hanoi to Halong tour by considering 3 elements. First of all, set the maximum budget you can spend on your trip. Secondly, research about the cost level in Halong Bay like accommodation price range, eating, and transportation cost, etc. Also, you can ask the experienced travelers in travel forums about the average cost of a typical Hanoi to Halong Bay tour. Finally, depending on your research and your expectation for your trip, you can know quite exactly the amount of money you will spend on your journey. 

    Step 5: Choosing the way to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay

    There are various means of transportation to go from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Depending on your requirements and budget, you can choose the suitable way to get to Halong Bay among the means of transportation below:

    1. Getting to Halong Bay from Hanoi by local coach

    Because of the convenience and cheap price, the local coach is the popular mean of transportation to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi, especially for backpackers. Traveling by coach will provide you with a closer look at the landscapes on the way and make your trip simpler. All you need to do is accessing to the booking website, fill in the departure and arrival destinations, all information about coach providers will come out, then you can choose your favorite one. The journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay will last about 5 hours and the price of a ticket is from VND 100,000 to VND 150,000 depending on the coach’s quality and size. 

    However, the coach is not an ideal transport to get to Halong Bay, it also has some drawbacks. The coach mainly serves the local people so almost the salesman and drivers cannot speak English. Also, it is not suitable for a day trip because you have to depart and leave the bay early. This will put you in a hurry and be out of energy for traveling.

    2. Getting to Halong Bay from Hanoi by shuttle bus

    A shuttle bus is a kind of small high-quality bus which is used mostly by foreigners. It usually runs straight to Halong Bay without stopping in the middle of the way to catch more passengers so it just takes 3-3.5 hours to get to Halong Bay. Also, the shuttle bus includes some advanced services such as wifi, water on the bus and the staff can speak English fluently. As the result, the price will be higher from VND 200,000 to VND 250,000 for a one-way ticket/person. You can easily take a shuttle bus at the Old Quarter of Hanoi but you should book the ticket in advance at the website from 07:30 am to 08:30 am. 

    3. Getting to Halong Bay from Hanoi by private car

    If you want to take initiative in time, a private car is a great choice for you. It is appropriate for flexible travelers who dislike following any fixed schedules and those who travel with a small group. You can choose the private car with a driver if you are not a good map reader with the average price from VND 1,800,000 to VND 2,500,000. Otherwise, you can rent a car to drive by yourself with the price from $30 to 65$ depending on brand and size of the car. You can check out at Hanoi transfer service or Golden Holiday Travel to get more detailed about private cars and rent one. 

    4. Getting to Halong Bay from Hanoi by train

    If you are looking for a traditional and vintage transport, the train is an ideal choice to bring you back to the old days. You can leave the rushing life behind to enjoy the sound of the train and see the beautiful sceneries through the windows. There is a train departing each day at 05:00 a.m from Hanoi and it will get to Halong Bay at 11:00 a.m. The price is from VND 100,000 to VND 250,000 depending on the kind of seat. The drawback of the train is that it only takes you to Halong Station and you have to get to the harbor by yourself.  

    5. Getting to Halong Bay from Hanoi by helicopter

    Helicopters are not a familiar means of transportation but it is the fastest way to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi. The journey by helicopter will last about 45 minutes including 8 minutes sightseeing from the height of 120-150 meters. For those who love the adventurous and thrilling experience, you should not miss this kind of transport. Also, some helicopter rides have cooperated with the tour agency in Halong Bay to offer you the full-package Hanoi to Halong Bay tour with an interesting experience. However, the price of a helicopter ticket is quite expensive at VND 18,000,000/person for the round trip. A helicopter has 12 seats and just flies with at least 6 people so it is not always available due to the lack of the number of passengers.

    6. Getting to Halong Bay from Hanoi by seaplane

    If you want to enjoy the incredible view of Halong Bay from the sky with the reasonable price, you can choose seaplanes. The journey will last 60 minutes including 15 minutes of sightseeing that means you can have more time to enjoy the beauty of Halong and a close-up view from above. Interestingly, the seaplanes will you a surprise with its cool landing to or taking off from the water. The seaplane can make your Hanoi to Halong Bay tour become more memorable. The flight will depart from Noi Bai Airport – Hanoi and arrive at Tuan Chau Harbor with at least 3 passengers. The price is about VND 8,000,000 for a round trip. Also, you can pay more VND 2,300,000 to have a scenic flight around Halong Bay. You can book easily the tickets at the website

    Step 6: Choosing kinds of accommodations in Halong Bay

    There are a lot of options for you to choose a suitable accommodation in Halong. Here are some popular kinds of accommodation in Halong Bay:

    1. Boat cruises - Enjoying the stunning sights of Halong Bay

    Boat cruises are the fanciest accommodation in Halong Bay that many travelers choose to overnight. This is simply because the cruise is not just a place to sleep, but it also offers you a cool way to explore the natural beauty of Halong Bay by cruising around the islands, isles and majestic caves. Also, you can have a wonderful experience to have a night onboard under the sky full of stars, listen the sound of winds and waves, breathe the fresh air and receive first rays of the sun announcing a new day. 

    There are two types of cruises in Halong Bay: luxury and normal cruises. The luxury cruises have the price from VND 6,000,000 to VND 30,000,000 per night including 3 main meals. You can choose between the outstanding brands such as Emperor Cruises Halong, Azalea Cruise, Aphrodite Cruise, L’Azalee Cruise Halong, Pelican Halong cruise, etc. Meanwhiles, the normal cruise have the less expensive price from VND 1,200,000 to 4,500,000 per night, for example, Dragon Legend, Phoenix Cruise, Glory Legend Cruise, Rosa Cruise, etc.

    2. Resorts - Experiencing the first-class stay in Halong Bay 

    Today, with the development of tourism, numerous resorts have been built in Halong Bay. It is also a  great choice to experience the most convenient facilities with professional services. Most resorts in Halong Bay are close to the beach, so you can easily enjoy the water activities as well as discover the Halong City. Some famous resorts in Halong Bay are Vinpearl Halong Bay, La Paz Resort, Royal Lotus Halong Bay Resort and Villas, Tuan Chau International Resort, etc.

    3. Hotels and homestays - The reasonable choice for a budget trip

    To save money, a lot of travelers stay at hotels and homestays when coming to Halong Bay. In addition, you can come closer to local people and explore their daily lifestyle as well as the interesting culture of Halong City. Moreover, many hotels and homestays in Halong City have the unique and diverse architecture that is really suitable for those loving the novel experience. There are some hotels and homestays having the good review in Halong City such as Halong Happy Hostel, Halong Ginger Homestay, Ruby Halong Homestay, Halong Seoul Hotel, etc.

    Note: If you stay in Halong Bay for 2 days and 1 night, the cruises are highly-recommended to enjoy entirely the majestic beauty of Halong Bay. However, if you stay longer, you can consider mixing between cruises and other kinds of accommodation to explore both the bay and the culture as well as the delicious cuisine in Halong City.

    Step 7: Choosing places you are going to visit in Halong Bay

    Halong Bay is complex of thousands of isles and limestone karsts lying on the sea. It is not a huge area but there are countless things waiting for you to explore. The longer time you stay, the more chance you have to discover the hidden beauty of Halong Bay. Below is the list of destinations you definitely visit when coming to Halong Bay:

    1. Dau Go Cave - The biggest grotto in Halong Bay 

    Dau Go Cave is located in Cau Go Island. Coming to Dau Go Cave, you will be overwhelmed by the beauty of stalagmites and stalactites resembling stony waterfalls changing their color upon the intensity and angle of the light. This is one of the most majestic caves of Halong.  

    2. Thien Cung Cave - A nature's gift in Halong Bay

    Thien Cung Cave is located in the north of Dau Go Cave. It is famous for the magic and magnificent system of stalactites which make the cave look like a heavenly palace (meaning Thien Cung in Vietnamese). 

    3. Sung Sot Cave - An amazing grotto in Halong Bay

    Sung Sot Cave is one of the finest and widest caves of Ha Long Bay located on Bo Hon Island. It is well-known for abundant shaped fossils stalactites which can make you surprised because of its beauty. Maybe, this is one of the reasons why this cave is named “Sung Sot” (meaning surprise).

    4. Ti Top Island - The luminous pearl of Halong Bay

    Ti Top Island is a famous tourist attraction in Halong Bay with its quiet and airy atmosphere as well as its natural landscapes. The Ti Top Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Halong which has pristine white sand, clear water, and gentle waves. This is an ideal place for swimming and other sea sports. Also, from above, the beach has the shape of the full moon, you can climb to the Ti Top’s mountain to see this.

    5. Mat Rong Island - A newly-discovered wild beauty

    The reason why this island is named “Mat Rong” is that this island has the shape of a dragon’s eye (meaning “Mat Rong” in Vietnamese). While most of the islands in Halong Bay are exploited for tourism purposes, Mat Rong Island can remain the wild beauty with the fantastic scenery and the crystal clear cool water. This is the ideal place for those loving adventure.

    Apart from the destinations mentioned, you can research about some typical activities in Halong Bay like going kayaks, cruising, visiting fishing villages and so on to add them to your plan. If you decide to stay over 2 days in Halong Bay, you should consider visiting Bai Tu Long Bay and Cat Ba Island.

    Step 8: Considering whether booking a tour or traveling on your own is better.

    There no exact answer for this question it is depended on your condition and requirements. For example, if you want to take a day trip to Halong Bay, it is better to book a Hanoi to Halong Bay tour because you do not have to worry about transportation, where to go and especially, you have a tour guide to help you explore Halong Bay. For 2 day-1 night trip, the overnight cruise tour in Halong Bay is the most suitable choice to enjoy entirely the beauty of the bay. Also, most cruises tours will provide you with transportation from Hanoi to Halong Bay which is so convenient. In addition, if you travel with a big group of friends and families over 10 people, booking a tour is highly recommended. 

    Of course, traveling by yourself is also a fancy experience to enjoy the beauty of Halong Bay in your own way. And it is chosen by a lot of young people when coming to Halong Bay. 

    Step 9: Booking at the right place

    After deciding a booking tour or traveling on your own, the next step is, of course, booking! 

    If you want to book a Hanoi to Halong Bay tour for your holiday, make sure you research carefully to choose a prestigious tour agency. Then you should tell them all your special needs, kind of accommodation or transportation you prefer and the destinations you want to visit. 

    If you travel on your own, remember to book your transportation, accommodation in advance, especially, in the peak season of tourism, you should book about 2 weeks before your arrival. Also, you always need to check what is included in your booking and book at the official channels to avoid the fraud.

    Step 10: Checking the weather forecast before traveling

    When all steps above are done, the only thing you should do is preparing luggage to be ready for your Hanoi to Halong Bay tour. However, remember to check the weather forecast to bring the right clothes. Maybe, in the worst case of having a storm in Halong Bay, you should cancel your trip for your safety. Therefore, checking the weather forecast is extremely essential. 

    That is 10 steps to plan a Hanoi to Halong Bay tour. It is quite simple to follow, right? After completing all the steps above, are you ready to explore Halong Bay? We hope that you say “yes” or at least your Hanoi to Halong Bay tour can become easier after reading this article. Have a nice trip!

    30 Jan 2020
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