How many days in Halong Bay: Suggested itineraries with tips

In this post
Halong Bay stunning view

Many tourists struggle with deciding how many days to spend in Halong Bay, one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations.

In this article, we’ll look at 3 most popular Halong Bay itineraries: 1 day, 2 days, and 3 days, as well as their pros and cons.


In a nutshell
  • 1 day is perfect for people with limited time. It’s might be a bit exhausted since it’s take total 6 hours for a round trip to Halong Bay from Hanoi
  • 2 days is the most popular choice. With this option, you could spend 1 night on the boat and see Halong Bay at different times of the day.
  • 3 days give you a complete look about Halong Bay: It’s rural area & vibrant cultural life. However, it might be a bit pricey.


1 Day in Halong Bay


halong bay in 1 day
There’re so many things to do in 1 day on Halong Bay – Source: Internet

So we have good news for travelers with limited time. Halong Bay do available for a day trip and we could easily explore a large part of Halong in just 1 day.

  • Best if: You have a tight time budget
  • Don’t if: You don’t want to feel to hectic with total 5 – 6 hours of traveling by bus. 


Day tours to Halong Bay are perfect for those with limited time or a tight budget. With a day, you have 4 to 6 hours on board to see the several famous attractions of Halong Bay, such as Sung Sot Cave, Ti Top Island, and Luon Cave.

There are many activities you could do within only a day, such as kayaking, swimming, and visiting a pearl farm. These day trips also tend to be far less expensive than other itineraries, with prices ranging from 45USD to 85USD per person, including meals, transportation, entrance tickets, and activities.



One day at Halong Bay may not be an appealing choice for travelers who do not travel frequently. If you leave from Hanoi, it will take about 2.5 – 3 hours via the newest highway, that call for you to spend at least 6 hours on a shuttle round trip. 

The time spent on the bay is another factor that you should consider when visiting Halong Bay in a day. Keep in mind that you will only have 4 to 6 hours on boat before the night comes. Even though it covers a lot of places and activities, you may feel rushed at times.


Suggest Itinerary for 1 day in Halong Bay


If you decide to take a one-day trip to Halong Bay, take a look at the standard itinerary to help you make the most of your time here:

  • 8:30: Get picked up by the bus
  • 12:00 Arrive Tuan Chau Marina
  • 12:30 Having lunch on board
  • 14:00 Visiting Sung Sot Cave (Surprising Cave)
  • 15:00 Visiting Ti Top Island
  • 16:30 Come back to the cruise for Tea Party
  • 18:00 Back to the port, catching bus back to Hanoi.
  • 21:00 Arrive Hanoi. Tour end.


2 Days in Halong Bay


halong bay 2 days cruise
@Octopus Cruise

If time is not an issue, we strongly advise you to spend at least 1 night on the bay. 2 days is also the most popular option among travelers when it’s come to visit Halong Bay. 


A two-day trip to Halong Bay gives you the chance to see more of the bay’s attractions and activities. It could help you explore further places where a 1-day trip couldn’t go, such as Luon Cave, Tra Bau Area, or Lan Ha Bay.

Besides the fact that you’d cover more places in 2 days (of course!), this itinerary gives you more time to relax on the bay. You won’t have to travel right back to Hanoi after a long 3 hours on the bus. Traveling on a 2-day trip would also give you a chance to sleep overnight on a cruise, which would be a romantic and memorable experience.



It costs more than a day trip, with price ranges ranging from 100 USD to 200 USD depending on the cruise categories you’d take.


Suggested itinerary for a 2 days in Halong Bay


Here’s the standard itinerary of 2 days in Halong Bay:

Day 1:

  • 8:00 AM – Get picked up by the bus. Depart from Hanoi to Halong Bay
  • 12:00 PM – Arrive at Tuan Chau Marina. Boarding the cruise.
  • 12:30 PM – Lunch
  • 1:30 PM – Visit Sung Sot Cave
  • 3:00 PM – Kayak or swim in Titop Island and surroundings.
  • 5:00 PM – Return to the boat and enjoy sunset views
  • 7:00 PM – Dinner


Day 2:

  • 6:30 AM – Join a Tai Chi. Sunrise hunting.
  • 7:00 AM – Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM – Explore Luon Cave by kayaking.
  • 11:00 AM – Return to the boat and check out
  • 12:00 PM – Have lunch on the boat while cruising back to the pier. Get on the bus
  • 15::00 PM – Arrive in Hanoi. Tour end.
Through a blogger eyes: Mei from shared an amazing story about how she overcame her fear of the ocean and spent a good 1 night on a Halong Bay cruise. Check out her inspiring article here.


3 Days in Halong Bay


Cycling in Viet Hai Village
Spending 3 days in Halong will give you different looks of the area – Source: Internet
  • Best if: You want to spend more time relaxing in Halong, not only enjoying the beautiful of its nature but also getting to know more about the ways of life here. 
  • Don’t if: If you’re not preferring to spend too much on a cruise trip.


People who want to appreciate and explore Halong Bay more may find that a two-day vacation is insufficient. Then 3 days are added, making it easier than ever to visit rural and off-the-beaten-path Halong.

The activities during your 3 days trip may not be too different from others itinearies. For example, fishing and swimming are still common things to do. But it’s where you’re going to do it that will make the three days worthwhile.

 With 3 days, you’ll be transferred to a small day cruise and then visit the deepest part of Halong Bay, which has yet to be overrun by tourists. You’ll also be able to undertake some extra inland activities, such as cycling on Viet Hai Island, or stop by a fishing village and learn about local ways of life. 

That being said, 3 days in Halong Bay is a great amount of time to see Halong Bay. It will give you a different perspective on Halong Bay, not only its amazing natural beauty, but also the vibrant life of the community that lives surrounding it.


For 2 nights on the boat, the cost would range from 200usd up to 400usd per person. Though the rates included most of everything on board (meals, activities, rooms and tickets), it’s still quite pricey, especially for backpackers or tight budget travelers. 



Suggested itinerary for a 3 days in Halong Bay


If you decide to take a 3 trip to Halong Bay, here’s a sample itinerary to help you plan your trip:

Day 1:

  • 8:00 AM – Depart for Halong Bay
  • 12:00 PM – Boarding the boat at Tuan Chau Marina.
  • 12:30 PM – Lunch
  • 1:30 PM –  Visit Sung Sot Cave & TiTop Island.
  • 5:00 PM – Return to the boat and enjoy sunset party.
  • 7:00 PM – Dinner

Day 2:

  • 6:30 AM – Wake up
  • 7:00 AM – Enjoy breakfast
  • 9:00 AM – Transfer to a smaller boat to explore Viet Hai Village
  • 11:00 AM – Cycling in Cat Ba island
  • 12:00 PM – Lunch time with local.
  • 2:00 PM – Come back to the main cruise
  • 7:00 PM – Dinner time

Day 3:

  • 6:30 AM – Join a Tai Chi. Sunrise hunting.
  • 7:00 AM – Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM – Explore Luon Cave by kayaking.
  • 11:00 AM – Return to the boat and check out
  • 12:00 PM – Have lunch on the boat while cruising back to the pier. Get on the bus
  • 15::00 PM – Arrive in Hanoi. Tour end.




How many days you spend in Halong Bay varies on how you like to travel and what you want to do. 1 day is good for people who don’t have much time or money, while 2 days lets you see Halong Bay in different times. A 3 days trip is more immersive and gives you the chance to visit more remote areas and do cultural activities.

Hope that this article could help you make your decision on deciding how many days you should be in Halong Bay. If you have any others questions, do not hesitate to contact us!


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