Most guests who visit Halong will spend either 1 or 2 night on a cruise or junk - this is without doubt the best way to enjoy the scenic landscape of the Bay. Each cruise tailor-makes their own itinerary but in general, you will get to see the major caves and most important grottos of the Bay. 2 day trip is rather cramped as you get only 1 day to spend on board and the rest of the time is spent on traveling back and forth from Hanoi. 3 day trip gives you a better opportunity to see more of the Bay and worth considering if you have time.
2 days 1 night tour
On the first day, your cruise will start at noon and as the cruise sets sail, lunch will be served.
In the afternoon, you may have a chance to stop at several famous sites, such as Luon Cave, Đầu Người Island (Human Head Island), Con Rùa Island (Turtle Island), and Cổng Trời Island (Heaven Gate Island). At one of the stopping points, tourists may also take part in exciting kayaking or swimming activity. However, there might be a small additional fee depending on the tour package you register for.
Coming back to the ship after a long day, tourists would be welcomed by more relaxing activities like massage, Jacuzzi (for luxury cruise), and a delicious dinner on board. Many cruises also organize cooking demonstration where you will learn to make Vietnamese food. Some cruises offer tourists outdoor BBQ party on the sundeck, which is a great way to spend time with friends and families. After that, you may choose to stay at the bar with lots of qualified wines, playing cards with friends, watching TV, or trying your luck with squid fishing.
When you wake up the next morning, your breakfast is ready to serve with an early morning Tai Chi class on the sundeck to get yourself into the flow of the nature. On the second day, you are scheduled to visit more famous tourist attraction, such as Titop Island or Sung Sot Grotto (Surprise Cave). The whole trip ends by a tour back to the harbor after that, so don’t forget to take some nice pictures of the bay on the way.
3 days 2 nights tour
Much similar to the previous itinerary, your cruise trip starts with a brief session about the itinerary and safety instructions on boat. The tour usually starts from 11:00am – 12:00am, so that you can have a tasty lunch while observing the stunning landscape of Halong Bay.
The cruise continues going around the bay until you reach a tourist spot, usually a famous beach or limestone cave such as Titop Island, Con Rùa Island (Turtle Island), or Cổng Trời Island (Heaven Gate Island), then anchors for the night there. You will get enough time to enjoy water sports and activities like snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking in the green water of the bay. Depending on your cruise, you might enjoy BBQ party on beach, sundeck, or in the on-board restaurant.
On the next day, the journey starts with Tai Chi class in the early morning and breakfast. You have the whole morning to visit other attractions of the bay, and most cruises will transfer you to a smaller day boat so that you can go down the more narrow path of the Bay. You can spend the rest of the day with your friends and family exploring the sea. A delicious dinner is ready anytime when you come back.
For the thirday, you will often get to see Surprise Cave after breakfast. Brunch will be served as the cruise slowly heads back to the harbour.