Organized tour to take a Halong Bay cruises

You’ll want to spend at least a few hours on the boat cruising the bay if you are just going for the day. Also factor in that it will take almost 4 hours to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay and another 4 hours to return to Hanoi, so it may feel a bit disappointing to spend more time in the shuttle van than on a boat. If it is within your budget, I would strongly recommend choosing an overnight cruise as things become much quieter and less crowded in the evenings and it is nice to have more time to move around the boat and engage in more activities. We also greatly enjoyed being able to witness both sunset and sunrise from the boat. Let’s put it this way, those who just do a day trip often wish they had spent at least one night and those who spend one night, often wish they could have spent two, etc. You’re unlikely to regret spending an extra day or night here, so I would choose the tour that best fits your budget and schedule. Note that it is often a good value to do a 3 day/2 night trip compared to a 2 day/1 night trip as even though it costs a bit more, the cost per day is often less. Also pay attention to the amount of time spent on the cruise as a 2 day/1 night cruise itinerary may only account for 24 hours or less of time

Tours operate all year long, but the best months are generally considered between October and May, with October, November, March, and April considered ideal. The summer months can be hot and rainy and winter months can be cold with strong winds. It is also good to avoid major holidays such as Tet. During any visit, it is best to check the weather forecast before scheduling and ask about the company’s weather cancellation policy (will cost be refunded? will you be rescheduled for the next available tour?) before booking a tour.

This is a matter of preference of course, but the factors that were most important to us were length of the cruise, itinerary, cost, and activities included/available, number of passengers, quality of food, and commitment to responsible travel, safety record, and quality of overnight accommodations. We also had a preference to book directly with a cruise company rather than booking through a third-party travel agency and we wanted a cruise where we stayed on the same boat the entire trip (no boat transfers). At a minimum, find out specifically what all is covered in the cruise price (meals, activities, gear, cave tours, park fees), and if there are any additional costs that you will need to pay (e.g., optional activities, drinks, cave entrance fees. kayak rentals). If you are staying overnight as part of your cruise, you might also want to ask about whether the boat also accepts day trippers which might indicate the boat may be crowded during the day. During overnight cruises, you’ll either sleep overnight on the boat or the company will arrange accommodations elsewhere such as at a hotel on Cat Ba Island.

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