You simply can’t visit Vietnam without casting your eyes over UNESCO World Heritage listed Halong Bay. Encompassing some 579 square miles, this huge bay is scattered with over 3,000 limestone islets and cliffs that jut dramatically from the indigo waters. Almost all the islands are uninhabited and several boast beautiful grottos and caves while the waters are host to coral reefs, freshwater swamp forests, mangroves, small lakes and sandy beaches.
By far the best way to see and appreciate the bay’s sheer splendour is to cruise around the islands aboard a junk boat or boutique ship. A cruise also allows you to visit one or more of the floating villages, usually by smaller bamboo rowing boat, for a glimpse of traditional Vietnamese life. These true water worlds that rise and fall with the tides are often home to many generations, with fishing the main source of income.
The bay offers countless places to swim, fish, kayak and snorkel, while popular Cat Ba Island offers trekking and cycling as well as wildlife to spot.
Equally impressive, Lan Ha Bay is further from Halong City, so has a more isolated appeal. As well as 300 or so karst islands, Lan Ha also has several white sand beaches.
A selection of our favourite journeys and vessels are shown, however alternatives are available. All cruise itineraries, excursions and schedules are subject to change due to weather, tide levels and operating conditions.
GMT +7 hours
Hanoi is the nearest large city to Halong Bay and the road journey takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes, or it's a 2 hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City.
There are two main seasons, hot with sporadic rain from April to October and cooler from November to March. While the best time to visit is April to October, as you swim off the boat and relax on sundecks, even during the cooler months Halong Bay is still exceptionally scenic.
A visa may be required. Please ask for details.Find out more