Halong Bay 3 Day Itinerary For First-Timers
There’s so much to see and do in Halong Bay. To make your trip a bit easier, we’ve compiled three different 3-day itineraries for a trip to Halong Bay.
Itinerary 1: (Sunworld, Day Cruise, Museum)
Enjoy a fun day at the Sun World amusement park. Go for a two day cruise and visit the museum in Halong Bay.
- 1 day Halong Bay cruise. Enjoy all the beauty and splendor the Bay has to offer.
- Visit Sun World, a world class amusement park consisting of two main areas: the coastal amusement complex and the top rated amusement park at Ba Deo all connected by a world famous cable car.
- Pay a visit to the Halong Museum where numerous artifacts spread out over three floors can be admired.
Note that the 3rd day can be replaced with an extra day on a cruise.
Day 1 - Hanoi to Halong and Sun World
- 06:00: Tour bus we’ll pick you up at a previously agreed upon meeting point. Have a brief stopover at Sao Do town before continuing the journey to Halong Bay
- 12:00: Arrive in Halong Bay and enjoy a wonderful seafood banquet for lunch.
- 13:00: Check into the hotel, have a rest and freshen up.
- 14:00: Visit Sun World Park in Halong Park. The park is divided into two sections: Bay Chay beach side and the Ba Deo area. These two areas are connected by a world class cable car. With almost 190 meters high it’s the tallest cable car in the world. It also holds the record for the cable car who can carry the most passengers, a whopping 230 people at once.
- Bai Chay beach side: Here we can find Dragon Park, the only park in Vietnam that has more than 30 different attractions.
- Ba Deo Area: Go from the Ocean Station to Sun Station by the Queen's Cable Car. Going all the way to the top of the peak, this is the only way to get there. Take in the scenery and enjoy the park in all its splendor.
- 19:00: Have dinner around Bai Chay beach. Spend the night in Halong.
Day 2 - Halong Bay day cruise
- 06:00 Get up early to catch the sunrise and have breakfast at the hotel.
- 07:45: Get ready for a 1-day Halong Bay cruise.
- 08:00: Cruise commences. The boat stops at Thien Cung Cave, which translates to "Palace of Heaven", and Dau Go cave. Then the cruise will meander between the thousands of towering karst islands visitors leaving you humbled by the bay’s majesty. Other stops are: Dragon Rock Island, Ga Choi islet and Con Coc Islet.
- 12:00: Have lunch at the restaurant and take a rest.
- 16:00: Take a car to Bai Chay beach to enjoy swimming, water activities or simply get a tan and relax.
- 19:00: Enjoy dinner at a restaurant and spend the night in the hotel.
Day 3 - Museum and back to Hanoi
- 08:00: Have breakfast at the hotel and then head over to the Quang Ninh Museum. Completed in 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Quang Ninh province, the museum holds numerous artifacts spread out over 3 floors. After the museum pay a visit to the Halong market to buy some souvenirs.
- 12:00: After checking out of the hotel, have lunch and enjoy some free time before returning to Hanoi. Check out of the hotel. 14:30: Leave for Hanoi. Along the way have a stopover at Hai Duong.
- 18:30: Arrival in Hanoi. Relax and think back of a great trip.
Recommended hotels In Hanoi: Hanoi Marvellous Hotel & Spa. Address: 55 Đường Thành, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội. Phone: 024 3266 9240. Room price: 1,200,000/night. Rating: 4.7/5.
Itinerary 2: (3 Day Cruise in Halong Bay)
"Itinerary 2" will be a full 3 day cruise in Halong Bay. We’ll be in a different direction when we leave the harbor and go to Bai Tu Long Bay. With this itinerary you really have the time to fully explore the bay and mix excitement and relaxation.
- Go to Halong Bay and embark on a cruise through the tranquil Bai Tu Long Bay. Do some kayaking and swimming.
- Visit the Vung Vieng Fishing Village and Thien Canh Son cave.
- Time to head back to Halong Bay. Visit Yen Duc village and enjoy a traditional water puppet show.
Day 1: Hanoi - Halong bay
- 07:30: Pick up at hotel or at a beforehand agreed upon meeting point.
- 12:30: Arrive at the Halong Bay cruise terminal.
- 13:00: Get on board and enjoy a refreshing welcome beverage.
- 13:30: Have lunch outside on the boat while taking in the sights and pristine scenery of Bai Tu Long Bay.
- 15:30: Around this time you’ll have time to do some kayaking between the majestic islands that shape the bay. Make your way to a beach and go for a swim or just simply relax.
- 17:30: Back on the boat there’s time to freshen up, rest a little or enjoy some cold drinks and take in the sights.
- 19:00: Dinner on board. Don’t miss out on the ‘drunken shrimp’. This is a special regional dish where they steam the shrimp in the vapors of locally made vodka, delicious.
- 20:30: As night falls it’ll be possible to do some squid fishing our simply just spend time with your loved ones.
On clear nights it’s highly recommended to go to the top deck and watch the stars.
Day 2: Cruise Bai Tu Long Bay
- 07:00: Start the day with some exercise. You can do Tai Chi on the upper deck and greet the new day all relaxed.
- 08:00: Eat breakfast outside while the boat sets sails for Vung Vieng Fishing Village.
- 9:30: Pay a visit to the Vung Vieng fishing village in a traditional rowboat.
- 11:30: After the fishing village it’s time to go to the Thien Canh Son cave.
- 12:30: A BBQ lunch will be served on the beach.
- 15:00: Head back to the boat and make our way to Hai Quan where there’s again a chance to explore the bay in a kayak.
- 19:00: After a long day it’s time for dinner.
- 20:30: If you didn’t feel like fishing the first night maybe this night is your night.
Enjoy some quality time with old friends and/or new acquaintances.
Day 3: Visit Yen Duc Village and back to Hanoi.
- 07:00: Greet the sunshine with a cup of coffee or tea and have a lovely breakfast on the boat.
- 9:30: Time to head back to the harbor. Take in the majestic sights on the way back.
- 10:30: Before we disembark a buffet will be served.
- 11:30: Time to get off the boat and go the traditional agricultural Yen Duc village. Learn here about local customs and traditions
- 13:30: A water puppet show will be performed by local artists.
- 14:30: Time to head back to Hanoi
- 18:00: Savor all the good memories you have of the past three days as you get dropped off in Hanoi.
Recommended cruises: We mostly visit Bai Tu Long in this itinerary, therefore, we recommend Indochina Junk and Swan cruise for this 3-day cruise as they are among the best cruise operators in Bai Tu Long Bay.
Itinerary 3: (Lan Ha Bay + Cat Ba Island)
This 3 day itinerary will start us off in Halong Bay and take us to the wonderful Cat Ba island.
- Leave Hanoi early in the morning and be on a cruise in Halong Bay later that day.
- The cruise will be two days and on the second day you will be dropped off on Cat Ba island in the afternoon.
- On the last day there will be an opportunity to visit Cat Ba National Park before taking a speedboat to Haiphong to slowly make our way back to Hanoi.
Day 1 - Hanoi to Halong Bay
- 08:00: Leave Hanoi at 8 a.m. for a four hour bus drive to Halong Bay.
- 12:00: Arrive in Halong Bay. Eat lunch and relax after a long bus ride.
- 13:00: Cruise leaves the harbor. Enjoy the magnificent landscape of Halong Bay. Along the way we’ll have a chance to do some kayaking and swimming. Make a stop at Song Sot cave to see one of the biggest cave systems in Halong Bay. After the visit to the cave there will be a chance to relax on a beach.
18:00: Freshen up and rest to get ready for dinner.
19:00: Enjoy a delicious banquet of all kinds of different dishes on the boat.
20:00: Take in the beauty, peace and tranquility Halong Bay at night has to offer. Spend the night on the boat.
Day 2 - Halong Bay to Cat Ba Island
- 08:00: Wake up and have breakfast on the boat. Have a cup of coffee or tea on the deck and get ready for another day in paradise. The boat will set sail for Cat Ba island.
- 09:00: Sit back and enjoy as the boat will take you through Halong Bay into Lan Ha Bay.
- 12:00: Have lunch on the boat.
- 14:00: Arrive at Cat Ba island where a bus will take you to the hotel. Freshen up and relax once you arrive.
- 15:00: Go to the beach. Enjoy some water activities or simply work on your tan.
- 17:00: Back to the hotel to get ready for the evening.
- 18:00: Head over the Cannon Fort north of Cat Ba town to catch the sunset
- 19:30: Dinner time. Enjoy some of the local freshly caught seafood available on Cat Ba island.
Day 3 - Cat Ba National Park/speedboat to Haiphong/back to Hanoi
- 08:00: Big day ahead. On the third day we visit Cat Ba National Park so make sure to eat a big healthy breakfast.
- 09:00: Get on the bus and head over to the national park.
- 10:00: Explore the beauty that Cat Ba has to offer. Besides the flora and fauna, we can also find a cave that used to serve as a military hospital during the war.
- 14:00: Head back to Cat Ba town.
- 15:00: Take a speedboat back to Vietnam’s biggest seaport: Hai Phong. The trip should take about an hour.
- 16:30: After having safely arrived in Haiphong, it’s time to board the bus and head back to Hanoi. Travel time should be around two hours.
- 19:30: Back in Hanoi. Time to look at all those nice photos you took and think back of all the beautiful things you’ve seen.
- Always bring your passport as you need to be registered with the local authorities.
- There’s limited space on the boat, do not pack too heavy.
- Bring swimwear as there will be an opportunity to go swimming.
- No matter the time of year, always bring sunscreen and mosquito repellent.