10 Best Halong Bay Tours for Backpackers

December 14, 2023 - 3296 views

While many luxury services are offered in Halong Bay, there seem to be few options for those on budget. In this topic, we will show you the 10 best Halong Bay tours for backpackers.

Halong Bay, as you know, is one of the World Heritages, which for years has been the most recommended destination in Viet Nam, due to its stunning scene and diverse ecosystem blessed by amazing nature. Therefore, here develops a wide range of tourism services among which luxury ones have become popular, thus making the World Heritage seem to be a destination for the rich. However, those who are budget backpackers could also enjoy their vacation on the best budget Halong Bay tour.


Is Halong Bay Tour for Backpackers Worth It?

"Enough" will be the word I use to talk about the best budget Halong Bay tour. No more, no less, just enough.

Halong Bay Budget Cruise for Backpackers

A Halong Bay Tour for Backpackers

Price range

As we call it, this kind of Halong Bay tour is considered a cheap service, which is enough to fit within the budget. The price of it is relatively low when compared to the higher classes, about three times less. While a luxury tour can cost you up to US$300 per person to enjoy your vacation, a cheap one would only take you around US$100 to do it in Halong Bay on a budget.

To decide your budget, let's see 3 Easy Steps to Choose The Best Halong Bay Cruises


Tour services

Of course, the price tells what you can expect. Obviously, a cheap tour couldn't provide you with a lavish lifestyle onboard or luxury services such as spa treatment, on-cruise swimming pool, etc. but can be enough to meet your main demands. If you are longing for a trip that is money-saving and full of experience, a budget Halong Bay tour would never let you down.

During the trip, you can take part in a lot of activities which are typical when visiting the bay such as swimming, kayaking, sightseeing, snorkeling, etc. along with enjoying the stunning scenery. All of these activities are usually included in the tour cost so no more cash will be needed. How convenient!

In addition, the tour cost also includes meals. In spite of not being cooked by the world-famous chef, dishes on the best budget Halong Bay cruise are delicious and distinctive enough for the passengers to experience the local's cuisine.


What to Expect on The Best Halong Bay Tour for Backpackers?

Each tour features its own itinerary, and each itinerary offers a different service, so it could be hard to know whether you like a tour or not, which completely depends on your preference and expectation. However, the following typical itinerary is likely to give you a brief description of what to expect.

On the morning of the due date, you will get picked up at your hotel in the Old Quarter of Ha Noi to arrive in Halong Bay. After reaching the bay, with all the check-in processes done, you can go aboard and have your cabin checked. At midday, lunch would be served to you while the cruise sets sail to the bay. Then, the trip begins.

On the first day of a budget Halong Bay tour, you could experience more about the bay's breathtaking beauty with thousands of karst islands and placid blue water as the tour cruises into the World Heritage's core, including Sung Sot Cave, Luon Cave, Trong & Mai Islets, Tuan Chau Island and many other spots. Here, it would be nice to sit on the cruise, admire the scenery, and take some pictures. Afterward, enjoy the appetizing dinner on the cruise.

Explore Sung Sot Cave - What to expcect on the best Halong Bay tour for backpackers

Explore the surprising Sung Sot Cave 

Dinner on Halong Bay budget cruise

Enjoy the dinner while admiring the sunset

A new day of the trip arrives and exercising Tai Chi on board would be an interesting experience followed by other must-do activities when the cruise reaches its landing spot. Here, a variety of fascinating activities await. For the whole day, you could go sightseeing, row a kayak, swim or snorkel to see the coral reef, go fishing or squid fishing, etc. These activities would make your vacation a more enjoyable one. Besides, there are also on-cruise classes held to bring you the true experience of indigenous culture by teaching you how to make Vietnamese foods.

snorkel in Halong Bay budget tour

Snorkel in Halong Bay

The longer you stay, the more experience you will have. If the tour lasts for 2 or 3 days, the Halong Bay cruise will take you to the surrounding neighborhood, which includes Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, etc. There, more activities will occur for you to totally enjoy your vacation in the World Heritage area. Especially, an overnight Halong Bay cruise will allow you to admire the scenery at night, another beauty of the bay totally different from that during the daytime.

After the trip, you will be taken back to land and dropped in some halfway point souvenir shops to buy things for your family and friends. The tour then ends when the company's limousine gets you back to your hotel in Ha Noi city.


10 Best Halong Bay Tours for Backpackers

Halong Bay tours for backpackers are now available. From your own place, you can easily book the best budget Halong Bay tour that perfectly meets your demands to thoroughly enjoy your vacation.

10 best halong Bay tours for backpackers

An Overview of 10 best Halong Bay cruise for backpackers


Day tours

For those backpackers who don't have much time, a day tour could the best idea. In addition, there are many luxury day cruises at a reasonable price for you to choose from.

Jade Sails Day Cruise – US $99 pp

Built-in 2018, Jade Sails is a luxury metal junk boat that offers a one-day tour to the bay. With an elite and unique design, the cruise promises to make your getaway trip the most relaxing and enjoyable. During the 7-hour trip, you will be provided with a luxury open space and modern comforts, which include 2 restaurants, a lounge bar, and café, sundeck, swimming bar, spa, gym, allow tourists to fully enjoy the 5-star standard in a short time. Also, the professional staff plus delicious foods would bring you the best experience.

Jade Sails Day Cruise

Jade Sails Day Cruise Halong Bay 

Estella Premium Day Cruise – US $79 pp

Along with Jade Sail, Estella Premium is among the cheapest Halong Bay tours for backpackers. The cruise itself is a perfect combination of nostalgic charm and an array of contemporary amenities creating a cozy and luxurious space for all the passengers. During a one-day itinerary through Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay, you will experience the highest safety standard plus a totally interesting program such as rowing a bamboo boat, kayaking, and swimming, and 5-star services including an in-house restaurant, sun terrace, seating area, and bathroom system for your most convenience. If you are longing for a luxury day cruise, Estella Premium can be the best Halong Bay cruise for backpackers.

Estella Premium Day Cruise - Halong Bay tour for backpackers

Sundeck on Estella Premium Day Cruise


Overnight tours

In addition to a one-day cruise tour, a much better option to enjoy your trip to the bay is traveling on an overnight cruise.

Pelican Cruise – US $182 pp

Built-in 2012, Pelican cruise is a sophisticated combination of Vietnamese traditional style and French architecture constituted by upholstered steel shell wooden. The cruise itself features 22 cabins with private balconies and modern safety devices which ensure the safety for the passenger during their vacation here. Pelican Cruise offers both 2-day/ 1-night and 3-day/ 2-night itineraries around Halong Bay on a budget with a variety of beautiful spots such as the amazing Sung Sot Cave, the unique Luon Cave, etc where you can take a short break from the stressful urban life and engross yourself in the peaceful atmosphere of the scenery. Among the best Halong Bay tours for backpackers, the Pelican cruise tour is a highly recommended one.

Pelican Cruise - Halong Bay Tour for Backpackers

A cabin on Pelican Cruise 

Glory Legend Cruise – US $179 pp

As the brother of Pelican Cruise, Glory Legend also ensures an enjoyable plus highly safety tour for the passengers. Featuring 22 cabins with private balconies, the cruise creates cozy and comfortable amenities so that tourists can see the bay's beauty in the best way. During 2 or 3-day itinerary (same as Pelican Cruise), you can be offered various leisure activities like kayaking, swimming, participating in the Tai Chi session, joining the Vietnamese Cooking class, etc, which will bring you the best experience in the bay. If a trip full of fun and happiness is your preference, the Glory Legend cruise will be worth considering. 

Glory Legend Cruise

Glory Legend Cruise

If you plan to visit the surrounding area, cruise tours in Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Island, or Bai Tu Long Bay will be an option to take into account.


Tours in Lan Ha Bay

Calypso Cruise – US $190 pp

Calypso Cruise is a steel boat with sturdy double bottoms, which was launched in 2018. The cruise itself features the design inspired by the classic Indochina style with the main color of white that would make the tourists feel secure when they are on board. Calypso possesses a total of 20 cabins that are well-equipped with modern amenities and large windows with stunning views of the bay. During the 2 or 3-day through Lan Ha Bay, Halong Bay, you can experience the quality of a carefully researched itinerary and friendly staff, which would make your vacation an unforgettable one. Also, it would be great to go with your friends.

Calypso Cruise - Halong Bay tour for backpackers

Calypso Cruise Lan Ha Bay

Aclass Stellar Cruise – US $169 pp

Aclass Stellar Cruise is a 4-star wooden boat built-in 2011. It was designed according to the traditional oriental style with brown wooden facilities creating a cozy atmosphere for all passengers. The cruise has 21 elegant cabins, each of which features a large window allowing tourists to have a panoramic view of the bay. In addition, there are also modern facilities such as a large terrace, a library, air-conditioners, etc, which would maximize your experience onboard. Aclass offers a 2 or 3-day itinerary with a wide range of activities including kayaking, fishing, or snorkeling, along with 24-hour service.

Aclass Stellar Cruise - Halong Bay tour for backpackers

Sundeck on Aclass Stellar Cruise


Tours in Bai Tu Long Bay

Paloma Cruise – US $180 pp

Paloma Cruise is a 4-star cruise built-in 2011 with an aim to bring every customer love, peace, and happiness. The Cruise features 18 cabins fully equipped with standard amenities, and large windows, which provide tourists with the most relaxing vacation. Especially, the cruise applied new shipbuilding technology that would ensure your safety on board. With all the features and a well-researched itinerary plus professional staff, Paloma Cruise can be the one that perfectly fits the bill as the best Halong Bay tour for backpackers.

Paloma Cruise - Halong Bay tour for backpackers

A cabin on the Paloma cruise

Swan Cruise – US $181 pp

Swan Cruise is a 3-star wooden boat attached to the elegance and luxury of the swan image. Generally, each cruise includes five twins, one triple, and two family connecting door cabins, all of which were designed with a rich wooden décor, with large windows helping the tourist catch sight of interesting things of the bay from inside. Besides, the cruise also focuses on setting up many other modern facilities such as a comfortable and romantic dining room, etc. While visiting Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay, you can enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the cruise plus high-standard services. 

Swan cruise - Halong Bay budget Cruise

Swan Cruise


Tours in Cat Ba Island

Sena Cruise – US $214 pp

Sena cruise is a traditional and cozy boutique cruise, which was newly launched in 2019. With the unique design inspired by the image of a Vietnamese traditional boat and mixed with French boutique design, the cruise promises to bring you the best experience in a 2 or 3-day trip to the bay and the island. There is a total of 18 cabins on the cruise, each cabin features a private balcony and an elegant, spacious atmosphere. Here, you can enjoy the highest safety standard, carefully researched itineraries, authentic décor, and delicious food, which would make your vacation more enjoyable.

Sena Cruise - Halong Bay budget cruise

Sena cruise on Cat Ba Island 

Peony Cruise – US $214 pp

The last of the 10 best Halong Bay tours for backpackers is the Peony Cruise tour. As a 4-star cruise, Peony wants to bring the royal experience to every customer. Therefore, the cruise 12 deluxe cabins, 2 family deluxe cabins, 6 premium deluxe cabins, 2 family premium deluxe cabins, and 2 Peony exclusive suite cabins, all of which are equipped with private balconies so that a wide view of the bay can be seen from inside. In addition, there are also many other modern facilities on board. During the trip, you could as well take part in various activities of interest such as kayaking, swimming, and fishing, etc.

Peony Cruise - Halong Bay budget cruise tour

Peony Cruise


Money-saving Tips to Visit Halong Bay on A Budget

  • As some Halong Bay cruise tours’ cost doesn't include the limousine transfer fee from the Old Quarter, Ha Noi to Hai Phong province, you could save a sum of money when choosing to travel by tourist buses or buses instead.
  • Usually, souvenirs sold in shops along the Halong Bay area can cost you much (sometimes ridiculously expensive) so think twice before buying any things, or instead, just take some photos that can later remind you of the trip.
  • If you plan to take an overnight Halong bay cruise, please do not bring any food and drink along, or else you will have to pay the exorbitant service fee.

For more hacks, let's refer to 12 Pro Tips for Saving Money on Halong Bay Trip

Above are the 10 best Halong Bay tours for backpackers plus some money-saving tips for those who plan to visit Halong Bay on a budget. Choose the one that perfectly fits the bill, pack your luggage, and then enjoys your low-budget vacation in the World Heritage.

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