Beyond a beautiful destination, Halong Bay has a great diversity of history and culture waiting to be explored. It usually takes 3 days to soak up the scenic atmosphere, marvel at impressive beauty spots, involve in exciting activities, and get a deep insight into the local cultures in Halong Bay. Spending three days in Halong Bay gives visitors the most fulfilled experience in this magnificent World’s Heritage. Here’s the detailed Halong Bay 3-day itinerary to explore all the must-sees and must-dos.
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Depending on which route to discover, there are various choices of Halong Bay itineraries to opt for the Halong Bay classic route, Bai Tu Long Bay route, or Lan Ha Bay route. Sometimes, travelers can choose between Halong Bay 2 night cruise and a combo of 2D1N cruise & 1 night at the hotel. If you desire to wondrous seascape and relaxation, it is highly recommended to spend two nights on the cruise. For those in search of a perfect plan, it’s essential to learn about the following guide to the 3 most popular Halong Bay 3 days 2 nights itineraries.
Get from Hanoi to Halong Bay
Most Halong Bay 3 day cruises from Hanoi offer shuttle bus transportation with pick-up and drop-off services. You will depart from Hanoi Old Quarter at 8:00 am and arrive at Tuan Chau Port at 11:30 am. After transferring to cruise private pontoon, you will get the cruise briefing and safety instructions while sipping a welcome drink. At 12:00 pm, you can embark on the cruise and check-in.
Read detail about how to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay
Have deluxe Vietnamese lunch
The first lunch is about the luxury Vietnamese set menu filled with appetizing traditional dishes and fresh seafood. Booking a Halong Bay cruise 3d2n, you don’t have to worry about what to eat and where to try in Halong since the cruise lines offer full meals with various types of cuisine from Vietnamese, Japanese, Western styles to Vegan and Halal food. While you enjoy your lunch on board, the cruise is heading for Sung Sot Cave, the first destination following Halong classic itinerary.
After lunch, you can take a rest in your cabin or have a massage to treat yourself. You better book a massage service in advance to ensure there is a room available.
The dining room on Halong Bay 3-day/2-night cruise
Visit the magnificent Sung Sot Cave
A Halong Bay 3 day cruise tour can’t be complete without a cave visit to discover the spectacular of stalactite and stalagmite formations. Located at Bo Hon Island, Sung Sot Cave is not only one of the largest caves in Ha Long Bay but also the most renowned and most visited of all. The grotto possesses the most surprising beauty among 59 Halong Bay caves listed on the official registry. Covering a staggering of 10,000 square meters, Sung Sot boasts the interior divided into 2 caverns: the first one is like an auditorium connected by a narrow pathway to the larger one which is enormous enough to hold 1,000 people or so. In addition to sightseeing, you can take about 100 steps to reach the mouth of the grotto for a stunning aerial view.
Sung Sot Cave is a must-visit on a 3-day Halong Bay trip
Join sunset party and cooking class
The most mesmerizing moment in Ha Long Bay must be sunset over the layered rock formations. Take your time to sit back and sip a cup of tea on the sun deck. Or else, pamper yourself at the swimming pool. From 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, you can attend a cooking class to learn how to make Vietnamese spring rolls. Some cruises will hold a carving lesson to introduce the art of fruit and vegetable carving. For those who are interested in Vietnamese cuisine, this is a great opportunity to get a deeper insight into the culinary of the country.
Have dinner and take part in night activities
Dinner on the cruise is somehow diverse than lunch with a great variety of set menu dishes. If you book a luxury Halong Bay cruise in 3 days 2 nights such as President Cruise, you will have the chance to enjoy a Michelin-starred dinner with more than 40 dishes of both Eastern and Western cuisine. After dinner, you can leisure on your own with a wide range of nightlife activities on board. If you travel in a group, board games like cards or Parcheesi are the best choices. If you like to chill, you should have some drinks at the bar on deck. Take note that the time between 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm is the Happy Hour when you can buy one drink – get one free (wine by the bottle excluded). In case you want something invigorating, take it easy at the spa and massage room. At midnight, you can try your luck at squid fishing on the boat.
Do Tai Chi session and have breakfast
Waking up on the second day of the Halong Bay cruise 3d2n itinerary, you should have some coffee and tea before a Tai Chi session, a kind of Chinese traditional material arts. Refresh your day with this 30-minute physical and mental work out to improve health balance and relieve stress. Then, have something for breakfast at the buffet served in the dining hall.
Tai Chi session on 3-day Halong Bay Cruise
Visit Luon Cave and Cua Van Floating Village
The first spot on this classic itinerary of Halong Bay 2 night cruise is Luon Cave, an open-air cave only accessible by boat. To enter the grotto, you have to take a rowing boat or kayak through a 100-meter-long and 3-meter-wide arch with the heights of 2.5 – 4 meters. Once passing under the arch, you can feast your eye on sheer limestone cliffs rising up from the emerald water. Here, you can let your hair down and explore the diverse ecology system. Especially, you may spot brazen monkeys climbing the cliffs and fragrant orchids thriving in rocky outcrops.
Take bamboo rowing boat to Luon Cave
The next destination is Cua Van Floating Village, one of the largest remaining fishing villages in Halong Bay. As one of the top world’s 16 most beautiful ancient villages, Cua Van village is an extraordinary laid-back corner in Halong. Nestled among the plunging karst formations, the village is home to floating houses, hospitable residents, and long-lasting tradition.
Have lunch and visit Pearl Farm
The afternoon excursion heads for Pearl Farm, which is located near Vung Vieng fishing village. This must be a favourite destination for those interested in pearls and how they are acquired. Pearl Farm is 74 acres and consists of roughly 3,000 cages. Here, you will find how long it takes for pearls to grow, harvested, and extracted. It is a distinctive experience to figure out that pearl farming is an extremely slow process.
Relax at your leisure on cruise
Back to the cruise at twilight and admire the magnificent sunset. There are plenty of activities to calm down after a day excursion of 3 days 2 nights itinerary in Halong Bay. On the first day, you will have dinner on board and join interesting night activities till mid-night.
Calm yourself with the mesmerizing sunset over the bay
Pay a visit to Titop Island
After Tai Chi lesson and breakfast, you will be transferred to Titop Island, a photogenic spot that attracts a lot of tourists to check-in. With one hour of discovering the island, you can climb to the peak for a marvellous 360-degree view of the bay or relax on the beach.
Enjoy beach relaxation on Titop Island
Have a full breakfast and transfer to Hanoi
Upon returning the boat, you will have half an hour to freshen up and finish packing. Afterwards, a full breakfast will be served at 9:30 am in the dining room. During that time, the cruise will approach the pier, so you can sit back and relax for the rest of the time onboard. Around 11:30 am, the transportation will transfer you from Halong to Hanoi. End of the 3-day tour.
Transport from Hanoi to Halong
Like the classic cruise itinerary, Bai Tu Long Bay cruise 3 days 2 nights itinerary provides you with a shuttle bus transfer to Halong Bay from Hanoi Old Quarter. The Hanoi – Ha Long route by shuttle bus takes around 2.5 hours with a short break on the way.
Embark on the cruise and have lunch
Arrive at the cruise port at 11:30 am, you can enjoy a welcome drink and get a brief introduction and safety guidelines before embarkation. After check-in, it’s time to have lunch with a tasty Vietnamese set menu while the cruise head for Bai Tu Long Bay.
Explore Cap La Island by kayaking
The first spot of this Halong Bay 2 night itinerary is Cap La Island, a must-visit attraction filled with peaceful waterscape and pristine sand beach. The best way to explore the Cap La area is kayaking around the scenic island and swimming in the crystal clear water. Also, you can pay a visit to Cap La fishing village to get closer to the local daily life.
Tranquil Cap La Island on the first day of Bai Tu Long Bay itinerary
Throw a sunset party and join night entertainments
Back to the cruise at dusk, you can let your hair down at a sunset party on the sundeck. There are some cruises equipped with a Jacuzzi or pool to throw a party. Or else, just sit back and sip a cup of tea to catch the stunning sunset moment over the bay. From 7:00 pm to mid-night is time for special dinner and night entertainments. Like Halong Bay cruises, Bai Tu Long Bay cruises 3d2n offer special dinner served with savory dishes of both Western and Eastern styles. Nightlife onboard is never tedious as you can take part in family board games or puzzle games with friends. Otherwise, the bartender is always ready to serve you a cocktail to chill out.
Do morning exercises on the sundeck
There is always a Tai Chi lesson for you to take every morning on Halong Bay 2 night cruise. Some can skip Tai Chi session and do yoga instead. It is all up to you. Whichever exercise you opt for, a workout to soak up the refreshing morning air in the middle of Ha Long Bay is the best meditation as well.
Kayak and swim in Cong Dam Area
Cong Dam Area is an untouched destination that has been preserved for 340 million years in Halong. Like an outdoor geological museum, Cong Dam Area is home to plenty of coral reefs, underground lakes, and caves nestled in the limestone mountain. There are also several white-sand beaches and turquoise water to have a swim and kayak through the hidden lagoons and geological park.
Have a BBQ lunch on the beach
Depending on the availability and weather conditions, you can have a unique opportunity to have BBQ lunch on the beach. It is a great chance to sample Vietnamese delicacies in a chilling way. What is better than tasting an array of succulent and grilled seafood in the melody of birdsong, wind sounds, and wave sounds of waves?
Visit Vung Vieng Fishing Village and Pearl Farm
As one of the four remaining fishing villages in Halong, Vung Vieng is a highlight of Halong Bay 3 days 2 nights cruise itinerary to Bai Tu Long Bay. The village is such an isolated community of 50 or so households who earn a living by fishing, handcraft, and other traditional methods. It is an ideal place to seek an authentic experience of local life and the rich traditional cultures of the indigenous people here.
Scenic floating village in Bai Tu Long Bay
The next stop of the 3-day Halong Bay itinerary is Pearl Farm to discover the hidden charm of Halong Bay. If you have a chance to visit the pearl farm, you’ll take time to learn about the long-lasting area dedicated to growing pearls and practicing a handmade technique based on Vietnamese tradition and Japanese technology.
Visit Pearl Farm on a 3-day cruise itinerary in Halong Bay
Enjoy sunset time and nightlife onboard
End of each day on the Halong cruise tour, you can have plenty of relaxing time on the cruise from dusk till dawn. Don’t worry about what to do on the boat since there is a great variety of choices. From sunset party, spa and massage, drink at the bar, board games, karaoke, Happy Hour to squid fishing.
Welcome a new day with Tai Chi
Start the second day and get familiar with the Tai Chi routine on the sundeck. This kind of Chinese material art gives both mental and physical exhilaration. As the last day of the Halong Bay cruise 3d2n tour, you should be an early bird to contemplate the beautiful sunrise over the bay.
Head to Thien Canh Son Cave
Renowned for its hidden charm, Thien Canh Son Cave possesses a mysterious beauty and geological values to uncover. Set location below the forest canopy and a stone cliff, Thien Canh Son still attracts visitors to discover the geology system, take amazing photos, or even arrange a cave dinner under sparkling candlelight. The interior will amaze you with an abundance of naturally carved images illustrating a lotus and a baby elephant. From the ceiling covered by a shining carpet, numerous stalactites formed in various shapes and sizes look like hanging lamps.
Explore Thien Canh Son Cave on Halong Bay cruise 3d2n route to Bai Tu Long
Attend a cooking demonstration
During the time cruising back to the mainland, you will have a chance to join a cooking demonstration lesson that teaches you how to make Vietnamese spring roll, one of the easiest dishes to make. With the available ingredients including pork, prawn, vegetables, fermented rice noodle, and rice crepe, all you need to do is rolling beautifully.
Disembark and transfer to Hanoi
After the cooking lesson, you can sample your own spring rolls then have traditional Vietnamese lunch. The cruise will arrive at Hon Gai Pier at around 12:00 pm. Farewell at the pier and shuttle bus will take you back to Hanoi.
Transfer between Hanoi and Halong Bay
The excursion from Hanoi to Halong Bay usually begins at 8:30 – 9:00 am and follows the new highway via Hai Phong city. On the way, you will have an opportunity to experience the longest sea-crossing bridge in Southeast Asia.
Around 11:30 am – 12:00 pm, you’ll arrive at the office in the pier in Halong Bay, where the crew warmly welcomes and take special tea at the check-in lounge. After receiving cruise briefing and safety instructions, you’ll embark on the Lan Ha Bay Cruise to refresh yourself in the suite life onboard.
Have lunch on Halong Bay Cruise
Out of the hustle and bustle city, the cruise will take you into the water land of natural wonder in Halong Bay. While the Halong Bay 3 day cruise is proceeding to Da Chong Islet, you’ll have time to savor a delicious lunch at the luxury restaurant onboard. During your lunch, you should take your time to enjoy the amazing limestone karst formations and cruise around the untouched area in Cat Ba Island or Lan Ha Bay.
Explore limestone caves in Halong Bay
Halong Bay is a wonderland of limestone caves, ranging from dry caves to cave water. Your 3-day vacation to Halong Bay will be imperfect if you miss the chance to visit the awe-inspiring limestone caves. Especially, Dark & Light Cave is cave water where you can do kayaking or bamboo boat rowed by local people.
Go kayaking at Dark and Light Cave
Enjoy sunset view and cooking class onboard
Dusk is the best time to return to Halong Bay Cruise, where you can marvel at the fabulous sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Also, you can enjoy a complimentary sunset party or join a cooking class to learn about traditional Vietnamese cuisine and culinary.
Alternatives: If the first stop isn’t for you, you can opt for sightseeing or spa treatment on Halong Bay Cruise. What’s better than an afternoon of pampering and indulgence at the spa lounge after a long drive?
Have a deluxe dinner and top deck activities
At 7:00 pm, a delightful meal in an intimate romantic setting is already served. You can get a great dining experience with appetizing traditional and international food under the sumptuous candlelight. Uniquely, some of Halong Bay cruises set a Royal Bao Dai Dinner, in which you can dress like Kings and Queens in the concept of the Bao Dai King regime. It’s such a weird experience that everyone should try for a better insight into Vietnamese history.
Royal Bao Dai Dinner on Halong Bay Cruise
After dinner, you can involve in several amusing activities such as entertainment at the bar, relaxation with romantic ballad music, sightseeing on the top deck, night squid fishing, movie watch, and other more. At the end of the first day in Halong Bay, you should treat yourself a good sleep in your luxurious cabin.
Do Tai Chi session
To welcome your second day on the Halong Bay 3d2n cruise, you’d better work out by Tai Chi session on the sundeck. Under the rising sun and breezing atmosphere, Tai Chi exercise helps your body keep balanced and relieve your anxiety to enjoy the Halong Bay 3 day cruise trip to the fulfilment. After the Tai Chi session, you’ll have a refreshing cup of tea or coffee, and a light breakfast in the restaurant.
Pay a visit to Viet Hai Village
The itinerary will continue with the deeper insight of Halong Bay. You will pay a visit to Viet Hai village, a local village in Cat Ba Island. You will take the bicycle trip along the village path and go through rain forests and dark tunnel. Let’s admire the mesmerizing scenery of the rice fields on the way. You should take your time to wander around Viet Hai village, where you have an opportunity to visit an ancient local house made from straw, mud, and bamboo, as well as see how the daily local life goes on.
Biking route in Viet Hai Village
Take a trip to Van Boi floating village
After a fresh and appetizing lunch onboard, you’ll re-energize yourself with a trip to Van Boi floating village, the largest of five remaining floating fishing villages in Ha Long Bay. The bamboo boat trip to Van Boi floating village will take you to a deeper insight into the daily life and local people here. If you want something more adventurous, go swimming and kayaking to explore the bay and take a breeze at the off-the-beaten area.
Join pre-dinner sunset cocktails and cooking demonstration
At twilight, the 3-day cruise will anchor overnight at Coconut Tree Island. With the harmonious music theme, you’ll sip up a cocktail or two as the sun sets over the karst landscape. If you miss the chance to watch the magnificent sunset on the first day in Halong Bay, don’t forget to catch the best sight of the sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. There’s also a traditional cooking class to learn about Vietnamese cooking demonstration and Vietnamese culinary.
Enjoy sunset cocktails on Halong Bay cruise
Enjoy nightlife on Halong Bay cruise
Following this 3-day itinerary in Halong Bay, you won’t waste time choosing what to eat since everything superb is already served on Halong Bay cruise. If you want a private space, you can have dinner in your cabin or on the sundeck.
As the dinner is finished, a range of nightlife activities awaits you to enjoy the last night on Halong Bay cruise. If you haven’t tried squid fishing, you should take your last chance to try your luck. Or you may just want to put your feet up with a movie after two days exploring Halong Bay.
Tai Chi on the sundeck
If you’re an early bird, why not start a perfect day to witness the best of Halong Bay whilst enjoying an invigorating Tai Chi session on the sun deck. Or else, you can have a chilling time with a spa treatment at the spa onboard. The last morning in Halong Bay must be relaxed before heading out to explore the bay in the third-day itinerary.
Visit Trung Trang Cave
Trung Trang Cave is the last destination of Halong Bay cruise 3 days 2 nights itinerary. Trung Trang is the most stunning stalagmite and stalactite cave, located in the middle of Cat Bat National Park. It’s also the largest valley in Cat Ba Island, covering an area of 300 hectares and measuring 300 meters lengthwise through the mountains. Visitors will be awed and inspired by various shapes of the cave carved by nature for over 2,000 years.
Trung Trang Cave in Cat Ba Island
Have a brunch and tea ceremony on the cruise
Return the boat and do checkout procedures. After that, brunch is served while the cruise sails back to the pier. At the restaurant, there’s a tea ceremony for you to enjoy Vietnamese tea and Vietnamese culture.
Return to the Got ferry and back to Hanoi
When the cruise bid farewell at the Got ferry, it’s the end of the 3-day itinerary in Halong Bay. It’s time to get on the D-car transfer or shuttle bus to return to Hanoi. Usually, you will arrive in Hanoi at around 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm.
To sum up, you should choose the most suitableHalong Bay 3-day/2-night cruisedepending on your preferences of the route, destination, and activities. Let's follow our top-rated recommendations of the best Halong 3 day cruises.
(Images source: Internet)