Halong Bay 3-Day 2-Night Itinerary: Discover in Deep

December 14, 2023 - 3215 views

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. Spending three days in Halong Bay gives visitors the most fulfilling 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.

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 a Halong Bay 2-night cruise and a combo of a 2D1N cruise & 1 night at the hotel.

Compared to a rush full-day itinerary in Halong Bay, 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 3 days 2 nights itineraries.


Classic Halong Bay 2-Night Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Sung Sot Cave

Get from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Most Halong Bay 3-day itineraries 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 the 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 board and check in.


Have deluxe Vietnamese lunch

The first lunch is about the luxury Vietnamese set menu filled with appetizing traditional dishes and fresh seafood. Joining a Halong Bay 3 days 2 nights itinerary, 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, and Western styles to Vegan and Halal food.

While you enjoy your lunch on board, the ship is heading for Sung Sot Cave, the first destination following Halong's 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.

lunch on halong bay 3 day cruise

The dining room on Halong Bay 3-day/2-night cruise


Visit the magnificent Sung Sot Cave

A Halong Bay 2-night cruise itinerary can’t be complete without a cave visit to discover the spectacular 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.

Covering a staggering 10,000 square meters, Sung Sot boasts an 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 3-day Halong Bay trip

Sung Sot Cave is a must-visit on a Halong Bay tour 3 days 2 nights


Join sunset party and cooking class

The most mesmerizing moment in Halong 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 cuisine of the country.


Have dinner and take part in night activities

Dinner on the cruise is somehow more 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 leisurely 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 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.


Day 2: Luon Cave – Cua Van Floating Village – Pearl Farm

Do a 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 art. Refresh your day with this 30-minute physical and mental workout 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

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 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.

luon cave on the second of halong bay trip

Take a 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 a 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 favorite 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, harvest, and extract. It is a distinctive experience to figure out that pearl farming is an extremely slow process.


Relax at your leisure on a 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 midnight.

Halong bay cruise sunset

Calm yourself with the mesmerizing sunset over the bay


Day 3: Titop Island – Halong Bay – Hanoi

Pay a visit to Titop Island

After the Tai Chi lessons and breakfast, you will be transferred to Titop Island, a photogenic spot that attracts a lot of tourists to check-in. After one hour of discovering the island, you can climb to the peak for a marvelous 360-degree view of the bay or relax on the beach.

titop island

Enjoy beach relaxation on Titop Island


Have a full breakfast and transfer to Hanoi

Upon returning to the boat, you will have half an hour to freshen up and finish packing. Afterward, 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.

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Halong Bay 3-day Itinerary to Bai Tu Long

Day 1: Hanoi – Halong – Bai Tu Long Bay – Cap La Island

Transport from Hanoi to Halong

Like the classic cruise itinerary, the 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 to Halong Bay 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 a peaceful waterscape and pristine sand beach. The best way to explore the Cap La area is by 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.

Cap La Island Halong Bay 3 day

Tranquil Cap La Island on the first day of the Bai Tu Long Bay itinerary


Throw a sunset party and join night entertainment

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 midnight is time for special dinner and night entertainments.

Like Halong Bay cruises, Bai Tu Long Bay cruises 3d2n offer special dinners 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.


Day 2: Cong Dam – Vung Vieng Village – Pearl Farm

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 sessions 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 a 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.

floating village halong bay cruise 3d2n

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.

Tung Sau Pearl Farm in Halong Bay

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 to 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, and Happy Hour to squid fishing.


Day 3: Thien Canh Son Cave – Halong – Hanoi

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. On 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.

thien canh son cave halong bay cruise 3 day 2 night

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 roll beautifully.


Disembark and transfer to Hanoi

After the cooking lesson, you can sample your own spring rolls and then have traditional Vietnamese lunch. The cruise will arrive at Hon Gai Pier at around 12:00 pm. Farewell at the pier and a shuttle bus will take you back to Hanoi.

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For those who only have scant time, check out Halong Bay 2-Day 1-Night Itinerary: Explore The Most Exotic Destinations


Halong 3 Days 2 Nights itinerary to Lan Ha Bay

Day 1: Hanoi – Halong – Lan Ha Bay – Dark & Light Cave

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 on the pier in Halong Bay, where the crew warmly welcomes you 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 the 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

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.

dark and light cave halong bay 2 night itinerary

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 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 Dinner on a 3-day Halong Bay Cruise

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 watching, and more. At the end of the first day in Halong Bay, you should treat yourself to a good sleep in your luxurious cabin.


Day 2: Lan Ha Bay – Viet Hai Village – Cat Ba Island

Do a 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 fulfillment. 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 a deeper insight into Halong Bay. You will pay a visit to Viet Hai village, a local village on Cat Ba Island. You will take a bicycle trip along the village path and go through rainforests and dark tunnels. 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 in a 3-day itinerary in halong bay

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 in 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 demonstrations and Vietnamese cuisine.

Enjoy sunset cocktails on 3-day tour Halong Bay cruise

Enjoy sunset cocktails on the Halong Bay cruise


Enjoy nightlife

Following this 3-day itinerary in Halong Bay, you won’t waste time choosing what to eat since everything superb is already served on the 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 the 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 of exploring Halong Bay.


Day 3: Cat Ba National Park – Trung Trang Cave – Halong – Hanoi

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 the 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 on Cat Ba Island, covering an area of 300 hectares and measuring 300 meters lengthwise through the mountains. Visitors will be awed and inspired by the various shapes of the cave carved by nature for over 2,000 years.

Trung Trang Cave in Cat Ba Island in 3-day itinerary in halong bay

Trung Trang Cave in Cat Ba Island


Have a brunch and tea ceremony

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 is 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.

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To sum up, you should choose the most suitable Halong Bay 3-days 2-nights cruise depending on your preferences of the route, destination, and activities. Let's follow our top-rated recommendations of the best Halong 3-day cruises. 

Hong Nhung

(Images source: Internet)

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