Halong Bay Itinerary: 1 Night or 2 Nights On Cruise Is Better?

October 27, 2022 - 13803 views

An overnight cruise definitely offers tourists once-in-a-lifetime experiences in Halong Bay. If you’re wondering whether 1 night or 2 nights on the cruise is better, this article will guide you to choose the best Halong Bay itinerary ever.

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage, Halong Bay is best contemplated by taking an overnight cruise to soak up the natural beauty of the close distance. For first-time Halong Bay tourists, cruising might be an enjoyable but brand-new experience as you can feel the breathtaking atmosphere in the ocean vibe right outside your bed.

Halong Bay cruise itinerary usually offers two different journeys: 2 days 1 night and 3 days 2 nights, which provide tourists with different stops and activities. If you have enough time, two nights must be the best choice. If not, one night is fine anyway. Then, explore what we have available for each itinerary and decide which excursion suits you most perfectly.

Apart from the classic route to Halong Bay, you can choose hidden gems like Bai Tu Long and Lan Ha Bay for fulfilled experiences.


Halong Bay

Lan Ha Bay Bai Tu Long Bay
Cruise Port
  • Tuan Chau Pier
  • Halong International Port
  • Tuan Chau Pier
  • Got Pier
  • Vinashin Port
  • Halong International Port
  • Titop Island - Sung Sot Cave - Luon Cave - Me Cung Cave - Tung Sau Area
  • Ao Ech - Ba Trai Dao Islets - Dark & Bright Cave - Trung Trang Cave - Viet Hai Village
  • Cap La Island - Vung Vieng Village - Cong Dam Area - Thien Canh Son Cave
Cruise Recommendations
  • Paradise Elegance
  • Emperor Cruises
  • Athena Luxury
  • Glory Legend
  • Indochina Sails
  • Mon Cheri
  • Scarlet Pearl
  • Orchid, Peony
  • Stellar Of the Seas
  • Dragon Legend
  • Dragon Pearl
  • Swan
  • Paloma
  • Victory Star


Halong Bay itinerary

Halong Bay itinerary maps


One-night Halong Bay Itinerary

A Halong Bay 2-day-1-night itinerary seems to be popular among those who want to get a glimpse of this wonderland. Actually, the total length of time you spend on board is around 24 hours. As many Halong Bay cruises from Hanoi reach the pier at noon, you will embark on a boat tour at 12:00 pm on the first day and disembark at 12:00 pm on the following day.

Generally, the one-night Halong itinerary will provide you with the most worthwhile sightseeing and activities to leave your anxiety behind and indulge in the emerald beaches, crystal clear sky, and alluring karst cliffs.

On a two-day Halong Bay cruise tour, you’ll have an opportunity to call on some of the most highlighted beauty spots in the Bay, including Titov Island, Ba Trai Dao Islet, Bright and Dark Cave, Vung Vieng Fishing Village, etc. Some cruise itineraries especially offer an excursion to unspoiled destinations such as Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay – two stunning brothers of Ha Long Bay.

halong bay

Halong Bay cruise itinerary offers tourists the best time in the Bay


1st Day of Halong Bay Itinerary

To start a two-day/one-night itinerary, most of the cruise proceeds to Lan Ha Bay, where you can enjoy the green emerald and cool water. Welcome drink and lunch are served after you embark. When it comes to food and drink on the cruise, you can enjoy a blend of Vietnamese and Western cuisine, some seafood dishes, as well as a special diet of Vegan and Halal food if needed. 

In the afternoon, you can be taken to visit some limestone caves like Dau Go Cave, Thien Cung Cave, and Sung Sot Cave. Here you will be amazed by the awe-inspiring natural formations inside and breathtaking panoramic view across the bay once you go outside.

Depending on each two-day itinerary in Halong Bay, you can choose the most preferred excursion as expected. Late afternoon is an ideal time to enjoy a spa treatment at your leisure onboard or behold the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. It’s such a should-never-miss moment for those staying only one night.

2d1n Halong Bay tour itinerary

Enjoy the breathtaking view on the sundeck of the Halong Bay cruise

You may have swimming or join a traditional cooking class where you will be instructed to make some Vietnamese dishes. Till the end of the first day, nothing is better than feasting your eye on the mesmerizing night of Halong Bay on the top deck. Before your sleep, relax with some drinks at the bar or try your hand at night squid fishing.

Following the Halong Bay itinerary's first day, you can participate in various amusing activities and beach relaxation. Hold on! There is much more entertainment to enjoy on the second day.


2nd Day of Halong Bay Itinerary

The second day on the cruise usually begins with a Tai Chi session on the sundeck. Tai Chi is a physical meditation that can boost upper- and lower-body flexibility, strength, and balance. Each movement in the Tai Chi session brings about numerous health and mental benefits.

Alternatively, a yoga retreat and meditation also take you out of your daily comfort zone and refresh your mind, breath, and body. In the middle of the natural heritage site, you will feel free and exhilarated among the tranquillity of thousands of karst and limestone.

Halong bay overnight cruise

Take a yoga retreat and meditation in the refreshing air on a Halong Bay cruise

After morning exercise and breakfast onboard, the rest of the two-day Halong Bay itinerary will let you enjoy your own peace of mind on board or join an excursion to local villages by cycling or floating villages by kayaking to discover the hidden routes.

The mentioned itinerary in Halong Bay can be flexible and different among specific cruise lines. If you decide on planning a two-day overnight Halong Bay cruise, make up your mind with a detailed itinerary of each cruise operator to find the best option.

   Recommended 2-day cruises


Two-night Halong Bay Itinerary

In comparison with a one-night cruise, the two-night Halong Bay itinerary gives you a chance to explore the most secluded and untouched destinations, not only in Ha Long Bay but also in Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay. Dedicating three days to the Halong Bay tour considerably extends what you can do while in the bay.

Apart from all activities on the first day of the one-night cruise, the two-night itinerary gives you more opportunities to swim in the unspoiled area, kayak to witness the rock formations, cycle or trek through rain forests, visit the local village, enjoy the stunning scenery of rice fields on the way, or explore the hidden charm of the bay.

Generally, you will be able to explore the entire area, cruising through corners of the bay, far from the busier routes plied by those on a three-day program.

Cycling is usually offer in 3d2n Halong Bay tour itinerary

Cycling is usually included in the Halong Bay itinerary

Nightlife on a cruise is for a lazy time in bed and for interesting activities such as karaoke, squid fishing, playing games, holding a party, etc. What if you missed the chance to feast your eye on sunset and sunrise moments?

Let’s think about what can be missed on your two-day trip to Halong Bay. Who doesn’t want to spend more chilling time away from the bustling city on land? Especially if you are traveling with children, a three-day cruise tour will be less hassled as you have more time to relax between the transfer back and forth from Hanoi.

   Recommended 3-day cruises


Which Halong Bay Itinerary Is Best For You?

Between the two-day and three-day itineraries in Halong Bay, tourists might consider when choosing a suitable cruise trip for them. On the whole, most cruise operators provide both 2-day and 3-day excursions to choose from. Hence, the facility and type of boats are the same whether you choose a 1-night or 2-night itinerary in Halong Bay.

Let’s find out determining factors in the decision on the best Halong Bay itinerary for you.

halong bay itinerary comparison

A brief comparison of Halong Bay itinerary in two days and three days

Length of Cruise Tour

If you have plenty of time, you should go for a 3-day/2-night itinerary. Though the one-night option seems to be more popular, many people regret that they did not take the two-night itinerary.

By leaving after one night, they missed out on the chance to explore more of this extraordinary part of the world, not to mention more time relaxing onboard. Of course, with around 2,000 islands and islets spread around 1,553 km², it would take a longer time to be involved in the Halong Bay itinerary. Some tourists like to spend a full week discovering Halong Bay, including three days on the cruise and the rest on land.

Another point is that many passengers commented on the 2-day/1-night cruise trip is actually one day and one night. After a night of sleeping onboard, the cruise takes you to the rest of Halong Bay and goes back to the city. As a result, unless you lack time, opt for a three-day option.

You may also like Halong Bay Day Trip or Overnight Cruise


Activities and Excursions

With an extended time of the itinerary, a three-day tour offers extra time to explore the unspoiled attractions and faraway routes, not only in Ha Long Bay but also in Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. You will also have more time to relax and join more additional activities to deeply explore the majestic landscapes and interesting culture.

Compared to a 2-day cruise trip, you will have more opportunities to swim, kayak, cycle, trek, visit a fishing village, join a cooking class, do Tai Chi sessions or yoga meditation, have BBQ dinner on the beach, and do other interesting activities on board if you missed out on the first day.

Halong bay itinerary

A three-day Halong Bay itinerary gives you more time to relax

In fact, most tourists are satisfied with their three-day itinerary and wish they could stay longer. Spending more time in the Bay, tourists will never regret their decision. After two nights, many people must realize that their money is not wasted at all. Additionally, three days are sufficient to avoid boredom with the shore's isolation. The three-day tour itinerary offers you a much more unforgettable experience than the two-day itinerary does.

   Suggested Itinerary


Price Range

When it comes to the price difference, most travelers were afraid that they would waste their money and time. For first-time passengers, the one-night option is a safer choice. One night is ideal for those who want to experience the Bay within a limited time and budget. The price range of a 2-day/1-night varies from 120 USD - 550 USD or more, depending on the standard of quality.

Normally, you will see a huge difference between a low-budget and a mid-range cruise, while a luxury one is an upgraded mid-range option. It is highly recommended to decide on a mid-range or luxury cruise to waste money on the unexpected experience.

The price for a 3-day/2-night itinerary runs from 300 USD - 1,500 USD or more. As you can see, the three-day budget is twice and a half as high as a two-day budget. In consequence, you should consider your travel budget to choose the best itinerary option.

Halong Bay cruise cabin

It is worth trying to stay overnight on a luxury Halong Bay cruise

All things considered, you have a great variety of choices to pick the best itinerary and the best cruise company in Halong Bay. If you do not have a lot of time or are on a budget, one night is enough. In case you need more sightseeing and to participate in exciting activities, you should stay for at least two days. It’s all up to you, but you have to think that you’ll get what you pay for. It’s highly recommended for you to enjoy a two-night program.

You may also like: 3 Easy Steps to Choose The Best Halong Bay Cruise


Alternative option

In addition to the overnight cruise, you still can go for a day tour with a duration of 4 – 8 hours on the cruise. The routes can be varied, and the one-day Halong Bay itinerary is limited by the number of activities. You can only enjoy lunch with traditional Vietnamese food on board, pass many amazing rock formations, and visit several limestone caves or local villages.

Furthermore, the day cruise is not as well-equipped and modern as the overnight cruise. As far as we are concerned, please sleep overnight on the Halong Bay cruise. You can book a group tour with a private or charter cruise, ranging from budget to expensive ones.

According to a cruise report, 70% of people stay for one night in Halong Bay, while only 25% go for two nights, and the remaining 5% or so enjoy a three-night cruise, not including those who go out for a day trip.


After all, your best cruise can be found based on some key factors such as the weather, the cruise categories, and your special requirements. Whether you are on a 2-day/1-night or 3-day/1-night team, the important thing is that you really should see Halong Bay at least once in your life. If you have made up your mind, go discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site with our Halong tour itinerary recommendations.

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Questions & Answers (1)

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Does the Peony cruise offer 3-day 2-night itinerary for visitor? can you send me the detailed itinerary? Thank you


Yes, Peony cruise has 3d2n itinerary. Please check your email, we sent you the itinerary. Also, here is more information for Peony Cruise.

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