Halong Bay Overnight Cruise Experience
To visit Halong Bay and experience sailing through limestone isles were the reasons I went back to Vietnam. I’ve been to this amazing country a few times before but never really got the chance to see the picturesque bay until recently. Halong Bay is a beautiful natural wonder with spectacular seascape. It also features lush turquoise and emerald waters and made up of thousands of towering limestone islands. This place is also majestic that draws a lot of visitors from around the world. To explore the bay, the best way is to join a Halong Bay overnight cruise.
There are several companies that offer tours in Halong Bay. Each company has its own route, facilities, activities and prices. I wanted something unique and different from most of the tourists do so I searched for options. After days of checking online, I found out about the Halong Bay overnight cruise offered by Sunlight Cruise.
Lan Ha Bay – Halong Bay Overnight Cruise
Sunlight Cruise offer cruise tours departing from Cat Ba Island. The largest island in Cat Ba Archipelago, this is where trips are arranged to less-visited destination but equally alluring. The main highlight of the cruise is exploring the Lan Ha Bay, which is an extension of Halong Bay.
Lan Ha Bay is a paradise in the southern-most part of Halong Bay. It is a scenic location known for its pristine and magnificent natural beauty. It has some small sandy beaches, islands and limestone karst. An overnight cruise in Lan Ha Bay also offers amazing experiences such as snorkeling, kayaking and if you have more time for some diving trips and rock-climbing.
The overnight cruise tour costs US$120 per person. It starts early morning by picking up guests from the hotels in Hanoi. I was staying in one of the hostels in Old Quarter. The company picked me up around 7:00am via a shuttle bus. When all guests were picked up, we left Hanoi and traveled the road and sea to reach Cat Ba Island.
Total travel time was around 4 hours from Hanoi. We reached Beo Harbour, where tour boats depart for Lan Ha and Halong Bay. Everyone was excited to go on board. But our guide told us to wait a little while while he arranged our tickets. After a few minutes, our guide instructed us to board and transfer to our cruise boat. We dropped our bags first on the lower deck and settled in the dining area to have lunch. The staff served us sumptuous meal, which all of us enjoyed.
When everybody was finished, our guide gave us the cabin assignment and our keys. I was a solo joiner so I had to share a room with a fellow solo joiner, which was totally fine with me. I love meeting new people and it’s a perfect opportunity to make friends while traveling. Most of the companies I asked offering Halong Bay overnight cruise require 2 persons joining because of room allocation. Gladly, Sunlight Cruise doesn’t limit this tour to couple or groups only. I was happy that the tour company welcomes solo joiners like me on board.
The cruise boat has about 10 nice tiny cabin rooms. It comes in two types; namely, Superior Triple Room and Superior Double or Twin Room. Each room is equipped with basic necessities. Rooms are also air-conditioned. I, together with another solo joiner, stayed in a Superior Twin Room. It has twin beds with private bathroom. Toiletries and towels are provided. The room was nice and clean. It was a cozy place for me to rest while cruising through Halong Bay.
Aside from having a nice cabin room, what made my Halong Bay overnight experience extra memorable was because of the plenty of activities that we had. The cruise tour provided us an exciting itinerary for two days that included kayaking, swimming and biking. One of my favorites was kayaking. We explored the dark and bright cave by kayak. It has a breathtaking surrounding. Too bad though, I didn’t have my camera with me. I wasn’t able to document the activity. But needless to say, I had a great time kayaking. It was an adventure kind of way to see the limestone karts and the wonderful scenery.
On the second day, the highlight was when we visited Viet Hai Village. It’s a small village in the heart of Cat Ba National Park. We went there early morning by bike. It took our group half an hour to reach the village. Our guide toured us around the village and let the group try some local wines including a snake wine.
Seeing the beautiful Halong Bay was a dream come true. I was able to tick off one of the destinations in Vietnam that I’ve been wanting to visit. It was also my first time to embark on a cruise tour and to sleep on a boat. With exciting activities offered to us, delicious meals and a fun atmosphere on board, I absolutely had a fantastic Halong Bay overnight cruise experience.
Halong Bay Overnight Cruise Itinerary
- Pick-up at hotels in the Hanoi Old Quarter by shuttle bus
- Transfer to Sunlight Cruise at Beo Harbor
- A special lunch in Vietnamese cuisine
- Sail through Lan Ha Bay
- Enjoy swimming in nearby area
- Cooking class
- Sunset party
- Visit Viet Hai Village by Bike
- Arrive at Beo Harbor
- Back to Hanoi
Flights – From the Philippines to Hanoi, Vietnam
Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi is the major gateway airport for Halong Bay. So if you’re coming from Manila, Cebu Pacific offers daily flight to Hanoi. The year-round fare for flights from Manila to Hanoi starts from Php3,456 one-way. To book a flight to Hanoi via Cebu Pacific, please check its official website. You may also find and compare cheap flights by visiting Momondo or by using the flight search below.
Going to Halong Bay? Halong Bay is 160 kilometers away from Hanoi. The options are take a bus that could take 4 hours drive or join a cruise tour for a more convenient and hassle-free transfer. Sunlight Cruise was the tour company I spoke to. The company assisted me with my transfers in Vietnam and my booking for Halong Bay overnight cruise.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. For more information, see my disclosures here.