Photo: The setting can be spectacular.

Ha Long Bay: Which tour is right for you?

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If you ask a travel agent or your hotel tour desk what the differences are between the various cruises to Ha Long Bay, they will all tell you the same: the more expensive it is, the better the boat and the better the food. But how different are they and what’s going to suit you and your budget?





We went on three package tours of two nights and one day, as well as going it alone, and paid from US$52 to US$115 per person, including transfers. You can easily pay much more than that if you have the means and the desire but we stuck with budget to midrange tours. You also have the option of a three-day, two-night tour. We enjoyed all of the trips, but that was in part due to the opportunity to meet new people and also because this is, after all, Ha Long Bay, which is a remarkable spectacle no matter which boat you’re on.

Ha Long Bay is stunning no matter what your budget. Photo taken in or around Ha Long Bay: Which tour is right for you?, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam by Sarah Turner.

Ha Long Bay is stunning no matter what your budget. Photo: Sarah Turner

The tours all had some things in common. They all leave and arrive back in Hanoi at about the same time, all stop at a shop and cafe for a rest break, all include two lunches, dinner and breakfast, a bed for the night plus kayaking, a visit to a cave and swimming. Cabins across all three were similar in terms of size and decor too. Rooms—and beds—were small, but adequate for a night—the one we had on the priciest trip, the Alova, did slightly have an edge on the others. All had large windows. Air-con on the budget trip—with White Pearl—cost an extra US$10 but was included in the others. All bathrooms were compact but both the flashpacker (Dugong) and midrange options came with a spacious shower cubicle and rain shower. The budget bathroom was just ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ha Long Bay.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ha Long Bay.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ha Long Bay.
 Read up on how to get to Ha Long Bay, or book your transport online with Baolau.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ha Long Bay? Please read this.
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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Ha Long Bay? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.


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