Halong Bay is no doubt in the must-visit of every tourist coming to Vietnam. However, people often think that the famous Halong Bay tour will be a luxurious trip on large cruises and expensive service.
But let’s face the reality, there are people who cannot afford to pay a large sum of money for a trip – especially backpackers – and they still want to have the best time in Halong Bay
Halong Bay is the most famous attraction in Vietnam you can visit with an affordable price
If you are seeking an inexpensive cruise trip to Halong Bay, be aware of scams and low-quality cruises that will make you disappointed.
There are chances that you will be jammed into an old cracking ship with a bunch of strangers and touring around Halong Bay in a flash with not-really-good service. Instead of grabbing a random low-cost but high-risk cruise trip, let’s plan wisely for a Halong bay cruise tip for backpackers on a budget!
Halong Bay Overview
First, you should know a bit about Halong Bay before you pack your backpack. Located on the Western side of the Gulf of Tonkin in Northeastern Vietnam, Halong Bay is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Vietnam with magnificent landscapes and limestones. It houses almost 2000 islands and islets as well as beautiful cave systems.
Actually, Halong Bay tour packages often consist of these destinations: Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Cat Ba Bay and Halong Bay itself. Geologically speaking, these bays are quite the same. Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay tours are often more expensive comparing to Halong bay tours, so if you have a low budget, consider giving Halong Bay tour a try.
Take a look of what Halong Bay cruise trip has for you
Halong Bay on a cruise – is cruising a good idea?
Generally, Halong Bay Tours are on a cruise. A cruise is the best way to explore nature since most of the landscapes and destinations are on the water. A cruise trip may sound luxury and out-of-question for many travelers, however, the average price ranges are quite good and if you are good at finding deals and good tour operators, you may get a great trip with under 100 US$.
If you want more tips for cruising in Halong Bay at a lower price, let’s check this out!
Planning your trips wisely – the must-know steps for Halong Bay Budget Cruises
Before going to Halong Bay, you must first plan your trip: where to go, how long to stay, what to do and how much money you will spend. We understand that you want to plan a trip with a reasonable price, exciting activities and fun experience and you don’t require exclusive luxury things. So, here are some tips for you to solve this problem:
Let’s talking about the length of your trip.
Normally, you can choose from a short day trip up to 4 days – 3 nights trip. It depends on how long you are going to stay, how much you want to spend and how much you want to explore Halong Bay.
Kayaking is a signature activity of Halong Bay that you must try!
A short day trip is suitable for travelers who don’t have much time and money or just want to take an overall glimpse of Halong Bay. The day tour often includes the highlight destinations of Halong Bay, for example, Sung Sot Cave, some of the most popular activities like kayaking and swimming and a meal.
After that, you will be back at the port and end the trip on the same day. The trip will be short and nice with the price of under 50 US$ normally, and you will still have a lot of things to do. However, it may be a bit rushing and you are likely to miss out the many other great activities, for example, squid fishing.
A less rushing choice is overnight cruise trips. They go from 2 days – 1 night, 3 days – 2 nights to 4 days – 3 nights, the longer trip you choose, the more you get and of course, pay. The 2 days – 1 night trip is the typical choice for backpackers because of its reasonable price, adequate length and good schedule – seem like everything you want, right?
Then, it’s time to choose the destination you want to go.
Touring Halong Bay does not mean you have no other choices rather than the only Halong Bay. There are Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay, which are the most popular destinations for visitors.
Choose Halong Bay instead of Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay if you want to have a low-budget cruise trip!
It is easy to understand why many people choose Halong Bay. However, it doesn’t mean that Halong Bay is supreme since in peak season, Halong Bay can be crowded and the view can be limited.
So, you can look at other option like Lan Ha Bay with silky sandy beach, beautiful limestone rock, promising panoramic view. Another choice is Bai Tu Long Bay, a newly popular attraction with wild beauty, poetic scenery and fewer tourists. But the price of these tours is relatively high.
Choosing the right cruise provider.
This is what makes or breaks your trip literally. If you are lucky enough to pick a great cruise with a decent itinerary, good service and reasonable price, then it would be heaven. But if you get your hand on a scam, you will be disappointed and angry for sure.
There are a lot of providers for Halong Bay cruise, but not everyone is the same. Especially when you aim for the mid-range price, you must be careful.
It is advisable that you check your provider’s credibility and read reviews about them online. You should not choose those who offer too cheap the price and dreamlike itinerary, they are obviously suspicious and are more likely to be frauds.
Overview of Phoenix Cruise
Proper cruise providers will show you a detailed itinerary, reasonable price, contact and information. They are willing to give you the best of them – these are the ones making a living with their real effort, not scams. Some of the recommendations are Phoenix Cruise, Rosa Cruise, Flamingo Cruise and Lavender Cruise.
Or you can look through these compilations of best Halong Bay Travel Agencies to find out the best one for you!
Double-check the itinerary – what’s included and excluded are important.
Another thing to do so you don’t burn your wallet is double-check the itinerary. The description of the cruise tour may be what attract you most, but you should pay more attention to the itinerary. Find out what is included in and excluded from the itinerary. That means you are checking if you have to pay extra for anything on board.
The most common things excluded in the itinerary are the drinks, and mind you, the price for them on board can double or triple those in the land. You should ask if there are any additional cost and fee can be added along the trip to make sure you won’t faint once you see the total bills.
What is more, the itinerary will give you a rough idea about your trip, so you can prepare yourself ahead. Some of the popular activities in Halong Bay cruise tours are visiting the pearl farm, visiting the floating village, swimming, exploring caves, sightseeing, taking Tai Chi session, squid fishing and taking a cooking class.
And you have to calculate your money to spend.
To not hurt your wallet, you should do some research to see the average price range for your trips and get prepared accordingly.
Typically, a Halong Bay tour package price ranges from 30 US$ to over 300 US$ per pax depending on the length of the trip and the service. A day tour in Halong Bay will cost you normally approximately 30 – 50 US$ per person. This kind of tour package will provide you with the basic itinerary, including accommodation, activity fee and food.
You can enjoy a trip on a cruise at around 50 US$
If you aim at overnight on a cruise trip, the starting price for a person is 100 US$. This is considered as the “mid-end” choice since you will get the more decent itinerary and a wider choice of destinations to visit. These are the ones that backpackers should consider, not the luxury cruise trip that has a lot of zeros on the price tag.
How and When to travel to Halong Bay
On traveling to Halong Bay, there are some notes and tips that you should remember:
Best time to visit Halong Bay
Halong Bay tour packages are often cruise trips, so the weather will affect your experience a lot. Even though Halong Bay can be visited throughout the year, it is best to choose the months that the weather is dry, no rain or storm and not too hot.
Let’s look at this and find out when is the most suitable time to visit Halong Bay
If you want more detailed information on the weather in Halong Bay, you can read this!
Getting From Hanoi To Halong Bay
You can go from Hanoi to Halong Bay in many ways, but the recommendation for backpackers is the bus. It has a cheap ticket price, runs on a daily basis and is quite traveler-friendly. A bus trip from Hanoi to Halong will take from 4 to 5 hours and the ticket price starting at 5 US$ up to a few more dollars. You can either choose a shuttle bus or the public bus.
From the bus station in Quang Ninh, you will have to travel a bit more to reach the port where the cruise is waiting. You can take a taxi or a motorbike ride to the bay. Just remember that motorbike ride won’t cost more than 5 US$ (100.000 VND) and the taxi price will be below 10 US$ (200.000 VND).
Some tips for better trips with Halong Budget Cruises
Bringing some snacks, food and drink onboard is a good thing to do. Usually, the tour only includes the main meals and drinks, and maybe you will need more energy. Furthermore, extra food and drink on the cruise are often quite costly. But you should ask the cruise provider if you are allowed to bring them with you.
Make plans and prepare carefully with our tips we give you to have the best trip with your friends
Because you are going to spend a lot of time outside in Halong Bay, you should consider bringing some of these things:
Warm clothes (in winter)
Original passport with a valid visa
Some cash in Vietnamese Dong / USD for personal expenses
That is all of our advice for backpackers to make a tour in Halong Bay with a low budget.
If you still have any question or want further information, please contact us. It is our pleasure to help you enjoy your time with us here!