Bai Tu Long Bay | Travel Guide

Make Your Bai Tu Long Bay Trip A Bucket List Experience

Bai Tu Long Bay is an unmissable tourist attraction in Southeast Asia and Vietnam. Nestled in the famous Halong Bay area, Bai Tu Long Bay captures the imagination of travelers with the ageless beauty of its limestone islands, pristine beaches, and impressive karst mountains.

Though Bai Tu Long Bay is the laid-back alternative to Halong Bay, away from the touristy bustle, there is lots of local life and amazing destinations to explore. Let us guide you through Bai Tu Long Bay and help you have the Bai Tu Long bucket list vacation of a lifetime!

Best Bai Tu Long Bay Cruises

Booking a cruise is the best way to discover the pristine natural scenery of Bai Tu Long Bay in total serenity and comfort. In fact, its the only way to get hands-on with Ha Long Bay like you’ve been dreaming! Here are the best Bai Tu Long Bay cruises for your dream vacation:

Halong bay map

Overview of Bai Tu Long Bay

Covering an area of roughly 158 km2, Bai Tu Long Bay houses a variety of ecosystems and is made up of hundreds of islands and islets. The population of this area is approximately 320,000 people, who mostly reside in Cam Pha district, Quan Lan island, and Ngoc Vung Island.

While Ha Long Bay has the attention of tourists, the grand majority of its islands are still as pristine as when Mother Dragon and her children created them with their emerald teeth (well, at least according to the traditional lore).

For travel-hungry tourists, Bai Tu Long Bay is home to many amusing destinations such as Bai Tu Long National Park, Vung Vieng fishing village, Cong Do area, Da Xep Park, Thien Canh Son cave, Cong Dam area, and Tra Gioi beach.

If you like to keep things off the beaten track, this is an ideal destination for you.

Top Bai Tu Long Activities and Attractions

Top Bai Tu Long Bay Attractions

Cong Dam Area

Cong Dam Area

With karsts that formed as long as 340 million years ago, Cong Dam Area is considered an ‘outdoor geological museum’. Cong Dam is also home to a fishing village with a population of 120. Deep-rooted traditions of fishing culture make Cong Dam a great place for tourists to talk with fishermen and listen to their interesting stories about daily life. Kayaking, boat rowing, and fishing with fishermen are all thrilling experiences that you should not miss when visiting the village.
Explore Halong Bay yourself on kayak boat on Hon Co Island

Hon Co Island

Hon Co Island, also known as Grass Island, is located in the Cong Do Area and is often visited by cruises to Bai Tu Long Bay. The island still retains its pristine and unique beauty. With white sand beaches and calm waters, Hon Co Island is the perfect place to enjoy thrilling activities like kayaking, swimming, and exploring caves.
Tra Gioi Beach Bai Tu Long Bay

Tra Gioi Beach

Tra Gioi beach offers tourists crystal clear water, white sand, and the wonderful natural scenery of Bai Tu Long Bay. On the top of the mountain, tourists can admire the whole bay including hundreds of islets and the expansive blue sea. Cruises and guided tours often set up a beach BBQ lunch while their guests frolic in the pristine natural landscapes.
Vung Vieng Fishing Village

Vung Vieng Fishing Village

One of the last remaining of its kind, Vung Vieng Fishing Village is an important stop-off point for any visitors hoping to get an insight into traditional Halong culture and life. Although Vung Vieng fishing village is no longer inhabited full-time, the floating village is preserved for tourists to walk around in and learn about the deep-rooted Halong traditions.
Ban Chan Beach Bai Tu Long Bay

Ban Chan Beach

Very much an “off the beaten track” area, the white sand fringed by the idyllic sea at Ban Chan Beach makes this one of the most coveted beaches in the entire region. Surrounded by rugged rocks and lush green forest, Ban Chan Beach is a wonderful setting to enjoy a swim, kayaking or a beach barbecue.
Thien Canh Son Cave

Thien Canh Son Cave

A large cavern with three main chambers on Thien Canh island, access to Thien Canh Son Cave is via a hidden path through a dense forest canopy next to a cliff face. The formations inside the Thien Canh Son cave are commonly likened to various everyday items; lotus blooms, a baby elephant or seals. There’s a nice beach here as well, making the Thien Canh Son Cave an ideal stop-off point for a few hours of exploring while on a cruise.
Bai Tu Long National Park

Bai Tu Long National Park

A flourishing forest and marine conservation area, the Bai Tu Long Bay National Park covers 61.25 km2 and an even larger aquatic area of 96.58 km2. It is home to an impressive array of flora and fauna, including the leopard cat and the large Indian civet. Cruises to Bai Tu Long Bay will inevitably travel through the national park. So keep your eyes peeled for exotic fish and animals around every corner!
cap la area

Cap La Island

Cap La Island is a wonderful attraction where visitors can find pristine natural landscapes and white sand beaches. Below the evergreen rainforest ecosystem, there are plenty of offshore locations for diving, kayaking, or fishing. For those looking to explore Vietnamese culture, stopping off at Cap La fishing village shows the simple and tranquil daily life of the locals as they go about their fishing activities.
Cong do island

Cong Do Island

Cong Do Island has many similar geological characters to its surrounding neighbors, but what makes this island and area unique is the variety of caves that stretch beneath its towering mountains. Visitors on an Indochina junk boat can explore the caves by kayak, or relax in the surrounding lagoons and beaches. Whether you want adventure or relaxation, Cong Do has something for everyone.

Bai Tu Long In Pictures

How to Get to Bai Tu Long Bay

While a little further out than the famous Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long is still within easy reach.

For Bai Tu Long Bay, cruises depart from the Halong International Cruise Port (Sun World Port).

Embarkation point

Halong International Cruise Port (Sun World Port)

  • Address: Bãi Cháy, Thành phố Hạ Long, Quảng Ninh
  • From Hanoi city center: 136 km – bus / car (3h15′)
  • From Noi Bai Int’l Airport: 157 km – bus / car (3h20′)
  • From Cat Bi Int’l Airport: 79 km – car / taxi (2h)
how to get to halong bay private car

How to Get to Bai Tu Long Bay from Hanoi

Whether you’re heading to Bai Tu Long from Noi Bai or from the center of Hanoi, your departure point is Halong City – the location of the Halong International Cruise Port.

Reaching here typically takes just over three hours, and your options are public buses and private cars or limousines.

Get to your destination stress and hassle-free. Read our full guide on how to get to Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, and Lan Ha Bay.

Bai Tu Long Bay in the eyes of travelers

We interviewed a few travel bloggers and here they said

The scenery in the bay is next to none. The memory that always pops back into my mind is that of a sensational sunset over the rocky landscape. This was one of the most romantic settings to experience sunset for sure. This place has engraved itself in my mind as one of the most beautiful of destinations in Vietnam. From beautiful islands, extraordinary caves, fishing villages to stunning spots for swimming and kayaking, Bai Tu Long is simply a must-visit-place

Jolene and Andrzej Ejmont
Wonderlust Story Tellers.

One of the best decisions I made during my Vietnam trip was choosing an overnight package and spending 1 night on a boat. When the cruise started (from Ha long Bay), I saw numerous ships all around. I was worried that the bay would be crowded with these cruises and my ‘view from the cruise’ would be another boat and not the actual landscape. As soon as the cruise moved towards Bai Tu Long, the crowd thinned out. Not only did we explore magnificent caves and floating villages, but we also had the opportunity to go kayaking during sunset. Bai Tu Long will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s so close to Hanoi and yet, a world apart.

Madhurima Dutta
The Other Side Forever.

When we think about Bai Tu Long, we most remember how stunning the scenery was and how much we were able to connect with nature (and disconnect from everything else!). We loved just sitting together on the deck of the ship, watching the changing views of the karsts as we floated by. It was so uncrowded and peaceful; exactly what we were looking for!

Jen and Ryan
Passions and Places.

We loved Bai Tu Long Bay for its quiet – dropping anchor each evening you aren’t surrounded by thousands of boats like in Ha Long Bay, so we found it to be a less touristy, more exclusive form of cruising the region. We also loved the kayaking portion of it because it was just such an exquisite area to explore. Our guide took us into a deserted cove and the small group of us were left in almost perfect silence, surrounded just by the soaring limestone karsts and chirping birds in the trees. It was like we were suspended in time

James and Lee
Travel Scribes.

The first thing (and last thing) that stays with you on a trip to Bai Tu Long is the striking landscape. It’s like something out of a fantasy film; breathtakingly beautiful and unlike any other place on Earth. We also really loved the peace and tranquillity of the dawn, Vietnamese coffee in hand, as mist swirled between the pinnacles. One morning we were accompanied by hundreds of dragonflies as the rising sun shimmered through the mist; a moment we’ll always remember.

Danielle and John
Two for the World.

Bai Tu Long Bay FAQs

Not more than an afterthought to Ha Long Bay in the popular imagination, Bay Tu Long Bay is in fact a separate bay, with clearly delineated borders which set it apart from the neighboring tourist giant (the same is true for Lan Ha Bay, another overshadowed beauty in the area).

That said, it needs to be noted that geologically speaking, Bai Tu Long Bay is a seamless extension of Ha Long Bay, and for this reason it exhibits a landscape identical with that in Halong Bay. Ever since Halong Bay shot to popularity in the latter stages of the 20th century and received the nod as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, tour operators have been lumping the attractions of the 3 bays under a single Halong Bay brand, oftentimes cruising their tourist boats across the greater Halong Bay area without even informing their clients that strictly speaking, they aren’t in Ha Long anymore. Not that it would make any difference to the passengers – the 3 bays are all marvelous!

This is clearly a matter of taste, and simply depends on what you are seeking. Halong Bay is nothing short of sensational; for many it is the highlight of their holiday in Vietnam. However, consider yourself warned that sadly, the beauty of Halong Bay is threatened as more foreign and domestic tourists flock to its already populated islands and waterways.

Bai Tu Long Bay, on the other hand, is just as beautiful and exciting as Ha Long, but visibly less polluted and less crowded. Just like in Halong Bay, throughout Bai Tu Long there are giant limestone karsts jutting out of the tranquil green waters – the only difference being perhaps is that in Bai Tu Long these outcrops are slightly taller and more densely concentrated. With fewer tourists around, guests in Bai Tu Long Bay have a wonderful feeling of being somewhere undiscovered and truly pristine.

The weather is obviously the main factor to consider when choosing the most attractive time to visit the north of Vietnam.

It gets somewhat chilly here in January and February, whilst May typically marks the arrival of southern monsoons which last until September. March – April and September – October are therefore the best choices for your trip; neither too hot nor too cold, with clear skies above your head.

Need more information about the best time to visit the bays? Check out our Halong Bay weather guide!

Bai Tu Long Bay cruises cost between $120 and $300 depending on the itinerary and size of the cruise ship. While some travelers opt to discover the attractions themselves, booking a cruise is the most time and cost-effective way to see the best of the bay in style and comfort.

Welcome Onboard!

Bai Tu Long in Vietnam is a fantastic choice for a laid-back cruise in the greater Halong Bay area – away from the crowds and in the midst of some proper fun. If you can already picture yourself there, then just choose from these Bai Tu Long Bay cruises and welcome onboard!

Discover The Beauty Of Bai Tu Long Bay