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:
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 Bay Attractions
Cong Dam Area
Hon Co Island
Tra Gioi Beach
Vung Vieng Fishing Village
Ban Chan Beach
Thien Canh Son Cave
Bai Tu Long National Park
Cap La Island
Cong Do Island
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).
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 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.
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
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
Is Bai Tu Long Bay a part of Halong Bay?
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!
Is Bai Tu Long better than Halong Bay?
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.
When to visit Bai Tu Long Bay?
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!
So how much does a Bai Tu Long Bay cruise cost?
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.
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!