Resting during a trip is important. After a day of outdoor activities, you need a comfy place to sit back and relax – but in the case of your Halong Bay trip, it’s actually more than just getting a good night’s sleep. Imagine laying down on the sundeck, looking at the starry sky above you, feeling the ocean breeze and hearing the sound of waves gently lapping against the boat.
You could also spend a night on an island in a tent, for a sense of what it feels like to be a fisherman around here. Read the post below to find out what your options are with respect to overnight stays in the area – and if you’re looking for more background information before your trip, make sure you also read our list of top 20 Halong Bay tourist attractions as well as our definitive comparison of the three bays out there: Ha Long, Lan Ha and Bai Tu Long.
Where to Stay in Halong Bay: Overnight on a Cruise
If you’re an ocean lover, enjoy the trip to the fullest! Overnight on a cruise is considered the best place to stay in Halong Bay. You can spend all night long listening to the timeless sound of splashing waves as you find yourself facing a blue shimmering sea. Obviously this is also the most romantic way to spend your night in Halong Bay.
Moreover, a one day cruise does not offer activities that you can only do after night falls! Sunset and sunrise in Halong Bay are so jaw-dropping, it’s something you surely don’t want to miss! You can sit on the sundeck, take a sip of wine while watching the sun slowly disappear behind the spectacular limestone islands. When night falls, after a delightful dinner onboard, you can go squid fishing, one of the most engaging activities for tourists. And the best way to start the day is waking up to the picturesque sunrise, doing some tai chi exercises and looking forward to a wonderful day.
So, what kind of cruise should you take to tick those off your bucket list? As we said, a one day cruise is definitely a no – no. It’s just a last resort when you’ve got no time to spare. If you want to stay overnight on a cruise, you need to book a two day, one night cruise or better yet a three day, two night cruise. There are also different routes that you should put into consideration.
Lan Ha Bay: Quieter, But for Wild and Woolly Travelers
If you prefer enjoying your night in a quiet area, you should definitely choose Lan Ha Bay. This area has the same karst limestone outcrops in Halong Bay and besides, it has pristine, white sandy beaches. Make no mistake about it though, Lan Ha is an extension of Halong but located in a different province. If you’re a beach lover and fond of coral diving, this is the perfect answer to your question: Where to stay in Halong Bay?
Normally only 4 – 5 boats offer night stay service on Cat Ba – Lan Ha Bay. Expect your room to be luxurious and spacious, with private balconies overlooking the stunning views of the bay. (Kindly view the list of cruises taking the Lan Ha Bay route here).
Bai Tu Long Bay: Least Touristy, Best Suited for Leisure Travelers
Another option, an off-the-beaten-track one, for those who want to stay away from overcrowded attractions. Bai Tu Long Bay, also known as “The Bay Less Traveled”, possesses a similar landscape as Halong Bay but with clearer and more tranquil waters. It doesn’t get even a fraction of the 6 million tourists that travel to Halong Bay each year. It’s a hidden gem and if you want to be one of a few who know how spectacular this area looks, book your cruise now!
Halong Bay: Bustling and Ideal for Business-Minded Travelers
It’s quite likely that everyone reading this blog post has heard about Halong Bay so we don’t need to say more. This route is no doubt the most popular one. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. If you want to check out all the places and activities that people have been talking about, get yourself on a Halong Bay cruise. At night, most boats gather with all their lights on, making it a floating city.
Where to Stay in Halong Bay: On An Island
If you love being surrounded by the ocean or if you struggle from motion sickness, another experience you should make the most of during your Halong Bay trip is staying on an island. There are about 1,600 islands on Halong Bay but just a few of them can host your overnight stay. Being on an island gives you chances to go swimming at night, trekking at day and eating lots of cheap seafood. What else? There are some bars/pubs if you wish to socialize. The islands will offer unique experiences that you can’t have if you just decide to stay onboard or inland.
If you’ve already got excited, let’s find out how to stay on an island. There are two options for you to consider: booking a 3 Days 2 Nights cruise or take a one day trip. For the former, you will spend your first night onboard and the second night on an island. It’s the perfect option if you’d like to try both. And with the latter, you can simply take a boat to an island and stay there to experience all the activities it has to offer. The island can also serve as a jump off point to the other attractions in the area that you really can’t afford to miss.
Now, it all comes down to the question: “Which island should I choose?”. There are actually quite many to put into consideration and they are all different. Below is a list of our recommended islands, along with their respective pros and cons.
Cat Ba Island
As one of the most inhabited, Cat Ba Island is a chilled out place with a few small, but beautiful beaches, a rich culture and some spots with great nightlife. Here in Cat Ba, you can enjoy your day to the fullest! In the morning, you can go trekking in the national park, which is packed with amazing hiking trails. In the afternoon, you can jump into the jade blue ocean and watch the sunset later on. And when night falls, go feast on fresh seafood and socialize at the pubs.
However, there is a slight disadvantage that you should consider. Cat Ba Island is less touristy than Halong Bay, but in general, it is still more crowded than the other islets. If you are looking for the hustle and bustle of major tourist sites like Hanoi or Halong City, Cat Ba might be off the table.
Just by looking at the picture, Titop is obviously among the most picturesque islands in Halong Bay and no wonder it is a crowd favorite. Formerly called Cat Nang Island, it is now named after the Russian Cosmonaut Gherman Titov, who visited President Ho Chi Minh there in 1962. Although it is a relatively small island, Titop does have many to offer. You can enjoy water sports and other fun-filled activities here like swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking. Since tourism is quite developed on Titop, you can find lots of bars, restaurants and shops. Here’s the catch though: it’s obviously not a solitary place. If you don’t want to be surrounded by so many tourists, Titop may not be the right spot for you.
Co To Island
Co To is a sleeping beauty and you should visit her before more tourists come and wake her up. She will charm you with her white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, craggy cliff faces, and cheap but delicious seafood. Here you can do lots of water sport activities or spend a romantic day wandering through the streets. Since Co To is known for its untouched beauty, it’s the best option for those who would love to explore something new and something extraordinary. However, the island is not yet well developed in terms of lodging and other top-notch facilities so you may not be able to find what you need if you’re used to deluxe accommodation.
Soi Sim Island
One of the biggest hidden gems in Halong Bay, Soi Sim Island is where you should head to if you’re looking for a real solitary place. Unlike Halong Bay’s other main islands, the landscape on Soi Sim Island still retains all the pristine beauty that mother nature gifted it. Lush and green vegetation makes Soi Sim look like an ancient island, keeping intruders away. As one of the least touristy islands in the bay, Soi Sim won’t be for those who are looking to be fully served as a tourist.
Quan Lan Island
Another option for nature lovers! Expect to be charmed by the beauty and wilderness on Quan Lan Island! Imagine yourself laying down on the beach, enjoying the ocean breeze while admiring the fine work of Mother Nature. This island offers not only unique landscapes but also tasty seafood such as shrimp, worm tails and sea cucumber. Quan Lan is no doubt the best place for swimming, kayaking and being lazy in an airy atmosphere!
Last but not least: Staying Inland
Another option you can consider is staying inland. This is the best option if you want to take it slow and have plenty of rest. With the right hotel decision, you can spend your night on a comfy bed and still wake up viewing the magnificent Halong at sunrise. During the evenings, you can wander around Halong city, visit night markets and check out other attractions in the city center.
Halong is a bustling, well-developed city so you will find almost everything you need with the price varying from 250,000VND to millions a night! There’s a multitude of hotels in the city and depending on your budget and destination of interest, you can easily book one that suits your needs. To help you out, we came up with a list of highly recommended hotels. Check them out below.
Vinpearl Resort and Spa Ha Long
Address: Reu Island, Bãi Cháy, Halong Bay
Phone: +84 203 3556 868
With majestic views of the limestone islands scattered across the Gulf of Tonkin, the Vinpearl Ha Long Bay Resort is the first and largest 5-star resort in North Vietnam. It is exclusively located on Dao Reu, its own private island by the white sands of Bãi Chay. Vinpearl is your waterfront portal to the famed UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its bow-shaped design brings to mind the Opera House in the French city of Rennes, cuddling the splendid island setting with an invitingly relaxing beachfront stay with exceptional facilities. It offers an escape from a world of the mundane and ordinary to a paradise of luxury and romance.
Some of the notable amenities include 3 dining options, free WiFi, outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, children’s playground and on-site water sports facilities. Guests can go diving and snorkeling or enjoy a game of tennis. There is a 24-hour front desk, concierge, a currency exchange, and a business center. The nearest attractions are Bãi Chay Beach (3 min drive), Ha Long Night Market (4 min drive), Sun Square (4 min drive), Sun World Ha Long Park (5 min drive) and Typhoon Water Park (8 min drive).
Novotel Ha Long Bay
Address: 160 Ha Long road Ha Long City, Quang Ninh
Phone:+84 203 3848 108
Prepare to be dazzled by impressive panoramic views of Ha Long Bay at the 4-star Novotel. Chic contemporary design with a distinctive Asian touch sets the tone for your family holidays, business meetings or romantic getaways. The hotel has an ideal location because it has direct access to Bai Chay beach and other top attractions in the city center. It is only half an hour by car to the boat station in Tuan Chau island for a day cruise, and only five minutes away from the Sun World Ha Long Park complex.
Wyndham Legend Halong Hotel
Address: 12 Halong Street Bãi Cháy Ward, Halong Bay
Phone: +84 203 3636 555
The first hotel in Bãi Cháy to claim the international 5-star standard by a global hotel chain, the Wyndham Legend features 217 luxury rooms and suites with panoramic windows or private balconies overlooking Halong Bay and Bãi Chay Bridge. It offers easy access to downtown Halong and surrounding attractions. Along with the spacious luxury rooms and suites, the hotel boasts ultra-modern amenities, WiFi internet throughout, 2 on-site restaurants, 2 bars, a club lounge, a fitness center, and an array of other in-house upscale facilities. It will surely fit any of your traveling needs in both business trips and holiday vacation. Just a few minutes away by walk is the Ocean Park and the cable car station, so don’t miss your chance to take an exhilarating ride in Vietnam’s most challenging roller coaster and one of the world’s highest sun wheels.
Muong Thanh Quang Ninh Luxury Hotel
Address: Ha Long, Bãi Cháy, Thanh Pho Hạ Long, Quang Ninh
Phone: +84 203 3646 618
This smoke-free hotel offers 508 air-conditioned rooms, a full-service spa, a fitness center, a poolside bar, an outdoor tennis court, and an outdoor pool. All rooms are soundproofed and feature free WiFi, a personal safe, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a minibar, and 24-hour room service. The en suite bathroom offers a bathtub, toiletries, and a hairdryer. As for dining, Van Xuan serves Asian and Western dishes, while Thien Cung takes care of the daily breakfast buffet, serving Asian delicacies. The Muong Thanh is just 800 meters from Bãi Chay Beach, while both Halong Night Market and Marine Plaza are only 4 km away.
FLC Halong Bay Golf Club & Luxury Resort
Address: Ha Trung, Thanh Pho Ha Long, Quang Ninh
Phone: +84 93 269 99 93
This is the perfect choice for those who wish to take in the sights and sounds of Ha Long. From the hotel, guests can take full advantage of all that the city has to offer. With its ideal location, the resort offers easy access to the top attractions of Ha Long .
FLC Halong Bay Golf Club & Luxury Resort offers guests exceptional services and a wide range of amenities including free WiFi in all 649 rooms, 24-hour front desk, daily housekeeping, WiFi in public areas, a yoga room, a fitness center, sauna, and a spa. An 18-hole golf course, 3 restaurants, 3 bars/lounges, and an outdoor pool are also featured at this luxury resort.
You’ll find the Nha Tho Hon Gai Temple and the Quang Ninh Museum within 5 km of this resort. The Halong Bay Marina and the Long Tien Pagoda are also within 5 km. The Ha Long Queen Cable Car is 8 km away, and the nearest air terminal is the Cat Bi International Airport.
So there you have it! An extensive list of the best possible places for you to stay in when you visit Halong Bay. But before we end this post, we’d like to share with you a few common questions asked by some of the most avid travelers from across the globe:
How long should I stay in Halong Bay?
Normally, tourists need to stay for 2 to 3 days in Halong Bay, either on cruise or a hotel on land. The bay is relatively large and it has lots of attractions to offer. Simply put, the longer you stay the more you’ll be able to take in all the sights and sounds that this UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for.
Which Halong Bay cruise is the best?
There is actually no precise answer, because the ‘best’ cruise will depend largely on your preferences in terms of the weather, budget, length of stay, itinerary, food choices, among other factors. To make it easier for you to decide, browse through this post.
Which airport is closest to Halong Bay?
Van Don, Noi Bai and Cat Bi are the closest airports to Halong Bay. Technically, Cat Bi is the closest because it is just 45 km away followed by Van Don which is around 53 km from Halong City. However, it can be argued that Noi Bai in Hanoi is the most convenient airport for travel to Halong Bay because majority of tourists arriving to see one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature do so from the capital.