Resting during a trip is extremely vital. You won’t be able to enjoy any trip without getting fully charged with energies for a new day ahead. After a day of outside activities, you need a comfy place to take a good rest!
But for your Halong Bay trip, it’s not only about getting a good sleep. Imagine laying down on the sundeck, looking at the starry sky, feeling the ocean breeze and hearing the sound of waves crashing on the boat.
Or spend a night on an island, getting yourself a tent and live like a fisherman.
You can have all those experiences during your Halong Bay trip. And if you’re still wondering where to stay in Halong Bay, check out this blog before making the final decision!
Where to Stay in Halong Bay: Staying Overnight on Cruise
If you’re an ocean lover, enjoy the trip at the fullest! Overnight on cruise is considered the best place to stay in Halong Bay. You can spend all night long listening to timeless sound of splashing ocean waves as you find yourself facing a blue shimmering sea. Obviously this is the most romantic way to spend your night in Halong Bay.
Also, a one day cruise does not offer you activities you can only do after the sun sets! Sunset and sunrise in Halong Bay is so jaw-dropping, surely you never want to miss it! You can sit on the sundeck, take a sip of wine while watching the sun slowly disappears behind splendid limestone islands. When the night falls, after tasty dinner onboard, you can go for 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 Taichi exercises and looking for a day full of wonders ahead.
So, what kind of cruise you should take to make those dreams come true? 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 onboard, you need to book at least 2D1N cruise or better 3D2N one. There are some different routes you should put into consideration.
a. Lan Ha Bay: Quieter, but for wild and energetic travelers
If you prefer enjoying your night in a quiet area, you should definitely choose this route. Lan Ha Bay has the same karst limestone outcrops and besides, it even has white sandy beaches. If you’re a beach lover and coral diving, this is the perfect answer for your question: Where to stay in Halong Bay!
Normally only 4* – 5* boats provide night-stay service on Cat Ba – Lan Ha Bay. Expect your room to be luxurious and spacious, with private balconies overlooking the spectacular views of Lan Ha Bay. (View list of cruises going Lan Ha Bay route here)
b. Bai Tu Long Bay: Least touristy, best suit for leisure travelers
Another option, an off-the-beaten-path one, for those who want to stay away from over-crowded attractions. Bai Tu Long Bay, as known as “The Bay Less Traveled”, possesses a similar landscape with Halong Bay with clearer water and less pollution. But it doesn’t get even a fraction of 6 million tourists that travel to Halong Bay each year. It’s actually a hidden gem and if you want to be one of a few who know how spectacular this area look, book your Bai Tu Long cruise now!
c. Halong Bay: Bustling, ideally for busyness-loving travelers
No one reading this blog has no idea about Halong Bay so we won’t need to introduce more. This route is no doubt the most popular one. If you want to check out all the places/activities people have been talking about, get yourself on a Halong Bay cruise. At night, most boats will gather with lights on, making it a floating city.
Tip: Still hesitating which route to choose? Halong Bay vs Lan Ha Bay? Lan Ha Bay vs Bai Tu Long Bay? Don’t worry, this guide will help you out!
Where to Stay in Halong Bay: Staying on Island
If you love being surrounded by the ocean or struggle from motion sick, another experience you should make the most of during your Halong Bay trip is staying on island. There are about 1,600 islands on Halong Bay but just a few of them can host your night. Being on island gives you chances to go swimming at night, trekking at day and eating lots of cheap seafood. What else? There are even some bars/pubs if you wish to socialize. And if tired from humans already, you can go visit 32 other types of mammal at Cat Ba National Park. These islands will offer experiences you can’t have if staying onboard or inland.
If you’ve already got excited, let’s find out how to stay on island? There are 2 options for you to consider: booking a 3 Days 2 Nights cruise or take a one day trip to the island and stay. For the former, you will spend your first night onboard and the second night on island. It’d be the perfect option if you’d love to try out both. And with the latter, you can simply take a boat to your island and stay there since then, checking out all the activities it has to offer.
Now, it all comes down to the question: “Which island should I choose?”. There are actually quite many to put into consideration as they are all different. We will list down our recommended islands as well as their pros and cons.
a. Cat Ba Island
As one of the most inhabited islands, Cat Ba Island will make your staying in nature really comfortable. Here in Cat Ba, you can enjoy your day at the fullest! In the morning, you can go trekking in the national park, which is filled with great hiking trails. In the afternoon, you can jump into the jade blue ocean and watch the sunset later on. And when the night falls, go for seafood and socializing at pub. Au Co Cruise Halong, Emerald Cruise Halong and Emerald Premium Cruise Halong will feature Cat Ba Island in their itinerary.
However, there is a small disadvantage you should consider. Cat Ba is less touristy than Halong Bay but in general, it is still more crowded than other islands/islets. If you are looking for a wild experience, Cat Ba might be off the table.
b. Titop Island
Just by looking at the picture, Titop is obviously among the most picturesque islands in the bay and no wonder it is considered 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 do a large range of water sports and activities here such as swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking. Since tourism is quite developed on Titop, you can find lots of bars, restaurants and shops. However, here comes with a price: it’s obviously not a solitary place. If you don’t want to be surrounded by so many tourists, Titop shouldn’t be your choice.
c. Co To Island
Co To is a sleeping beauty and you should visit her before more tourists come wake her up. She will charm you easily with her white sandy beaches, the turquoise waters, the craggy cliff faces, and cheap but delicious seafood. Here you can do lots of water-sport activities or spend a romantic day driving/walking along the streets. Since Co To owns the untouched beauty, it’s the best option for those who would love to explore something new, something wild, something great. But it also means that you might not be able to find what you need for your convenient life here.
d. 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 a mysterious island, keeping intruders away. As one of the least touristy islands, Soi Sim won’t be for those who are looking to be fully served as a tourist.
e. Quan Lan Island
Another option for nature lovers! Expect to be charmed by the pristine beauty and wilderness of the earth 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 big shrimps, worm tails and sea cucumber. Quan Lan is no doubt the best place for swimming, kayaking and being lazy in 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 rest only. 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 your hotel, exploring Halong city, visiting night markets as well as checking out other attractions in the city center.
Halong is a crowded, developed city so you will find almost everything you need with the price varying from 250,000VND to millions a night! There are a huge numbers of hotels/hostels in the city and based on your budget as well as interested location, you can easily book one that meets your interests. However, we also list down some highly recommended hotels just in case you are in need:
a. Novotel Ha Long Bay
Address: 160 Ha Long road Ha Long City, Quang Ninh
This 4* hotel is perfect for business and family trips with the conveniences it offers right in the heart of Bai Chay.
b. Halong Park Hotel
Address: Co Tien, Bac Dang Ward, Halong City, Quang Ninh
This is only a 2* hotel but it is highly recommended by people who stayed here.
c. Zostay Halong Backpackers
Address: 7/19 Gieng Don, Tran Hung Dao, Ha Long, Quang Ninh
If you are looking for a place to socialize, Zostay is your best choice out there.