Your bag
Bag whispers: "Fill me!"
Order Total
US$ 0

What You'll See and Do on a Halong Bay Cruise

A Halong Bay Cruise is jam packed with activities! Here is what you'll see and do

Last updated: 21 Sep 2023 - 5 min read
What You'll See and Do on a Halong Bay Cruise
What You'll See and Do on a Halong Bay Cruise
Hi! Welcome to Seek Sophie
We're obsessed with finding the best local guides and experiences. We only recommend what we love and hope you love them too.

A Halong Bay cruise is seen by many travellers as the must-do thing in Vietnam. All the cruises are jam-packed with activities, and their itineraries are pretty similar - kayaking, hiking, cave visits, floating villages, tai chi, cooking demonstration etc. But the key difference is that depending on the route the cruise takes, you might see a different floating village, or may visit a less crowded cave.

Here are some of the activities you can expect on a Halong Bay Cruise!



Kayaking through Halong Bay is probably the best way to explore the bay, and get close to nature. The calm emerald waters, narrower areas and system of cave tunnels make a perfect setting for kayaking. Don't worry if you can't swim, everyone is required to wear life vests and the possibility of capsizing is really low.

Tip: Since kayaking is a really popular activity, it's hard to avoid the crowds. Choose an itinerary that goes to the other less-touristy bays (Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay) if you want fewer people in the water with you!


Titov / Titop Island

Known for having a fantastic view of Halong, Titov is very popular amongst tourists. To get to the view above, you would have to take about 400 steps. They are quite steep, so you should have good stamina before deciding to climb up. The island also has a beach where jellyfish are common residents. Even so, we saw quite a number of people swimming happily, so it’s up to you!

Tip: This is one of the most crowded places in Halong Bay, so if you want to avoid it, you can take a cruise that goes to Lan Ha Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay, or look for an itinerary that has hiking on Cat Ba Island instead.

Titov / Titop Island

Sung Sot Cave

Also commonly known as Surprising Cave, Sung Sot Cave is the biggest and most famous cave in Halong Bay at 10,000m2. Here, you’ll be surrounded by age-old stalactites and stalagmites of various sizes and shapes. With some help from your guide, you’ll be able to make up some rocks shaped like a dragon, lion, and even King Kong! The pathways and stairs here are well-lit, though they may be quite steep in some of the deeper chambers. Because of its popularity, it can get very crowded, so you should probably give this a miss if you’re claustrophobic.

Tip: Some itineraries opt for smaller caves which give you a quieter and more intimate experience in exploring these ancient sites.

Sung Sot Cave

Floating Fishing Village 

The charming floating fishing villages of Halong bay will transport you back in time. The locals have lived there for generations, and you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how different life on water is, and the rich relationship that the villages have with the bay. You can explore the area by kayaking on your own, or sit in a bamboo boat where one of the locals will paddle your group around. Do note that you should expect to give some tips if you choose the bamboo boat.

Tip: If you’re stuck on which fishing village to visit, most of the fishing villages are quite similar, so don’t worry too much about that.

Floating Fishing Village 

Pearl Farm

At Halong Bay’s only Pearl Farm, you’ll get to learn the full process about how Vietnamese pearls are harvested and made. You should probably bring your wallet if you’re looking to purchase a nice souvenir from the shops there as the prices are still quite high despite it being a ‘farm’.

Tip: This is very touristy, and there might be some hard-selling from the salespeople there so be warned and have strong willpower! If you want to avoid it, go on the Lan Ha Bay route instead.

Pearl Farm

Visit Cat Ba Island

Visiting Cat Ba island is one the more adventurous and off-grid thing to do on a Halong Bay cruise, and only some of the cruises will offer this. Known as Halong Bay’s hidden gem, Cat Ba is the largest island on Halong Bay and has been growing in popularity recently. Despite this, it is still relatively unknown compared to Halong Bay and far less-touristy.

Here you can do lots of fun outdoorsy activities from hiking in Cat Ba National Park to cycling around the local villages. It's a lot more laid-back and rugged compared to other stops on a usual Halong cruise.

Visit Cat Ba Island

Cooking Demonstration

Most cruises will offer a cooking demonstration onboard in the afternoons. This isn't a cooking class but more of a chef showing you how to make traditional Vietnamese dishes like spring rolls and how to carve different kinds of vegetables and fruits.

Cooking Demonstration

Sunset Party

This is exactly how it sounds, where you’ll be able to overlook the sunset, nibble on some desserts, fresh fruits and juices to recharge your energy. Don’t worry, it’s not exactly a crazy party, but simply a round up for your trip where you can rest with a great sunset view on the way back to the port.

Sunset Party

Squid Fishing

What makes Squid Fishing so different from normal fishing? Squid fishing is best done at night, on an especially dark night without moonlight. Without the moon, the squids will most likely be attracted to the fishing lights and not be distracted by the moonlight!

This is an fun activity where you’ll have the excitement of catching your own squid (maybe cook them?!), and also be able to view Halong Bay’s beauty during night time where it is less misty.

Squid Fishing

Tai Chi

With around 250 million practitioners around the globe, tai chi is one of the world’s most popular physical activities but many people may not have tried it. Most of the cruises will offer tai chi sessions in the morning, where you can recharge your mind and body in the most gorgeous natural surrounds. The slow, flowing movements of tai chi definitely complements the peace and tranquility of the bay!

Tai Chi

Frequently Asked Questions

What can travellers expect to see during a Halong Bay cruise?

A Halong Bay cruise presents travelers with breathtaking sights, including limestone karsts jutting out of the water, hidden caves, floating villages, and lush greenery. The cruise boats often also include other activities such as cooking demonstrations, squid fishing, kayaking, swimming, visiting fishing communities, and exploring fascinating caves like Thien Cung Cave and Sung Sot Cave.

If you want to explore less-touristed parts of the bay, you can also choose boats that take you to adjacent bays like Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. These offer the same view as Halong Bay, but fewer boats go there so you can enjoy the views with fewer boats around. Some of the more adventurous cruises will also take you to Cat Ba island where you can cycle in Cat Ba national park and enjoy beautiful karst landscapes with fewer crowds.

What are the different types of Halong Bay Cruises?

You can take a one to three day cruise to Halong Bay.

  • One-day cruises: These cruises are a great option if you are short on time. They typically offer a few hours of cave visits, kayaking, swimming, and visiting floating villages.

  • Two-day/one-night cruises: These cruises are a good option if you want to experience more of Halong Bay. They typically include a night on the boat, which allows you to enjoy the beauty of the bay at night. They will have activities such as hiking, cooking classes, and tai chi.

  • Three-day/two-night cruises: These cruises are a great option if you want to experience the best of Halong Bay. They typically include more activities, and you can visit further out bays which are less crowded, and you can also have time for both sightseeing and enjoying the cruise amenities.

How to choose the best Halong Bay cruise for you?

When choosing a Halong Bay cruise, there are a few things to consider:

  • How much time do you have: Do you want a one-day cruise, a two-day/one-night cruise, or a three-day/two-night cruise?

  • Your budget: Halong Bay cruises can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. It is important to set a budget before you start looking at cruises.

  • Your preferences: Do you want a budget-friendly cruise or a more luxurious cruise?

  • The activities you want to do: Do you want to kayak, swim, visit floating villages, hike, or take cooking classes? Make sure the cruise you choose offers the activities you are interested in.

What is the best time to go on a Halong Bay cruise?

The best time to go on a Halong Bay cruise is during the dry season, which lasts from October to April. This period offers pleasant weather with clear skies, allowing for better visibility and enjoyable outdoor activities. However, October to December are peak season so if you want to avoid the crowds, you may want to avoid this time.

Are Halong Bay cruises suitable for families?

Yes, Halong Bay cruises are suitable for families. Many cruises offer family-friendly amenities, such as spacious cabins, child-friendly activities, and safety measures. It's recommended to check with the cruise operator for specific family-oriented services.

Ready to seek for yourself?
find us @seeksophie
For the seekers
Seek Sophie is a tribe of curious explorers looking for what's real, not what's on show for tourists. We seek out experiences that spark wonder, and leave us (and the places we visit!) a little brighter.
Stay in the Loop
Get travel inspo so epic, your out-of-office will practically write itself.
© Seek Sophie 2024PrivacyTerms