Escape the touristy Halong Bay cruises for an one-of-a-kind adventure to the stunning Lan Ha Bay – Vietnam’s hidden gem! Board a 3* boutique junk and set sail to discover the secluded spots that most tourists miss. Explore remote areas of Lan Ha Bay, kayak in and out of little islets, visit a mysterious cave, enjoy swimming in the bay, hike through the jungle and take part in a Vietnamese cooking class on board! However, the most unique aspect of this tour is spending the night a homestay in a sustainable eco-village on Cat Ba Island – something that no other Lan Ha Bay Tour offers! This unique and swashbuckling adventure promises tranquility, charm and unforgettable scenery. It’s all the best of Halong Bay minus the crowds!
Itinerary – 3 Days, 2 Nights
- START – DAY 1: Hanoi 7:30 am (free pick-up from your accommodation in the Hanoi Old Quarter )
- FINISH – DAY 3: Hanoi 4:15 pm or 6:45 pm (free drop-up in Hanoi Old Quarter)
Day 1: Hanoi – Lan Ha Bay
- 7.30 am – 7.45 am: You will be collected from Hanoi Old Quarter and travel to Hai Phong Port, where we arrive at around 11.30am. You will travel by comfortable VIP bus.
- 12.15 pm: Guests are welcomed on board the cruise and enjoy a welcome drink 🍸 before settling in to life aboard the boat. You will receive a cruise brief and safety instructions by the cruise manager and crew.
- 12.30 pm: Lunch is served as the boat starts to sail away from the harbour and into some incredible scenery, passing by tiny islets. These amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner. This area is untouched, as not many cruise ships use the route via the Cat Ba Island – Coc Ngoi islet – through Cua Dong to Ba Trai Dao area.
- 2.30 pm: The Cruise sails through Lan Ha Bay. The area is surrounded by extraordinary limestone karst landscapes. You disembark the boat and visit the Dark & Bright Cave and islets by kayak (all activities are optional). The cave is a wild and mysterious beauty right in the middle of this UNESCO World Heritage area and kayaking is a great way to explore!
- 3.30 pm: The boat stops in a tranquil area of the bay where you can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime swim amidst this incredible landscape.
- 4.45 pm: You will return to the boat to relax and grab yourself a drink in the early evening with happy hour deals! You have the option to take part in a short cooking class where the cruise chef will instruct you in the making of the famous Vietnam spring-roll. Relax and watch the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin whilst the chef prepares the rest of your meal.
- 7 pm: Dinner is served. Enjoy delicious local food prepared and served for you by the wonderful onboard catering staff.
- 9 pm: Enjoy the tranquil landscape of Lan Ha Bay at night up on the top deck. Relax.
Day 2: Lan Ha Bay – Cat Ba Island – Viet Hai Village
- 6 am: Begin your new day nice and early by enjoying the sunrise from your cabin window or from the sun-deck where you can capture some magnificent photos.
- 7 am: Enjoy a delicious breakfast and take in the peaceful beauty of the bay at this early hour.
- 8.30 am: Transfer to a small tender boat which will take you to Viet Hai Village on Cat Ba Island. Here, you will hop on a bicycle ride (electric car also available for those who prefer) and cycle through a rainforest tunnel that leads to a village nestled in a valley deep in a national park. Visit a traditional house and greet local inhabitants doing their daily work, see their homes and the village school. Return to the cruise boat to collect your things for spending the night at the homestay.
- 1o am: Get dropped off at your homestay and check into your room. Feel free to explore the area by yourself: The village plays host to traditional houses; in the surrounding areas you will find local farmers and their water buffaloes plowing the green fields; and the indigenous forest is a sight to behold. Be sure to take your camera along as you discover this serene island and its friendly inhabitants!
- 12 pm: Enjoy lunch at the homestay and take a moment to rest and relax.
- 1.30 pm – 5 pm: The host will show you the map of Viet Hai, leading you into the forest for a hike and exploration of a mysterious cave.
- 6 pm: Enjoy a traditional dinner at the homestay
- 8 pm – 9.30 pm: Join a night kayaking tour, paddling to small coves under starlight and maybe even witnessing glowing plankton, transforming this already idyllic landscape into a dreamscape!
Day 3 – Viet Hai Village – Hanoi
- 8am – Breakfast is served at the homestay, after which you have free time to visit the village to see the daily life of the local people (making rice wine, farming…).
- 10.45 am – Enjoy a farewell brunch served at the homestay before taking a boat to Beo Pier.
- 11.20 am – Leave Viet Hai Village by speed boat.
- 11.40 am Arrive in Beo Pier in Cat Ba Town. From here, you will take the connection back to Hanoi or if you prefer to continue your onward journey to other parts of Vietnam, the guide will happily help you to arrange.
On this unique tour, you will spend one night on the cruise boat (private room with private bathroom) and one night in a village homestay (private room with private bathroom).
Cruise boat: Private room. Double room, kingsize bed, AC, private bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, hot shower, amazing views.
Homestay: Private room. Double bed, AC, private bathroom, hot shower, balcony, sounds of nature.
All food is included during the tour. Meals are freshly cooked with locally sourced ingredients, Vietnamese style cooking. Vegetarian and vegan options available. If you have a special dietary requirement you can be catered for. Please provide further details in the ‘additional information’ box when booking.
English and Vietnamese speaking guide.
- Free pick-up at your accommodation
- Transport to and from Hanoi
- Cruise boat
- All accommodation during the tour
- All food during the tour
- All entrance fees
- Activities: trekking, kayaking, cooking class, cave visits, cycling.
Does Not Include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Travel insurance
- Is this tour suitable for families with children? Yes, this trip is suitable for families with young children.
- I have dietary requirements, can this tour cater to me? – Are you vegetarian, vegan or have an allergy? Please let us know when booking if you have any special dietary requirements and we will try our best to accommodate.
- What should I pack for the trip? Pack light clothes, a rain jacket, a warm jumper or fleece, trainers or trekking shoes, swimwear.
- Can I leave my larger luggage somewhere while I do this trip? Yes, you can leave your luggage at the Friends Travel Vietnam office while you do this tour.
- Can I travel elsewhere after the tour rather than back to Hanoi? Yes, it is possible to get a connection to other parts of Vietnam rather than going back to Hanoi. Extra costs may apply depending on where you plan to go.
- What is the best time of year to do this trip? It is possible to visit Lan Ha Bay all year round, though the winter months (November – February) are the coldest. The Spring (March – May) and the Autumn (September – October) are delightful with blue skies and mild temperatures. Choose the summer if you like hot weather.
- What is the average age of people on the tour? This tour caters to all ages from young children to older adults. All activities are optional for all fitness levels.