Real Lan Ha Bay Cruise | 3 Days | from HANOI, VIETNAM

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Friends Travel Vietnam


(35 Reviews)

(6 customer reviews)
100% of travellers gave more than 4 star rating.

🛳️ Cruise Type: 3-star
🛏️ Accommodation: One night on the boat. One night in village homestay. Private rooms with private bathrooms.
🍜 Food: All meals included. Delicious local food. Buffet style. Vegetarian/vegan options.
✨ Tour Highlights: Cruise through tranquil Lan Ha Bay, Eco village homestay, cave visits, kayaking (+ night kayaking), cycling, jungle hiking and viewpoints, cooking class.
🇻🇳 Start | End: Hanoi. (Alternative drop-off: Ninh Binh)
🛻 Transport: Pick-up and drop-off at your accommodation included. 

From $379.00

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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. Note: transport to Hanoi and Ninh Binh are included in the price of the tour. 


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.

What’s Included


  • Free pick-up and drop-off 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.

Refund Policy

  • To book, pay a deposit online through South East Asia Backpacker. This deposit is fully refundable if you cancel at least 72 hours before the activity starts.
  • The rest of the payment is made directly to the operator according to their instructions.
  • Important: This refund policy applies only to the deposit made on this website. Any later payments made to the operator are subject to their own refund policy.
  • Check our customer terms and conditions for more details.

Why Book With Us?

Hi, I’m Nikki and I started South East Asia Backpacker in 2008 after my own first solo backpacking trip! My vision was to create a travel diary for everyone, a place for travellers to share their experiences from the road. After backpacking and writing about Southeast Asia for over 10 years, I saw the opportunity to provide backpackers with the kind of experiences that I’d treasured myself in the region! 

Today, there is so much choice, but there are a lot of poor-quality tours and companies that offer mediocre experiences with little care for the environment. I wanted to create a selection of the best tours and activities to help backpackers avoid scams and dodgy tour companies.

Today, I run this website with my partner, Dave, from Spain, where we live with our energetic two-year-old daughter, Evie. All of the bookable activities that you will find on this website have been vetted by a member of our team and we have a friendly relationship with the operator. There are real humans behind South East Asia Backpacker and we are passionate about sustainable travel and development in Southeast Asia.

We are committed to helping travellers at every stage of the journey and understand that plans can change which is why we offer a full discount on the deposit up to 72 hours before the start of your trip, no questions asked. We offer advice on flights, visas, itineraries, hostels, backpacks, packing and more!

If you have any questions about our business or any of the tours that we provide, feel free to contact me on Whatsapp.

What's Included


  • Transport from Hanoi
  • Pick up at your hotel in the old quarter
  • All meals during the trip.
  • All activities as outlined in the itinerary: Kayaking, visiting the Dark & Bright Cave, Forest Hike with Guide, Night Kayaking to see bioluminescent plankton.
  • English speaking guide.
  • Accommodation: One night on the boat, one night on the homestay.

Not Included

  • Travel Insurance.
  • Water, Soft & Alcoholic Drinks.
  • Snacks.
  • Tips.

Q & A

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Operator Information

  • Store Name: Friends Travel Vietnam
  • Operator: Friends Travel Vietnam
  • 4.86 rating from 35 reviews

6 reviews for Real Lan Ha Bay Cruise | 3 Days | from HANOI, VIETNAM

Based on 6 reviews
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Showing 1 of 6 reviews (4 star). See all 6 reviews
1-5 of 6 reviews
  1. The Lan Ha Bay tour was amazing!! Both – the cruise and the village – were unique experiences, supreme beauty. I guess the best moment was watching the incredible panorama passing by while lying in a comfy bed, the moment to remember for a lifetime:) The tour was packed with exciting activities, while none of them mandatory, so the pace was relaxing. Canoeing, cycling, hiking up to the hill with breathtaking view were my favourites. Appreciated time in the village – nice local people, and staying overnight allowed to feel real vibe of it (much better than just passing through would be).
    Logistics well organized, comfy and at some moments individual transportation, small group, non-touristic places, clean nature.
    The local operator Friends Travel Vietnam were so kind and helpful with arranging some of our travel needs afterwards in South of Vietnam.
    Thanks for the experience, worth every penny!

    (0) (0)
  2. Not quite as advertised, but still good. We booked this tour but the details in our itinerary differed from what was offered— we got picked up off the (amazing) boat earlier than our itinerary and thus missed the brunch on the boat, and got to the island very very early (before 9am) without any input on things to do or see until our hike to the top of a mountain which was also later in the day than our itinerary (2pm). The views were amazing but there were no caves. Additionally, we did not get the night kayaking which was something I was most looking forward to. Overall, it was an amazing experience and the boat was phenomenal, but a few tweaks would have made it perfect

    (0) (0)
  3. We made the right choice booking this unique tour. The Lan Ha Bay cruise was very well organized, lovely helpful staff, no crowds or pollution, and amazing feasts for the meals, which included all kinds of fresh seafood. First class. We loved the speedboat ride to the village harbour. A beautiful home stay with lots of interest. The guide was terrific. We had a hike to a bat cave and the most magical night kayak to see the phosphorescent plankton. He also arranged transport for us to the hotel we were going to outside Cat Ba Town. Note there is a weekend premium fee and Visa payment charge for this tour — that might be a standard practice. So it was more expensive than advertised but still great value for money. Highly recommend it.

    (0) (0)
  4. This cruise was amazing!! We booked for seven people (one vegan and two vegetarian)—they were super accommodating and we had wonderfully clean rooms and a really great adventure. The viet hai village was beautiful and the stay with the local people was a very cool experience. Lots of fun activities included as well.

    (0) (0)
  5. This was a great tour with much care and attention given to details. Even though the weather was not great we still had a memorable trip. Food on the boat was amazing. Comfy beds. Professional crew who looked after us very well. The home stay in Viet Hai was beautifully quiet after the chaos and pollution of Hanoi. Truly authentic. Good English speaking guide for the hike up the mountain and wonderful hospitality from our hosts. Recommended.

    (0) (0)
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