Things to do in Halong City for shore excursion travelers

This article is all about showing the best things to do in Halong city and travel guide for Halong Shore excursion travellers 2023 written by Hanoi Eco Tour team will show you everything you need for a perfect trip in Halong city. 

After well-researched on the internet, I haven’t found any article showing down-to-earth information about things to do in Halong for a shore excursion trip. Nowadays, thousands of cruise ship visitors pay a visit to Halong city in a day trip. Even having spare time at night, they are looking for a recommendation from local experts and I am here to help

Things to do in Halong city - the city map

Things to do in Halong city – Halong city map

Target audience for this article

  • Backpackers who are staying in a hostel in Hanoi Bay
  • Shore excursion traveller who don’t go on a guided tour
  • Travellers who are able to stay overnight on a Halong Bay cruise because of bad weather condition
  • Travellers have already check out the hotel room and free until the pick up to Hai Phong airport
  • The businessman has finished their work in Halong city but want to see highlights of the city

Suggested itinerary for Halong city tour – Things to do in Halong city

Bai Tho mountain peak

Bai Tho mountain peak in Halong city

Morning: Check out Halong market with tons of fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables and shop some souvenirs. The one near Long Tien pagoda, where you can also check out after the market. This is a must for those who like to see local living in Halong city. Have lunch in Hoai Thu restaurant for authentic local food in bai Chay area.

Check out Quang Ninh museum and Bai Tho mountain in the afternoon to see an overview of Halong City . If you want to go for shopping, see Vincom Halong

Optional: If you like something cool and fun, then take a queen cable car to see a panoramic view of Halong Bay area.

Note : Bai Tho peak is now closed for construction. It is properly open this year. We will update the latest news. 

Things to do near Halong city for a day trip

Take 4 or 6 hours cruise on Halong Bay

Halong Bay fighting cock islet

Fighting cock islet – The most famous islets in Halong Bay

If you ask me what to do in Halong city, I suggest cruising on a traditional junk. A must for visitors to Halong Bay. Please note that the trip to the cave is very busy because there are thousands of tourists going on a cruise tour. If you want to avoid big crowd then this tour isn’t for you nor taking a Cruise tour on Bai Tu Long bay

4 hours trip itinerary includes a visit to Thien Cung (Heavenly palace cave) and bamboo boat ride in Ba Hang floating village (Optional)

6 hours boat ride includes a visit to Surprising cave and Titov island for swimming or bamboo boat ride in Luon cave for 30 minutes

Is that worth for taking Halong Bay day trip? 

For those who have limited time, it is worth doing to see its highlights but to be honest, overnight cruise is always better

Yen Duc village tour

Yen Duc village tour

Yen Duc village tour – One of the rural tour near Halong bay

Within 1.5 hour drive from Halong: Check out Canh Huong pagoda, a bike ride around the village, lunch with authentic local food and see a water puppet show

Yen Tu mountain complex

Yen Tu mountain

Lost in Yen Tu Mountain complex with amazing beauty

with stunning view and learn about history of Vietnamese Buddhism. This is hidden gem of Halong area. 

Hai Phong city tour from Halong 

Hai Phong Opera house

Hai Phong Opera house – Important landmarks of the city

Du Hang pagoda, Hai Phong Opera house, flower market, zero pillar where Vietnamese has transferred weapons from the North to the South to support VC (Viet Cong) during Vietnam War

Bai Tu Long cruise day trip 

Bai Tu Long bay cruise

Bai Tu Long cruise – an ideal place for off the beaten track

This is an off the tourist trail cruise in an untouched remote Bai Tu Long area for its hidden gems. Several companies offer this trip. It is a perfect choice if you are not a big fan of mass tourism or touristy area. 

Dragon park and Queen cable car 

queen cable car halong

Queen cable car in Halong

This day trip is perfect for family with kids or group travel who like to have fun and see great view from above. With 30 attractions to satisfy adventure travelers. 

Tips : Please note that the cable car only runs at 2.00pm during the weekdays. You may have to wait from 15 to 20 minutes for a ride. Remember to take a front seat for the best panoramic view of the bay. 

Lan Ha Bay – A great alternative to Halong bay

Private Lan ha Bay day tour from Cat ba/Hai Phong

The landscape of Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay is similar. Why don’t you take a Lan Ha Bay cruise tour, way less touristy than Halong Bay. It is just 45-minute on a ferry ride and another 45-minute drive to the town and Cat Ba to take a boat tour.

This tour suits active travelers; activities include kayaking, and swimming in secluded beaches and hidden spots. I’m sure that you will have an enjoyable tours comparing to the Halong Bay tours which is overcrowded everytime the shore excursion guests arrive 

Advices, tips and guides for shore excursion travellers in Halong 

Guided tour or travel on your own?

Due to limited time of shore excursions trip, you’d better arrange at least private transfer service or book a guided tour. The tour guide will arrange all itinerary which help you see highlights of the trip at its best and return to the cruise on time. 

 If you are travelling in a group from 10 above, the tour rate is really good. 

Some travellers want to save money and travel on your own, they found a hard time taking a taxi, show them where to go, call a taxi again and wait for another one. When they show up at the spots, it was closed or not available. 

Why is a shore excursion trip is higher than a regular tour

With the following reasons why the guided tour is more expensive than a regular one

+ Passengers need to pay for port fee around $15 to $20 per person.

+ Most of tour guide and transfer are from Hanoi. The company need to arrange accommodation for tour guide and driver. On the other hand, the tour guide requires a higher fee than a regular tour because most finish their job from 5.00pm to 7.00pm and with 3.5 hours transfer back to Hanoi. It is a hard-working day with 12 hours on tour so they deserve to get a higher salary.

+ Boat cruise for shore excursion are private so that it is a bit extra than a seat in coach tour

+ If you miss the cruise ship some cases, let’s book the flights from Halong to next cruise destination in Vietnam, Danang is the most common for second stop. There are two close airports for taking flights are Van Don airport (60 kilometres from Halong) or Cat Bi airport in Hai Phong (50 kilometres from Halong) 

Frequently asked question for Halong 

Which cruise is best for Halong Bay?

Depends on your budget, activities and duration of stay to choose the best suitable one. There are tons of choices. Please see this article for further information 

How to choose a right cruise for your Halong Bay Tour 

How much is Halong Bay cruise?

Standard cruise ranges from $110 to $130 

Deluxe cruise ranges from $180 to $240

Luxury cruise ranges from $270 to $350 

All rate above is per person for 2 days 1 night trip

How long should I stay in Halong Bay? 

2 days 1 night for short stay 

3 days 2 nights for relaxing trip

Where do Halong Bay cruises leave from?

There are two ports is Tuan Chau Marina offers Halong Bay tour and Vinashin in Halong city, offer tours to Bai Tu Long bay

Scuba diving in Halong Bay

No, you are not allowed to do scuba diving because it is a UNESCO site. Phu Quoc island, Cham island near Hoi An, Nha Trang seems to be these best spots for scuba diving

Hiking up Bai Tho mountain

According to government law, you are not allowed to climb because there used to have an accident there. But there is a hidden trail from a local family to reach its top where you must climb on rocks and follow the trails too.

Halong Bay Cruise to quieter areas?

There is no quieter areas in Halong since it has become a mass tourism destination. Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long bay is less touristy 

Which transfer services from Halong city to Cai Bi airport in Hai Phong?

Using grab or taxi for a ride from Halong to Hai Phong which costs around $32 includes toll fee or ask the hotel where you are staying to arrange it for you.

Halong Shore Excursion day trips from Halong

As cruise passengers, we offer tons of day trip options to choose from

If you need to book a Halong shore Excursion trip, please get in touch with us via email at  or

WhatsApp: +84.974.313.104

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Hanoi Eco Tour’s team hope this article about things to do in Halong city for Halong Shore excursion travellers helps you some way to plan a trip in Halong City and its surrounding.

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