Bai Tu Long Bay Itinerary: Things First-Time Travelers Must Know
An Overview Of Bai Tu Long Bay
Bai Tu Long always has its own beauty that makes any tourist want to come back. Before finding an itinerary to visit the bay, let’s look at its location, beautiful scenes, the best time to visit, and how to get there. Also, I will reveal to you the legend about its name.
Bai Tu Long Bay
Bai Tu Long Bay is nestled alongside the world-renowned natural wonder of Ha Long Bay. Stretching across the domains of Cam Pha, Van Don, and a slice of Ha Long, this bay boasts over 600 islands.
Meaning Of The ‘Bai Tu Long’ Name
Bai Tu Long Bay derives its name from a captivating legend that intertwines history and mythology. Translated, Bai Tu Long means ‘the offspring landing of a child dragon.’
According to the legend, when the Vietnamese faced invaders, the heavenly ruler dispatched a family of dragons to aid them. Where the mother landed became Ha Long, while Bai Tu Long emerged where the offspring touched down.
These benevolent dragons spewed gems (islands today), forming a formidable barrier against enemy ships. These islands thwarted the invaders. As a result, the enemy army failed.
Things To See In Bai Tu Long Bay
Vung Vieng Village
This bay is a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural gems. Notable attractions include:
The Cong Do area
Vung Vieng village
Cong Dam area
Thien Canh Son cave
Teapot, Blockhouse, and Goat Head Islets
Each of these destinations offers a unique blend of breathtaking landscapes, traditional Vietnamese culture, and opportunities for adventure.
What Is The Best Month To Visit Bai Tu Long Bay?
Choosing when to visit Bai Tu Long Bay will help you fully appreciate its beauty. The optimal period is during autumn, specifically from September to November, when the weather is mild.
For those who prefer warmer weather, early summer (March, April, and May) provides ideal temperatures for water activities.
However, you should avoid visiting from June to August. In these months, there is potential heavy rainfall and even storms in the bay.
Autumn In The Bay
How To Visit Bai Tu Long Bay If You’re In Hanoi?
For those who come to this bay for the first time, there are three transportation options to consider when traveling from Hanoi:
By Bus: You can take a bus from Hanoi to the bus station in Hon Gai. Then, there will be smaller buses to help you go to the marina. There, you can rent a boat to the bay.
By taxi: You can take a taxi from Hanoi to Hon Gai Marina. This option helps you get to your destination faster than taking the bus.
By Seaplane: Feeling a bit bougie? There are seaplane services from Hanoi to the bay. With this means of transport, you’ll get a fancy view of the bay and islands.
Bai Tu Long Bay Itinerary
Tourists often choose a 2-day-1-night or even 3-day-2-night itinerary to explore this place fully. However, if you know how to organize your time, one day is still enough to have the best experience.
Here are three itinerary options you can consider depending on your time:
A 1-Day Trip
Since you only have a day to explore the bay, I will suggest the most convenient route so you can fully admire the beauty of this place.
06:00 AM: Hanoi go Hon Gai Marina
In the 1-day journey, you should kick off early at 06:00 AM. Trust me, you won’t want to miss a minute of this beauty. Now, you roll into Hon Gai Marina to board a boat to Bai Tu Long.
While you can take a taxi, I recommend the bus. It’s wallet-friendly, costing around $20, and you have time to admire the scenic route on the bus.
It takes about 3 hours to get to Hon Gai Marina. So, you’ll arrive at Hon Gai Marina at around 9:00 AM.
09:00 AM: Marina to Teapot, Blockhouse, and Goat Head Islets
Once you hit Hon Gai Marina in Bai Tu Long Bay, it’s time to jump on a boat and explore some cool spots, specifically Teapot, Blockhouse, and Goat Head Islets. Lucky for you, they’re close, just a 30-minute boat ride away.
And guess what? You only need 15 minutes to go from one islet to the other. That’s less time than a Netflix episode!
So, ensure your camera is charged because you’ll want to capture every bit of the beauty these islets offer. After visiting the other three islets, it’s around 10:30 AM.
Explore The Bay
11:00 AM: Arrive At Vung Vieng Village
Just tell the boat driver to take you to Vung Vieng Village. It’ll take you about 30 minutes. So, you’ll arrive there at around 11:00 AM.
You’ll need to paddle a small boat or kayak for about 20 minutes from the entrance to reach the heart of the fishing village because big boats aren’t allowed in this area. It’ll be a serene journey surrounded by the sounds of nature.
Once you step into Vung Vieng, the tranquility hits you right away. It’s a small fishing village. You’ll see the houses are snugly nestled next to each other, giving you a taste of the local life.
01:00 PM: Get To Cong Do Area
From Vung Vieng Village, hop on a kayak for a breezy 15-minute ride to reach the captivating Cong Do. Here’s where the bay flaunts its underwater wonders: Coral reefs, underground lakes nestled inside limestone mountains, and mysterious underwater caves.
Cong Do is a haven for beach lovers, boasting Cay Bang, Tra Gioi, and Cat Oan, each adorned with smooth sand and blue waters.
A Cave In Cong Do
02:30 PM: Explore A Cave (Thien Canh Son)
From Cong Do, take a detour to a cave named Thien Canh Son. Even the pathways leading to the cave are dreamy, surrounded by lush greenery.
The cave, crafted from layered limestone, spans about 400 steps and offers an impressive entrance experience.
As you step in, time seems to freeze, transporting you back millennia. Inside the cave, you’ll see thousands of sparkling stalactites on the ceiling. Every nook and cranny of the cave is a photoshoot-worthy spot.
Exiting the cave, brace yourself for another jaw-dropping sight: The panoramic view of the bay from a lofty vantage point. Surrounded by vibrant vegetation, the scene is a testament to the vigorous life of this land.
I’m sure that will be a moment to immerse yourself in quiet awe, appreciating the breathtaking beauty that leaves you speechless.
04:00 PM: End Your Journey
Around 4:00 PM, you should end your tour and kayak back to Vung Vieng Village. After that, you rent a boat and start the journey back to Hanoi.
2-Day-1-Night Luxury Cruise
Two days and one night is ideal for exploring the bay because you will have enough time to observe beautiful scenery and participate in exciting local activities.
To go to the bay, you can choose cruises from Swan, Indochina Junk, or Bhaya. Whichever you choose, you will have an itinerary provided.
Below is an example of an itinerary to visit Bai Tu Long Bay of Indochina Junk, a popular option with tourists here.
(Of course, you can choose any other cruise, as long as it suits your needs).
Day 1: Explore Thien Canh Son Cave and Hon Co Beach
08:20 AM: Indochina Junk’s bus will pick you up at the hotel and start the journey to Ha Long Port from Hanoi. Then, you’ll arrive at the port at around 12:00 AM.
01:00 PM: Your adventure officially kicks off with a delightful tea session. The crew will brief you on the itinerary and essential safety information before settling into your cozy cabins. So, listen attentively.
01:15 PM: Enjoy your lunch with Quang Ninh’s local food onboard. As you savor seafood dishes, the ship begins its enchanting journey through the bay.
Sitting at your dining table, you’ll see limestone islands and picturesque scenery unfold. Picture this: cruising through the clear blue waters, surrounded by these limestone structures. It’s like stepping into a fairy tale!
02:30 PM: The tour guide will lead you to Thien Canh Son, a natural cave adorned with stalactites formed over millennia.
From this point on, you are free to make your own journey. Take your time absorbing the unique beauty of this underground marvel.
Following your cave exploration, you’ll head to Hon Co Beach, a haven for relaxation and adventure. You can kayak to uncover the islands’ secrets. At the same time, you can immerse yourself in the surroundings.
A View From Hon Co Beach
04:15 PM: Return to the ship.
05:15 PM: As the day gently transitions into the evening, you can embark on a serene sunset cruise on the ship. You can also join a cooking class to reveal the secrets behind crafting local delicacies.
07:00 PM: Indulge in a peaceful dinner amidst the romantic bay atmosphere. With the night embracing us, you’ll have free time to relax or join the fishing activity onboard.
Let the tranquility of the bay cradle you as you spend the night surrounded by the gentle lull of the waves. Tomorrow promises new adventures, but tonight, under the starlit sky, Bai Tu Long Bay is yours to savor.
Day 2: Explore Vung Vieng village and Yen Duc village
07:00 AM: You should get up at this time to immerse in the morning atmosphere of the bay with a cup of coffee/tea and breakfast on board. So, recharge for the exciting day ahead.
07:45 AM: The tour guide will guide you to hop on a bamboo boat for a transfer to Vung Vieng village. It will take you about 20 minutes to reach the center and start exploring the activities of fishermen here.
There, you can join the fish farming program in Zone 3. You’ll get a deep dive into the fishing process, experience hands-on fish farming, and even feed the fish.
08:45 AM: You’ll return to the ship for relaxation and wait to check out. Too soon, right? Don’t worry! You can still capture those unforgettable moments in the meantime.
10:15 AM: You will have a light meal on board while the ship continues to cross this beautiful bay.
11:30 AM: The ship makes its way back to the Ha Long Port. From here, you’ll arrive at Yen Duc village. There, you have a chance to explore this quaint agricultural village.
In this village, you’ll have a rich experience of local traditions and explore charming fields and narrow alleyways.
1:00 PM: The cruise lets you enjoy the puppet show on the water before ending your 2-day-one-night journey. This traditional art form, rooted in Vietnamese culture, will make you remember this trip forever.
4:00 PM: You’ll arrive back in Hanoi, marking the end of this bay adventure.
3-Day-2-Night Unforgettable Cruise
Now, here is an example itinerary for a three-day-two-night cruise:
Day 1: Explore Vung Vieng village
08:20 AM: You'll be picked up at the hotel and begin the journey to Ha Long Port from Hanoi. Then, you’ll arrive at the port at around 12:00 AM.
12:30 AM: You will be guided through check-in procedures and be informed of your upcoming itinerary and essential safety tips.
1:15 PM: Lunchtime! You will enjoy local dishes featuring the flavors of Quang Ninh. At the same time, you can look out the window to admire the limestone islands and stunning scenery.
2:30 PM: The ship makes its first stop at Vung Vieng village. After being guided to kayak into the village, you'll be free to explore this place.
Don't hesitate to ask about the fishermen here! They'll guide you through their daily routines on bamboo boats.
4:00 PM: It's time to return to the ship to catch the mesmerizing hues of the sunset.
Sunset The Bay
7:00 PM: As the day winds down, you'll have a serene dinner. Everyone talking together and sharing the day's experiences is a memorable thing.
8:30 PM: It's time for relaxation after the first day in this beautiful place! You can also join in the fishing activity to understand more about the excitement of fishing and the hardships of fishermen here.
Let the gentle waves lull you into a restful sleep as you spend the night nestled in the bay's beauty.
This is just the beginning of your Bai Tu Long adventure. Stay tuned for Day 2, promising even more delights and discoveries in this maritime paradise!
Day 2: Explore Cap La and Cong Dam area
08:00 AM: The morning unfolds with a delectable breakfast served onboard. You have time to fuel up for a day of exploration and delights amid the stunning landscapes of the bay.
08:45 AM: Set forth on the journey to Cap La. There, you can rent a kayak and begin your exploration with a kayak.
10:30 AM: Return to the ship as it sets sail to the Cong Dam area. The special thing about this place is the natural beach. It invites you to take a leisurely relax, stroll, and unwind in the tranquility of this pristine haven.
12:30 AM: It’s time for lunch. You’ll have a unique BBQ experience on the picturesque beach, a feast prepared directly on the sands.
After the delightful meal, you can indulge in some activities on the beach, including volleyball and basking in the sun.
2:30 PM: Return to the cruise for a session of relaxation. You have time to review the photos you have taken.
5:15 PM: It’s time for a Vietnamese food cooking class. Immerse yourself in the art of crafting local delicacies.
7:00 PM: Take a rest and savor dinner under the night sky.
8:30 PM: Like yesterday, you can join the fishing activity with everyone. Let the starlit sky be your backdrop as you unwind and prepare for a good night’s sleep on board.
Stay tuned for Day 3! There will be more adventures on the last day!
Day 3: Explore Thien Canh Son Cave, Cong Do Lake, and Yen Duc Village
The final day of your 3-day-2-night cruise in the mesmerizing Bai Tu Long Bay has arrived!
07:00 AM: As usual, you wake up, have breakfast, and prepare for the upcoming journey.
Cong Do Area
07:45 AM: Your destination is Thien Canh Son, a cave in Cong Do. There, you’ll admire the stalagmites and stalactites that have been sculpted over millennia. The cave is a testament to the artistry of nature.
From the cave, you can go to Cong Do Lake, a 5-hectare expanse atop the mountains. To get there, you’ll have an adventurous journey over rocky cliffs and through the forest.
The untouched beauty of the lake is surreal, surrounded by ancient trees and vines, echoing with the melodies of precious birds like hornbills and falcons.
09:00 AM: Bid farewell to Cong Do and return to the ship. It’s time to savor the last moments amidst the bay.
09:45 AM: Check out.
10:15 AM: Enjoy your lunch as the ship slowly goes back to the port. You have the chance to absorb the final vistas of the limestone islands.
11:30 AM: The cruise docks at the port. But hold on, the itinerary isn’t over just yet! Your return to Hanoi includes a short trip to Yen Duc Village.
There, you’ll see a puppet show on the water. After that, you still have time to go through the fields and narrow alleyways in the fresh air of the village.
4:00 PM: You’ll arrive back in Hanoi, marking the end of this extraordinary trip. As you bid farewell to the bay, take with you the tranquility of its waters, the majesty of its caves, and the warmth of its people.
How To Pick A Bai Tu Long Cruise?
Pick A Cruise
There are various best Bai Tu Long cruises; picking one can be difficult if it’s your first time visiting the country. So, I am here to guide you in choosing the right cruise according to your needs. Here’s what you should consider:
#1. Duration And Itinerary
Determine how long you plan to stay in the bay. While the typical duration is two days and one night, some cruises have different itineraries. Consider if you also want to explore nearby places or focus solely on the serene beauty of this bay.
#2. Cruise Options
Are you inclined towards a basic or a premium one with gourmet dishes and luxurious cabins? Do you want additional activities like kayaking and biking?
Also, consider whether you prefer a bustling atmosphere on a larger boat or a more intimate experience on a smaller vessel.
#3. Booking Options
Determine how you want to book your cruise. Whether online or in person, research reputable travel agencies to ensure a reliable booking process and to avoid scams. Asia Tour Advisor is one of the big agencies you should consider.
Can’t ignore the cost! Establish your budget for the cruise and inquire about transportation between Hanoi and the bay. Typically, cruises will have buses to pick up tourists.
The cruise prices can range from $100-$800/person (in a 2-day-1-night tour). So, ensure clarity on what is included and what may require additional payment.
Also, understand what the cruise price covers and if there are any additional costs for onboard amenities.
Visit Bai Tu Long Bay With Asia Tour Advisor
Are you tired of planning and budgeting your trip yourself? Are you looking for a travel agency to embark on an extraordinary journey on Bai Tu Long? Asia Tour Advisor is your destination!
Our mission is to curate unforgettable tourism experiences. We know that every journey is an investment in lifelong memories. So, we specialize in tailoring tours to your unique needs.
Whether you crave the beauty of landscapes or the rich cultural tapestry of Bai Tu Long, let Asia Tour Advisor be your guide to creating memories that linger for a lifetime. Contact us now!
Why Should I Go On A Bai Tu Long Cruise?
Unlike its bustling neighbor, Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long offers a serene atmosphere, uncrowded attractions, and untouched landscapes. So, it’s an ideal destination for those seeking an authentic and tranquil cruise experience.
Which Is The Best Bai Tu Long Cruise?
Selecting the best cruise depends on your preferences. Notable options include Indochina Junk, Bhaya, and Signature Halong. Consider factors like cruise style, itinerary, and activities to find the one that aligns with your desired experience.
What Are Things To Do In Bai Tu Long Bay?
You can explore Thien Canh Son’s mesmerizing formations, unwind on Hon Co Beach, and join kayaking amid limestone islands. Don’t miss Vung Vieng Village to witness local life.
Also, enjoy a sunset cruise, savor fresh seafood, and engage in cultural activities provided by your chosen cruise.
Whichever Bai Tu Long Bay itinerary you choose, your journey will unveil the peaceful allure of the bay, distinguished by its serene waters, inhabited islets, and the vibrant tapestry of local life.
From Thien Canh Son’s wonders to the vibrant Vung Vieng Fishing Village, all leave unforgettable impressions.
Besides Bai Tu Long Bay, you can find many other tours in Vietnam and other Asian countries at Asia Tour Advisor. Contact us for more details!