Ha Long Bay or Dragon Bay is a 1500 km2 maritime zone near the north coast from Vietnam. It is close to the border with China and 170 km east of Hanoi, the capital of the country. Ha-Long Bay stands out for the large number of islands of different shapes and sizes; stone blocks of karstic origin that rise imposing throughout the area. HaLong Bay was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and since 2011 it is one of the seven natural wonders on planet Earth, along with Iguazu Falls in Argentina, Table Mountain in South Africa, the Amazon in South America, Jeju Island in Korea, Komodo National Park in Indonesia and the subterranean river Puerto Princesa in the Philippines.

bahia halong drone

Legend Name

The name Ha Long means “descending dragon”. This name has been given by a local legend that says that many centuries ago, when the inhabitants of the area that today is Vietnam fought against the Chinese invaders who attacked them by the sea, the gods sent dragons to protect them. These dragons spit out jade stones, jewels and precious stones, which when they fell into the sea became the islets we see today in the bay, and acted as a natural wall that blocked the advance of Chinese ships. After the victory over the Chinese, the inhabitants of the place formed the country known today as Vietnam.

2 day “Dragon Bay” route

If you arrive in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, or you are going to move through the northern part of the country, you can not miss the opportunity to see with your own eyes the beauty of the bay of Ha-Long . However, getting to Halong Bay can be complex, and hiring a quality tour can be like playing a colorful roulette: a great success or a handful of thrown Dongs. In this post we are going to give you some tips to visit the Dragon Bay from Hanoi and sail the bay by boat for two days . The route will always be done with the same boat, where you will eat and sleep, visiting beaches, islands and kayaking.

Getting to Ha-long on your own: an odyssey (even dangerous)

The roads in this area of Vietnam are in quite poor condition . If you are going to move on your own, weigh this factor, which makes it even more critical because of the reckless driving of the Vietnamese. Truck, which passes another truck, which in turn is passing a motorcycle on a road full of potholes and socabones.

Choose a bus, public transport or agency to pick you up at your hotel

If you have a lot of experience driving motorcycles and also choose a powerful model that does not turn you into a hindrance to other drivers surely the trip will run without major complications. Anyway, we recommend that you organize the trip with a specialized agency that will pick you up at the hotel in Hanoi and take you to the port of Tuan Chau..

Beginning point: Tuan Chau

Tuan Chau is an island connected to the mainland by a bridge almost 2 kilometers long and it is the port of departure of almost all the ships that are destined to navigate the waters of the bay of Ha Long . The journey from Hanoi is about 160 km, although the state of the roads can take up to three hours. If the bus picks you up at your hotel in Hanoi at 8.00h it is estimated that you will arrive at Tuan Chau around 11.00h in the morning.

Navaria recommended: Alisa Premier Cruises

When you arrive at Tuan Chau you will find many shipping companies that offer you their services of routes around the bay. From OneMoreDestination we recommend Alisa Premier Cruises , which has been operating since 2003 in the waters of Halong Bay. We recommend to contact them days in advance to ensure your place and room, since their hotel boats are usually in demand. Alisa Premier boats are 4 stars and we can tell you that they have more than enough quality in their services!

cruise halong

First stop: Hoian or Phu Quoc

The authentic and true Halong experience is sailing through the islands in a boat that offers you every comfort. However, depending on the route chosen, you will make several stops on islands with paradisiacal beaches. Two places that OneMoreDestination.com recommends are Hoian and Phu Quoc. The island of Cat Ba is very famous among backpackers although its waters are somewhat polluted, the island is very overcrowded backpackers and we do not recommend your visit.

Boat visit to floating villages

When the area becomes too narrow and narrow for the ship they will disembark in boats to enter the floating villages of the inhabitants of this Halong area. One of the best known villages is that of Cua Van.

Optional kayak route


You will also have the option of renting a kayak to be able to see even more closely the islets and hopefully some of the animals that inhabit the bay, such as monkeys.

Second stop: Coconut Tree Island or Ti Top

Another stop that is often made is at Rang Dua (the Vietnamese coconut island) or Ti Top Island. The first is an island covered entirely by coconut palms and the second an impressive island with a paradisiacal beach that offers a dreamlike landscape.

Third stop: Sung Sot Cave

cueva sung sot

On the morning of the second day it is very likely that the ship will set course for one of the major attractions in Halong Bay: the very well-known Sung Sot caves . Sung Sot is the largest cave in the bay and one of the busiest places in Halong. The stalactite formations accompanied by an illumination that highlights the shadows and silhouettes of the geological formations make Sung Sot a very interesting visit.

Fourth stop: Cat Ba

After the visit to Sung Sot the boat will head back to the port of Cat Ba, making intermediate stops on some emblematic islets famous for their whimsical shapes.