If jaw-dropping scenery, magical landscapes and breathtaking beaches are your thing then a trip to Halong Bay in Vietnam is exactly what you need!

This UNESCO World Heritage site has it all, from towering limestone cliffs to mystical caves and crystal-clear waters. But with so many options for where to stay in Halong Bay, planning your vacation may feel overwhelming.

halong bay where to stay

Don't worry, we've got you covered! From mainland hotels to overnight cruises and even secluded island getaways, we've got the scoop on where to rest your head while exploring this remarkable destination in Vietnam. Plus, we'll answer all your burning questions about what area to stay in Halong Bay to help make your trip a breeze.

Best places to stay in Halong Bay

When staying in Halong Bay, there are three main accommodation options to choose from:

Mainland stay

If you're someone who prefers easy access to all the amenities, then staying in Halong City, also called Bai Chay, would be your best bet.

Overnight cruise

If you're looking to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the bay, then an overnight Halong Bay cruise is the way to go.

An island holiday

If you want a more secluded beach experience, head on over to Quan Lan Island and enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals. And if you're watching your wallet, Cai Long has got some affordable, and may we say, totally stunning Halong Bay hotels on the beach!

1. Where to stay in Halong Bay for first-time visitors: Halong City

halong city

Halong City is where the adventure begins for those seeking to explore Halong Bay!

This bustling hub is the gateway to Halong Bay and a perfect base to explore the stunning islands scattered throughout the area.

Halong City Center is packed with local restaurants and shops, so you won't have to worry about getting stranded on a deserted island with no snacks! On the contrary, the Halong Night Market is snack central and it's not messing around.

You'll be tempted left and right by savory bites and sweet treats that will have you drooling all over the place. So bring your stretchy pants and your appetite because you're in for a wild ride full of Vietnamese delights.

From Halong City, you can set sail to discover the amazing limestone formations or even explore the more secluded Bai Tu Long Bay.

Halong City is the best area for:

  • Explorers who want easy access to the islands and attractions of Halong Bay

  • First-time visitors to Halong Bay

  • Travelers who prefer a city atmosphere

Things to see & do in Halong City

  • Explore a floating city and meet the locals

  • Take a sunset Halong Bay cruise and watch the sky turn into a kaleidoscope of colors

  • Check out the Halong Night Market for some delicious street food and souvenirs

  • Visit the Quang Ninh Museum to enjoy impressive exhibits and architecture

  • Relax and unwind with a traditional Vietnamese massage

Best hotels to stay in Halong City

($$$) Vinpearl Ha Long Bay Resort

A luxury resort on a private island right off Halong City with stunning bay views, a private beach, a spa, and loads of dining options.

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($$) Wyndham Legend Halong Bai Chay

A 5 star hotel in Halong Bay with affordable prices and modern rooms, a rooftop swimming pool, fitness center, spa, modern facilities and several restaurants, all overlooking the beautiful bay.

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($) Muong Thanh Grand Bai Chay Ha Long

An affordable hotel with comfy rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a spa, and a restaurant, all with gorgeous views of the city or bay.

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2. Where to stay in Halong Bay on an overnight cruise

If you're looking for a unique way to experience the natural beauty of Halong Bay, then an overnight cruise is for you!

You can explore the famous limestone formations, hidden lagoons, and pristine beaches while lounging on a comfy ship. Sounds great, right?

From luxury cruises in Halong Bay to budget-friendly options, there's an overnight cruise for every type of traveler.

halong over night cruise

A Halong Bay overnight cruise is best for:

  • Nature lovers who appreciate stunning landscapes and unique geological formations

  • Adventure seekers who enjoy outdoor activities

  • Couples looking for a romantic getaway

Things to see & do on an overnight cruise in Halong Bay

  • Gaze at limestone cliffs and islands scattered in the stunning waters of the bay

  • Discover incredible caves and grottos that took millions of years to form

  • Enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset from the boat's deck

  • Explore the serene waters by either kayaking or taking a refreshing swim

  • Treat yourself to a mouth-watering seafood dinner or other local delicacies

Best overnight cruises in Halong Bay

($$$) Cozy Boutique Cruise

Get comfy on this intimate and charming cruise with comfortable cabins, a sun deck, kayaking, and delicious food.

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($$) Peony Cruises

Experience luxury on the water with spacious cabins, spa services, sunset parties, and scenic cave visits. Certainly, a unique place to stay in Halong Bay!

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($) Venezia Cruises

Step into a world of elegance and romance on this stylish and spacious cruise with beautiful cabins and a rooftop jacuzzi. There are also added experiences like cooking classes and cave exploring, which makes this the best-rated cruise in Halong Bay.

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3. Where to stay in Halong Bay on an island: Cat Ba Island

For the ultimate island adventure in Halong Bay, head to Cat Ba Island. Stay in the bustling hub of Cat Ba Town for easy access to a variety of accommodations, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels.

If you're looking for a more laid-back atmosphere, check out the island's eastern side, where you can stay in one of the many beachside bungalows.

cat ba island

On the western side, you'll find more secluded options nestled in the lush jungle. Don't miss Cat Ba National Park for hiking, climbing, and exploration.

And when you're ready to refuel, indulge in a feast at one of the local seafood restaurants, most within walking distance.

Visiting Cat ba island when in Halong Bay is definitely a must!

Cat Ba Island is the best area for:

  • Outdoor enthusiasts wanting to explore Cat Ba National Park

  • Leisure travelers wanting to unwind

  • Foodies who want to indulge in Vietnamese cuisine

Things to see & do on Cat Ba Island

  • Hike through Cat Ba National Park and enjoy the stunning views from the summit

  • Relax on one of the island's many white-sand beaches and soak up the sun

  • Embark on a boat tour to explore the nearby islands and caves

  • Rent a motorbike or bicycle and explore the island's picturesque villages, lush forests, and charming markets

Best hotels to stay in Halong Bay on an island

($$$) Flamingo Cat Ba Beach Resort

A luxurious beachfront resort with a private beach, outdoor swimming pool, and stunning views of Lan Ha Bay.

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($$) Cat Ba Eco-Lodge Hai Phong

An eco-friendly resort in Halong Bay located in the midst of a lush jungle, offering a peaceful retreat and a range of outdoor activities.

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($) Thuy Anh Cat Hai

A charming and affordable hotel offering clean air-conditioned rooms, friendly service, and easy access to Cat Ba National Park.

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4. Where to stay in Halong that isn’t touristy: Co To Island

If you are looking for a unique Halong Bay experience off the beaten path, look no further than Co To Island, an inhabited island in Quang Ninh Province.

This hidden gem of an island offers a non-touristy atmosphere, where you can truly unwind and really savor the stunning natural beauty of Halong Bay.

With pristine beaches, emerald waters, and stunning natural scenery, Co To Island is a paradise for those looking for a leisure trip. And the best part? You'll avoid the crowds and have a more authentic experience.

co to island

Co To Island is best for:

  • Culture enthusiasts who want to experience the traditional fishing village lifestyle

  • Laid-back nature lovers

  • Couples looking for a secluded getaway

  • History buffs who may find interest in exploring the island's lighthouse

Things to see & do on Co To Island

  • Visit Co To Lighthouse, an iconic landmark that offers panoramic views of the island and the surrounding sea

  • Take a boat tour to nearby islands such as Thanh Lan and Tran Island, where you can snorkel, swim, and enjoy fresh seafood

  • Visit local restaurants and specialties such as banh cuon (steamed rice rolls), banh da (flat rice noodles), and grilled squid at the night market, or some local seafood

  • Hike up the island's highest peak, Co To Lon, for stunning views

Best hotels to stay in Co To Island

($$$) Coto Island Beach Village Homestay

Offers beachfront accommodation with stunning sea views and is rated highly for its friendly staff and excellent location.

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($$) Golden Coto

Provides comfortable and spacious rooms with beautiful sea views and has a fantastic rooftop terrace perfect for relaxing.

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($) Coto Center Homestay

Has cozy rooms and a homely feel, offering a great budget-friendly option for those looking to stay close to the center of Co To Island.

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5. Where to stay in Halong Bay on the beach: Quan Lan Island

Quan Lan Island really is a slice of paradise! It's the perfect spot to soak up the sun, sand, and sea.

This island is home to some seriously gorgeous white sandy beaches, and luckily, there are a few great accommodation options right on the beachfront.

Whether you're a solo traveler or a family of beach lovers, Quan Lan Island is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy tropical bliss.

where to stay on quan lan island

Quan Lan Island is best for:

  • Backpackers wanting to explore the island's natural beauty and local culture

  • Families looking for a beach vacation with opportunities for outdoor activities

  • Couples seeking a romantic getaway

  • Adventure seekers who want to go hiking, kayaking, and exploring

Things to see & do on Quan Lan Island

  • Visit the Quan Lan Temple to learn about the island's rich history

  • Rent a bike and explore the island's picturesque landscapes and charming villages

  • Quan Lan Island is known for its delicious seafood, so be sure to try some of the local dishes

  • Take a boat tour around the island and nearby areas to discover hidden coves and stunning scenery

Best hotels to stay on Quan Lan Island

($$$) Phoenix Resort Minh Chau

A luxury resort with beautiful sea views, private beach access, and spacious villas with modern amenities.

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($$) Bich Ngoc Resort

A cozy resort located just a few steps away from the white sandy beaches, offering comfortable rooms, a garden, and a terrace.

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($) Nha Nghi Nam Phong

A budget-friendly guesthouse featuring clean and cozy rooms, friendly staff, and a convenient location near the beach and local restaurants.

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6. Where to stay in Halong Bay on a budget: Cai Rong

cai rong

Looking for an affordable place to stay in Halong Bay? Look no further than Cai Rong on Van Don Island.

Not only will you save money on accommodation, but you'll also be treated to exquisite natural scenery and a taste of local island life. Stay in a cozy guesthouse or homestay and wake up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore.

Spend your days exploring nearby beaches, hiking through the jungle, and tasting delicious local cuisine. With its relaxed atmosphere and budget-friendly options, Cai Rong is the perfect place to stay for the adventurous traveler on a budget.

Cai Rong is the best area for:

  • Budget travelers or backpackers who want to experience the local culture and enjoy outdoor activities

  • Nature lovers who enjoy beautiful scenery, white sandy beaches, and wildlife

  • Adventure seekers who want to try new things and explore off-the-beaten-path destinations

Things to see & do in Cai Rong

  • Explore the Cai Rong Market. Get a taste of local life by wandering through this vibrant marketplace filled with fresh produce, spices, and souvenirs

  • Visit the Cai Bau Pagoda. This ancient temple is a must-visit for history buffs, with beautiful architecture and fascinating stories to uncover

  • Relax on one of Cai Rong's beautiful beaches, like Quang Hong or Tu Phat

  • Hop on a boat and explore the surrounding islands, with stunning scenery and hidden coves to discover

  • Cai Rong is known for its delicious seafood, so be sure to indulge in some of the local specialties like grilled squid or steamed clams

Best hotels to stay in Halong Bay on a budget

($$) Diamond Van Don Hotel: Offers comfortable and spacious rooms with sea views, perfect for a relaxing but affordable getaway.

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($) Hai Luu Hotel: Provides affordable rooms with basic amenities and a most convenient location for exploring the island.

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Halong Bay 3 day Itinerary

Day 1:

  • Start your day with a delicious breakfast in Halong City

  • Head to Bai Tu Long Bay and take a cruise around the stunning islands

  • Visit the Thien Canh Son Cave and marvel at the beautiful rock formations inside

  • Enjoy lunch on board the cruise, with fresh local seafood as the highlight

  • In the afternoon, relax on a beautiful beach and soak up the sun

  • Return to your hotel and have dinner at a nearby restaurant

Day 2:

  • Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then take a boat tour to explore the Vung Vieng Fishing Village

  • Visit the pearl farm and learn about the process of pearl cultivation

  • Have lunch on board the cruise while enjoying the beautiful scenery

  • After lunch, take a kayak tour through the floating fishing village and see the local way of life up close

  • Return to your hotel in the evening for dinner

Day 3:

  • Start the day with a visit to Sung Sot Cave, known for its incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations

  • Next, visit Ti Top Island and hike up to the top for stunning views of Halong Bay

  • Have lunch at a local restaurant and try some of the delicious Vietnamese cuisines

  • In the afternoon, visit the famous Luon Cave and explore the beautiful lagoon inside

  • Return to Halong City and enjoy a farewell dinner at the highly-rated Cua Vang restaurant

Hope this itinerary helps you plan an amazing trip to Halong Bay!

Where to stay in Halong Bay – Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Is Halong Bay worth visiting?

Absolutely! Halong Bay is one of the most stunning destinations in Vietnam and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

📍 What’s the best part of Halong Bay?

The limestone karsts and islands, caves, and floating villages are the highlights of Halong Bay.

🏝️ Is it possible to stay on an island in Halong Bay?

Yes, you can stay on an island in Halong Bay. There are several options for accommodations on different islands.

📅 How many days do you need to explore Halong Bay?

A minimum of 2 days is recommended to fully explore the bay and take part in various activities.

💦 Can you swim in Halong Bay?

Yes, you can swim in Halong Bay. There are designated swimming areas, but be aware of the jellyfish.

☀️ When’s the best season to visit Halong Bay?

The best time to visit Halong Bay is from March to May or from September to November when the weather is mild and dry.

🚗 How to get to Halong Bay?

You can take a bus or private car or book a tour from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Alternatively, you can take a seaplane or helicopter for a unique experience.

Where to stay in Halong Bay – Final Words

There's no shortage of options for where to stay in Halong Bay, with accommodations ranging from high-end resorts to budget-friendly hostels.

Whether you're looking to be in the heart of the action or want a peaceful retreat, Halong Bay has it all.

Take your pick from the wide variety of options available and prepare for an unforgettable adventure in this breathtaking location!

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