Vietnam Cruises: Halong Bay and Mekong Rivers

Cruises in Vietnam Introduction

Halong Bay - 13 Days in Vietnam
Halong Bay

Vietnam is characterized as a long narrow country with a coastline of 1,400 miles (3,260 kilometers) on the eastern side of the country along the Gulf of Tonkin and Eastern Sea. The system of beaches, islands, archipelagoes, and islets in Vietnam always stun tourists when they travel to Vietnam.

Vietnam possesses a relatively dense network of freshwater rivers and lakes. Mekong River (in the south) and Red River (in the north) are two longest rivers in Vietnam. The emerald paddy fields, diverse ecosystem, and tranquil local life along the river banks attract a lot of international tourists around the world to visit our country.

Halong Bay and Mekong Rivers are two common places for cruising in Vietnam. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage in 1994 and 2000, Halong Bay is a surreal landscape with a system of imposing limestone mountains, magnificent grottoes floating on the emerald water, as well as mist-shrouded bays dotted with various fishing villages. This place is dotted with 1,600 islands and islets with a wide range of biodiversity.

Cruising through Mekong Rivers, you will have a chance to capture idyllic sceneries and observe local life in the Mekong Delta, the most prosperous area in Vietnam. This region will thrill you with exotic experiences: shopping at a floating market, picking fruits in an orchard, cycling in a bucolic village, riding boats through capujut forests, and exploring Khmer culture in some ancient pagodas.

Why Vietnam Cruises?

Vietnam Cruise Tour is a good way for you to get away from the bustle and hustle of big cities and immerse in the surreal beauty of Vietnamese natural landscapes. This type of experience is suitable for both individuals and big groups, especially if you travel on a family holiday in Vietnam with your kids and/ or elders.

Mekong River Cruise
Mekong River Cruise (image: Mekong Dawn)

Many Options Available

Depending on your time and budget, you can book a Vietnam cruise tour which suits your tastes and preferences. There are budget, standard, deluxe and luxury vessels for you to choose. But remember that the price reflects the quality, so do not go for the cheapest option you can find.

Also, the duration may range from a few hours to multiple days. Cruise routes, facilities and activities on board vary between different cruise operators.

 

Relax on State-of-the-art Vessels

You can image a cruise as a movable hotel. They often include everything that comforts your trip: TV, DVD player, mini bar, en-suite bathroom, bath tub, Jacuzzi to wifi and air-conditioners. You can enjoy the view from private balcony or terrace, but bear in mind that you may have to pay a higher price for this. Do not forget to enjoy another service like spa, massage, and bar.

 

Interesting Cruise Programs

From famous attractions to more off-the-beaten-track ones, our cruise tours never bore tourists with their interesting cruise programs. Not only is sightseeing the main purpose of booking a cruise, but you can also involve in a wide range of activities from sports (swimming, kayaking, cycling), leisure and entertainment (practicing tai chi, spa) to discovering craft villages or floating markets.

 

Easy Cancellation and Special Deals

At Paradise Travel, you can find many Vietnam cruise tours on your fingertips. You can easily search and compare itineraries, prices and activities of different cruise packages.

We partner with a lot of cruise operators in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, so our prices are lower than listed on their official website. Plus, we offer special promotions during low seasons such as price reduction, free transfer or free drink. If you need to cancel, just tell us and we will refund as soon as possible.

 

How to Book

How to Book a Vietnam Cruise?

1

Choose your cruising destinations, cruise class and duration

For Halong Bay cruise, beside common routes to Sung Sot Cave, Ti Top Beach and so on, you can also choose to visit Cat Ba Island in Hai Phong or go to off-the-beaten-track area in Bai Tu Long Bay
For Mekong River Cruise, you can have a chance to visit other countries where Mekong River flows through, for example Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma).
2

Check rate

Remember that the price in high season (1 January – 30 April & 1 October – 31 December) will be higher.
3

Fill in booking form

Fill in all necessary information (Name, Email, Number of Passenger, and Date of Arrival). Do not forget to tell us your specific requirements.
4

Confirm availability and deposit

When receiving booking requests, our Sales department will contact you immediately and send the payment link for deposit via email (normally 50% of the price).
The remaining balance can be fulfilled later – before arrival date.
NOTE: You will have to pay 100% of the price if it is urgent booking or special promotion.
5

Complete payment

The remaining balance should be fulfilled before your arrival date. The exact payment deadline will be confirmed by our sales executives.
You can pay either by cash (VND, USD, EUR) or by credit card. We can set up a meeting to collect the remaining balance if you are going to stay in Hanoi.

Cruise Destinations

Cruising is an interesting way to discover Vietnam’s waterway. Not only will you have a chance to admire the natural beauty of emerald water, clear sky, and mesmerizing sunrise and sunset, you can also explore the local life along the river banks. Get ready to escape from stressful life and enjoy one of the most memorable experiences in Vietnam!

 

Halong Bay

Halong Bay has earned its reputation as one of the must-see destinations in Vietnam. Just 170 kilometers or 3.5-hour driving from Hanoi, Halong Bay possesses spectacular seascapes which stuns every traveler in their discovery tour in Vietnam.

Recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage in 1994 and 2000, Halong Bay is a surreal landscape with a system of imposing limestone mountains, magnificent grottoes floating on the emerald water, as well as mist-shrouded bays dotted with various fishing villages.

In Vietnamese, Ha Long means “descending dragon”. According to our legends, in order to help Vietnamese people fight against foreign invaders, the God sent a family of dragons to this land. Upon their arrival, they split out thousands of pearls that turned into islands and islets all over the bay.

    Era Cruise  

    Hai Phong > Lan Ha Bay > Ba Trai Dao Islet > Dark Cave & Light Cave
    From US$ 403 View
    18 cabins - Metal boat - Launched in 2017

    Paradise Luxury Cruise  

    Halong Bay > Ti Top Island > Surprise Cave
    From US$ 421 View
    15 cabins - Wooden Boat - Launched in 2009

    La Regina Legend Cruise  

    Lan Ha Bay > Cat Ba Island > Viet Hai Village
    From US$ 64 View
    27 cabins - Metal Boat - Launched in 2018

    Mon Chéri Cruise  

    Halong Bay > Lan Ha Bay > Cat Ba Island
    From US$ 388 View
    18 cabins - Metal Boat - Launched in 2017

    Emperor Cruise  

    Halong Bay > Bai Tu Long Bay > Vung Vieng Village > Thien Canh Son > Hon Co Island
    From US$ 933 View
    8 cabins - Steel core, wooden cover - Launched in 2017

    Indochina Sails  

    Halong Bay > Sung Sot Cave > Titop Island
    Contact for price View
    15 cabins - Wooden - Launched in 2007

 

Mekong Rivers

Further to the south of Vietnam, Mekong River offers travelers a completely different experience. You can immerse in the peaceful scenery along the river banks: farmers working on rice fields, kids riding water buffalos, vendors selling colorful fruits on floating markets, and Buddhist monks walking on the streets.

Mekong River is the artery of five countries in Southeast Asia: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar. Thanks to the alluvial sediments provided by the river, Mekong River Delta, praised as the ‘Rice Bowl’ of Vietnam, is the most prosperous land in our country. The land is fertile with numerous agricultural and fishery products such as rice, fruits, coconut, shrimp, fish, and so on.

    Jayavarman Cruise  

    Ho Chi Minh City - Phnom Penh - Siem Reap
    From US$ 984 View
    27 cabins - Metal Ship - Launched in 2009

    Mango Cruises  

    Mekong Delta Vietnam
    Contact for price View
    1 cabins - Sampan - Launched in 2010

    Indochine & Indochine II Cruise  

    Mekong Delta- Cai Be- Chau Doc- Phnom Penh- Siem Riep
    Contact for price View
    31 cabins - Metal - Launched in 2016

    Amalotus Cruise  

    Contact for price View
    56 cabins - Metal Ship - Launched in 2011

    Amadara Cruise  

    Mekong Delta
    Contact for price View
    76 cabins - Metal Ship - Launched in 2015

    Mekong Adventurer Cruise  

    Mekong Delta- Cai Be- Chau Doc- Phnom Penh- Siem Riep
    Contact for price View
    29 cabins - Metal boat - Launched in 2016

Cruise Tour Programs

Cruising is a great opportunity to spend time with your family and friends, explore the beauty of our natural wonder, and experience Vietnam’s history and culture. Cruise programs aim at introducing you a glimpse of the region you are visiting, as well as allowing you to understand local life.

 

Halong Bay Cruises

Halong Bay Cruise
Halong Bay Cruise

You can choose different cruise packages to Halong Bay: 4 or 6-hour trip, day trip, overnight cruise, and 2-night cruise. We recommend that you choose a 2 days/ 1 night or 3 days/ 2 nights packages since Halong is very beautiful and a day trip is not enough for you to discover.

The vessels are usually made from steel or wood. Depending on cruise types, the number of cabins ranges from 1 to 30 for overnight cruises. Day cruises do not have cabins. Cruise routes are limited within the boundary of the bay.

You can imagine a cruise like a movable hotel, equipped with premium facilities and services. Some luxurious cruises offer private Jacuzzi, spas, bars, and fancy restaurants. Travelers can enjoy interesting outdoor activities like kayaking, swimming, squid fishing, practicing tai chi, and sunbathing.

 

Mekong River Cruises

Mekong River Cruise (image: The Mekong Sun Cruise)
Mekong River Cruise (image: The Mekong Sun Cruise)

Mekong Delta is a vast land with a dense network of waterways and roads, making it arduous to transport between different areas. Thus, there is no better way to capture the beauty of natural and bucolic scenery along the way than taking a cruise.

Some small local boat operators offer 4 to 8 hours cruising around the famous areas such as My Tho, Vinh Long, Sa Dec, and Ca Mau. The cruises board from Ho Chi Minh City’s harbors. Larger cruise operators have multiple day cruises and you can have a chance to sense the vibrancy of the whole region: My Tho and Vinh Long with colorful floating markets, Sa Dec for stunning river scenery and flower plantation, and Ca Mau for lush mangroves and swamplands. You can also choose to visit the famous Tonle Sap with enchanting floating villages and gorgeous sunset scenery on a multi-day Mekong River cruise.

Before You Go

There are some important things you should consider before booking a cruise in Vietnam:

 

Research the Weather

The best time to visit Halong Bay and Northern Vietnam in general is from November to April. From July to September, this region experiences heavy typhoons and tropical storms, leading to the cancellation of Halong Bay cruise sometimes.

In Southern Vietnam, dry season lasts from November to April while rainy season is from May to October. You can experience different beauty of Mekong River in different times of the year.

It is understandable that the cruise prices are lower and more promotional deals are available during low seasons. However, extreme weather, such as heavy rains and typhoons, appears in this time of year. So consider research the weather before booking a cruise in rainy seasons.

You can read our Vietnam Seasons article to find out more about weather in Vietnam.

 

Go through Cruise Itinerary and Amenities

Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta

Cruise operators offer different itineraries and you can choose which one you prefer, whether it is a touristy area or an off-the-beaten-track one. On a Mekong River cruise, you can even have a chance to visit Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand.

Most vessels are made from either steel or wood, and you can check their condition on the operators’ official website. Cleanliness is the main concern for all travelers, so make sure you go through reviews on some reputable sites like Tripadvisor or Booking.com. Each cabin has basic facilities like TV, showers, and air-conditioner.

 

See the Inclusion and Exclusion Section

Sightseeing tickets, meals, and activities (kayaking, tai chi, cooking class and so on) are often included in cruise programs. However, you may have to pay for transfers, drinks and spa service, so make sure you read through the Inclusion and Exclusion section. If you travel on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, remember to prepare for surcharge!

We advise that you do not go for the cheapest vessel you can find. There will be many hidden cost you do not know for every single service, and with that cheap price the vessel quality is not guaranteed.

 

Know your Special Requirements

Dinner on Halong Bay Cruise
Dinner on Halong Bay Cruise (image: Victory Cruise)

It is extremely important for customers to inform in advance if you have allergy or dietary requirements. Be specific about what you can and cannot eat (for example, no seafood but fish is fine or no seafood and fish but meat is fine).

Some luxury cruises offer international menu which includes both local and international cuisine, vegetarian menu, and gluten-free menu. If you travel to Vietnam from India, choose a cruise that has Halal menu.

For handicapped travelers, wheelchairs sometimes are not allowed on the vessel, so you have to check in advance with the operator. Since all high-quality cruise has tour guides, people with limited visibility can also enjoy the tour. Remember to purchase travel insurance before your trip to Vietnam.

 

Choose the Right Booking Channel

There are a lot of resellers for cruise in the marketplace, both online and offline. You can be surprised that that if you book through your hotel or even the cruise operator themselves, the price is always higher than through travel agency or tour operator.

Paradise Travel guaranteed the most appropriate selling prices without compromising the quality. Travelers can choose a variety of options on our website: budget to luxury, different itineraries, and visiting points. Contact us now if you have any requests and we can ensure the fastest and hassel-free booking process with free cancellation.

Read some articles for tips and recommendations before booking a Vietnam cruise:

Responsible Travel

It is important to notice that behavior which is accepted in your country may not be accepted in another. Therefore, pay attention to the local life and environment when visiting Vietnam on a cruise tour.

Marine life is negatively affected by plastics
Marine life is negatively affected by plastics

Here are things you should bear in mind on your cruise trip:

  • Research about Vietnam’s culture and customs before your trip
  • Minimize the use of plastic products (single-use bottles, plastic straws, and plastic bags)
  • “Take nothing but your photographs, leave nothing but your footprints”: Collect all your rubbish wastes before disembarking. Do not litter when you visit local villages.
  • Dress modestly to religious sites (pagodas, temples, and monasteries). Sleeveless shirts and shorts are not acceptable in those places.
  • Shop locally made products to support local artisans
  • Please ask for permission before taking pictures of people, especially children

FAQs

• Spring (from March to early May) and autumn (late September to November) are the best times for a cruise to Halong Bay as the weather is warm with little or no rain. Summers which last from May to early September are hot and humid with a high level of rainfall.
• Basically, you can travel to the Mekong Delta any time a year. The best time for a Mekong River Cruise is from September to November since it is the floating season and you can admire the greenery landscape here. The period between December and April is also a good time to visit Mekong Delta. The weather is pleasant and rainfall is low. Rainy seasons last from May to August, but the rains are short and will not interrupt your trip.
You can choose any method which is the most convenient for you: online payment, bank transfer or credit card.
Yes, all cruise prices on our website are up-to-date and all taxes & service charge are included on the price.
If customers cancel the cruise reservation, the effective date of cancellation will be the date the Company receives written notification thereof. Customer cancellation charges are listed below:
• More than 30 days prior to check-in: free of charge
• From 30 to 7 days prior to check-in: 10% of total deposit will be forfeited
• From 6 to 3 days prior to check in: 50% of total deposit will be forfeited
• Less than 3 days prior to check-in: 100% of total deposit will be forfeited
We will refund via online payment system or bank transfer. The process will take 5 to 7 working days.
• The FOC rate for children under 5 years old is applicable for 1 (one) child sharing a cabin with 2 (two) adults. Only 1 (one) child under 5 years old traveling with two (2) adults is allowed for FOC per cabin.
• Children from 5-11 will pay extra charge 75% of adult rate.
• Children from 12 and above must pay full price as adult.
It is essential that you bring your passport when embarking the ship so that the cruise’s tour guides can check your information.
We recommend comfortable walking shoes, swimming suites (in summers) or warm clothes (in winters). Also, do not forget sunscreen, sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, mosquito repellent, and of course your camera with charger.
Passengers are not allowed to bring on board things listed below:
• Weapon
• Any kind of animals
• Illegal drugs (cannabis is included)
• Alcohols and other beverages
• Explosive substances
• Anti-government documents, pornography
All of our cruises include full-board meals on the package. You will only pay extra for drinks and personal expense.
No, but the cruise will provide you with free bottled-water. You will have to buy soft drink, beer and alcohols, and you can pay on your departure date.
All cruises have vegetarian menu, and the cook will prepare the most suitable food for you. Please specify what you can and cannot eat on the inquiry form (for example, no seafood but fish is fine or no seafood and fish but meat is fine).
If you require Halal food, please contact us in advance and we can arrange a cruise with Halal menu for you.
Bear in mind that cruise itineraries are expected to be changed, depending on the weather (rain, typhoon, or thunderstorm), tidal wave, and level of water.
Smoking is not allowed inside cabins and the cruise. However, there are smoking areas on the sundeck and outside spaces.
E-visa is not applicable for border crossing via waterways. The cruise providers will help you to obtain a visa on board. Here are things you should prepare:
• Passport: at least 6 months valid from the date of entry into Vietnam
• 2 most recent passport-sized photos
• Price varies from US $30 to 60, depending on your nationality and cruise company you are working with.
Summers are the time when Halong Bay suffers from tropical storms and typhoons. In case of bad weather, the Management Board of Halong will postpone or cancel all cruises to ensure the safety of tourists. Besides, sometimes cruises are canceled due to monsoon from October to late March.
• If the cancellation is announced before your arrival to Halong Bay: 100% refund
• If the cancellation is announced during the trip (you have used some services such as transfer): Only the fee of service used will be charged and we will refund the remaining amount.
Depending on your tour program, we can arrange a day trip to some villages on the outskirt of Hanoi such as Duong Lam Ancient Village, Bat Trang Ceramic Village, or you can have a Ninh Binh tour.