6 Best Cheap Halong Bay Cruises (2024)

As a budget traveller, it can be difficult to find a cheap Halong Bay cruise which is actually good quality.

Halong Bay is one of the most popular places in Vietnam, and one of the most expensive places too.

Thankfully, there are hundreds of tour options to choose from. And after researching for my own trip where I took a cruise of Halong Bay, I’ve put together this list of the cruises with the best value for your money.

Best Cheap Halong Bay Cruise

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When I was looking for a cheap Halong Bay Cruise for myself when I spent a month backpacking Vietnam, I couldn’t find any good blog posts with any helpful information. They were all giving $100 tours as the best “cheap” option, but in reality, there are so many cheaper options with just as good reviews.

While there’s an argument to be made for quality vs price and “you get what you pay for in Vietnam”, there’s a level where something can only become so good. At the end of the day, you only need a boat to take you through the bay, right?

And since you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you want to save as much money as possible.

After a lot of research, I came to the conclusion that the DELUXE Halong Bay Day Tour From Hanoi, Daily Operated 2024 – 2025 is the best tour.

Serene Ha Long Bay view showing jade-green waters with local boats nestled between towering limestone islands under an overcast sky. Taken during a cheap Halong Bay cruise.

I know what you’re thinking: the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. And don’t worry, you can meet in Ha Long City, you don’t need to start from Hanoi.

What I really liked about this tour is that it includes the entry ticket to Ha Long Bay UNESCO Site, which would otherwise cost an additional $12.

It also includes lunch and water, which other tours that appear to be cheaper do not. So while it won’t be the cheapest online, it works out the cheapest when you consider the entry price and lunch.

Book DELUXE Halong Bay Day Tour From Hanoi, Daily Operated

I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the tour. I was expecting it to be a bit crap, to be honest, but it was really really good. The guide was really funny and he spoke perfect English, and the boat wasn’t too crowded either.

Seeing the iconic bay in real life was surreal to me – even if the weather was really bad and I could barely see half of the karsts. But it was still unbelievable.

My favourite part of the day was definitely kayaking, which is included as part of the tour. I love getting active while travelling and it’s hard to find a better place to go kayaking than somewhere as beautiful as Halong Bay.

Smiling man in a life jacket kayaking in Ha Long Bay, with the limestone karsts in the background reflecting on the water

Thankfully I had made friends on the tour – one of the benefits of travelling solo – so I wasn’t stuck having to awkwardly kayak with someone I hadn’t spoken to.

I also really liked all of the swimming stops. I don’t think I’ve ever swam somewhere as picturesque as Ha Long Bay.

Aside from this, sailing through the infamous emerald water and taking in all of the sights was a pinch-myself moment. It had been on my bucket list for years and being able to finally explore Ha Long Bay was incredible.

I really liked the outdoor viewing deck on the boat which is where I spent most of my time. The boat is actually pretty modern compared to other ones we sailed past, it was nice inside too.

Tourists on a boat enjoying the Ha Long Bay scenery, with rocky islands in the distance and a flowering plant in the foreground

And the lunch was tasty as well. It’s a Vietnamese and seafood platter served to each table, so you do have to share with others but that’s just the way it is on tours in Vietnam.

If you’re considering booking the tour, I definitely would, but the good thing about Halong Bay is that it’s so popular there are always lots of tour spots available, so you don’t need to book far in advance – there is room to be spontaneous. And as the name says, they run tours daily.

Book DELUXE Halong Bay Day Tour From Hanoi, Daily Operated

The only downside about booking this tour is the actual booking process. When you go to book, there will be about 10 different options to choose from. You can choose whichever suits you, but I had to read every option in-depth to see which one was right for me.

If you’re already in Halong City, then it will be the cheapest one where you meet them at the meeting point. You can include a transfer if you like, even from Hanoi. You can also pay for a deluxe cruise which gives you a bit more time – I personally just went for the basic option and I still had about 6 hours on the boat which I felt was more than enough.

Traditional Vietnamese junk boat sailing in Ha Long Bay with lush limestone mountains in the backdrop and calm waters. Taken during a cheap Halong Bay cruise.

And it’s not just my opinion, the reviews speak for themselves. The tour has over 250 reviews with an average of 4.5/5 which is a really high standard in Vietnam.

But all in all, I really liked the DELUXE Halong Bay Day Tour and it definitely exceeded my expectations. The value for money is exceptional and in my opinion, you aren’t going to find a better cheap Halong Bay cruise for the price.

Book DELUXE Halong Bay Day Tour From Hanoi, Daily Operated

Other Cheap Halong Bay Cruises

Even though I think the DELUXE Halong Bay Day Tour is the best cheap cruise of Ha Long Bay, I know that not everyone is the same and you might have different preferences to what I do. Here are 5 other options to consider, all of which are cheaper than the vast majority.

Halong Bay Discovery With 6 Hours Boat Tour from Halong City

This tour is *the* cheapest you will find online, costing only $17, but the big downside with this option is that it doesn’t include the $12 admission fee, and has a $6 fee for lunch. When you put it together, it’s more expensive than the first option.

And the reviews aren’t as good either. But if you want to spend as little as you can online and spend more in person using cash, then it’s an option to consider.

Buffet on Paradise Delight Dining Cruise Halong Bay Day Tour

Buffet on Paradise is actually slightly cheaper than the tour I ended up going with, and I was actually originally planning on going with it. The reviews are impeccable and the value for money seems to be amazing.

The only downside is they only run cruises on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, so if you aren’t in Halong on these days of the week, unfortunately, it’s not an option.

But if you do happen to visit over a weekend, then it’s worth considering for sure. As I said, the reviews are overwhelmingly good.

Misty view of Ha Long Bay with silhouettes of multiple limestone formations rising from the tranquil sea

BEST SELLER – Halong 5 Star Day Cruise: Buffet Lunch, Wine& Fruit

If you don’t mind spending a tiny bit more money, then this is a really good option. As the name says, it is indeed a best-seller and it is rated 5-star with more than 800 reviews.

The extra price goes towards a sunset party which is included as part of the tour. However, the name is slightly misleading as alcoholic beverages are not included.

Still, it seems really nice and if I wasn’t on a shoestring budget, it’s one I would consider.

Ha Long Bay: Luxury Day Cruise, Caves, Kayak & Buffet Lunch

If you want a luxurious cruise experience without breaking the bank, then look no further as the interior of this ship is stunning. It looks like a fine dining restaurant!

It also includes a welcome drink too which is a nice touch, as well as a full meal and the typical Ha Long Bay activities.

If you’re willing to spend a bit more, it’s the perfect option. Vietnam is so cheap that you can feel like a VIP for little to nothing.

Man standing in front of Ha Long Bay's calm waters, wearing a casual white tee and shorts, with distant limestone islets

All-Inclusive 2 Day/1 Night Halong Luxury Cruise, Meals, Cave, Kayaking,Swimming

While the name is for a 2-day, 1-night tour, there is an option on Viator for taking just a day tour. I wouldn’t recommend the overnight tours as you don’t really see or do anything extra, you just spend more time at each place.

The day tour still takes you to all of the most popular spots and includes enough time for kayaking and swimming. Even if you have the time, I still wouldn’t do the overnight tours – they’re a waste of money.

It’s not the cheapest on the list, but it’s definitely not the most expensive either – far from it. It’s a pretty solid option for a middle-ground price.


Below are some commonly asked questions related to the best cheap Halong Bay cruise along with my answers to each question.

What is the cheapest way to book a Ha Long Bay cruise?

The cheapest way to book a Ha Long Bay cruise is by booking in person. You can book through hostels, hotels or tour agents. Booking in person is always cheaper than booking online in Vietnam.

How much does the average Halong Bay cruise cost?

The average Halong Bay cruise costs around $40-50. It’s one of the more expensive activities in Vietnam but it’s worth it because the area is breathtaking. The popularity of the UNESCO Site means it has higher prices.

Can someone visit Halong Bay on a low budget?

Yes, it’s possible to visit Halong Bay on a low budget. Most backpackers will stay on Cat Ba and take a tour which goes through both Lan Ha Bay and Ha Long Bay. It usually works out cheaper than staying in Halong City.

Is it better to book Halong Bay cruise in advance?

It is not necessary to book a Halong Bay cruise in advance as there are hundreds of options so there is always space. You can usually book a cruise for the next day, or even the same day. It doesn’t hurt to book in advance if you want a specific company though.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, a complete overview of the best cheap Halong Bay crusies.

Remember, the best one in my opinion is the DELUXE Halong Bay Day Tour From Hanoi, Daily Operated 2024 – 2025.

It has the best value for money and includes lots of good activities like swimming and kayaking, as well as a good lunch.

If you want to save even more money, then consider Lan Ha Bay over Ha Long Bay, as it offers a very similar experience for a fraction of the price.