The best cruise from Cat Ba island The best cruise from Cat Ba island The best cruise from Cat Ba island
Jonque Quatre Saisons traversant le village de pêcheur de Hang Vem, Baie de lan Ha, Vietnam

The best cruise from Cat Ba island


Many people today are looking for alternatives to the touristy area of Halong Bay. The boats there are indeed numerous and very large. It is becoming increasingly difficult to have an authentic experience and fully enjoy the magical place that is Halong Bay.

A cruise in Lan Ha Bay from Cat Ba Island offers a different, much quieter, and more relaxing experience.

In this article, we list several junks that could meet your desires and criteria!

Feel free to contact us for personalized advice.



Why choosing Cat Ba for your cruise ? 

Rather than the city of Halong and its namesake bay, we recommend visiting Cat Ba Island and the surrounding Lan Ha Bay.

Cat Ba Island offers a wide range of activities, from trekking in the national park to exploring caves and relaxing on its beaches.

In addition to these activities, Cat Ba Island is the starting point for junk boat cruises and small boat excursions. It is these cruises that we prefer for enjoying Halong Bay in the best possible way.

All the boats listed below are of a human scale.


Village de Pêcheur de Hang Vieng dans la baie de Lan Ha, Vietnam

Hang Vieng floating village, Lan Ha bay, Vietnam. Photo: Mathieu Arnaudet


Where that the cruise start from ? 

The boats sailing in Lan Ha Bay depart from two different piers: either the Pha Got port or the small port of Ben Beo.

The larger and more modern boats sailing in Lan Ha and Halong Bay depart from Pha Got. We will not discuss them in this article.

We will only talk about the junks departing from the Ben Beo port located south of Cat Ba Island, near the town of Cat Ba. You will be brought to this port either from Hanoi or from your hotel on Cat Ba Island if you decide to stay overnight before your cruise.


Jonque devant le port de Ben Beo, île de Cat Ba, VietnamBeo harbor in the background. Photo: Mathieu Arnaudet


Junk for tight budget

Cat Ba Island is known among young backpackers because it provides relatively low-cost services, including hotels, motorcycle rentals, and cruises.

You can explore Lan Ha Bay in 1 day or 2 days on basic junks at a very reasonable price.

Here are two cruise operators that we recommend if you want to enjoy the bay at a great price without worrying too much about comfort.


Cat Ba Green Trail Travel

The company Cat Ba Green Trail Travel began operating cruises from Cat Ba Island in 2012. The company’s boats are named ManhDat and offer half-day/day or 2 and 3-day itineraries.

The price per person for a 1-day group tour will cost you around 30 euros.

The price will be slightly higher for a 2-day and 1-night tour: expect to pay around 120 euros per person.

These prices do not include transportation from Hanoi, only pick-up at your hotel on Cat Ba Island


Bateau pour circuits à la journée de Cat Ba Green Trail Travel

Daily boat of Cat Ba Green Trail Travel. Photo: Cat Ba Green Trail Travel


Cat Ba Venture

Cat Ba Venture is another reliable tour operator based on Cat Ba Island. They own several wooden junks, giving you the choice of a private or group tour for either a day or 2 or 3 days.

The price per person for a one-day group tour is also around 30 euros. It will cost you a little over 120 euros for a 2-day stay from Cat Ba Island.

What sets them apart? They offer the option of rock climbing as an activity during the cruise !


Bateau journalier de Cat Ba Venture

Daily boat of Cat Ba Venture. Photo: Cat Ba Venture


Sunlight (9 cabins)

Sunlight company has a junk boat for day trips and another one for 2-day and 1-night tours.

The price per person for a stay on Sunlight’s boat is around 150 euros.

On the second day, you have the choice between two activities: either a bike ride to the Viet Hai village or a visit to a pearl farm.

The reviews on Tripadvisor for this cruise are generally very good. Here’s an example:

“Good organization, good equipment on board. Excellent cuisine. The only comment is the excessive price of drinks on board. English-speaking guide, very good entertainment and information.


Bateau de Sunlight Cruise

The 9 cabins boat of Sunlight. Photo: Sunlight Cruise


If you have a tight budget, these companies can fulfill their role quite well and allow you to discover the fabulous landscapes of Halong Bay on a relatively small boat. However, keep in mind that these budget cruises often cater to groups of young people looking to party, which might be bothersome if you are seeking tranquility above all through this cruise. Drinks and anything not included in the program can also be quite expensive on board. It’s good to be aware of this.


Modern and comfortable boats

If you’re looking for a more modern boat with greater comfort, we recommend these two boats: Cozy and Honey.


Cozy boat (11 cabins)

The Cozy junk is a modern and characterful boat with 11 cabins. All rooms offer a splendid open view of the bay, each equipped with a private bathroom. They are spacious and ideal for couples and small families (a couple and a child, for example).

An English-speaking guide will be on board with you, providing an opportunity for you to learn more about the lives of the bay’s residents. The guide will also be the leader of activities such as kayaking, cycling, and cooking classes


La jonque Cozy dans la baie de Lan Ha

Cozy boat in la baie de Lan Ha. Crédit : Mathieu Arnaudet



Honey boat (7 cabins)

The Honey boat is similar to Cozy but smaller, with only 7 cabins on board. The cabins are slightly less elaborately decorated than Cozy, but they are new, clean, and spacious. The 3 upper-level rooms feature a balcony, allowing you to make the most of the bay view from your room.


La jonque Honey, Baie de Lan Ha

The 7 cabins Honey boat. Crédit : Honey. 




The traditional junks for group/shared tours or private charter

If you are considering a cruise on a boat with a bit more character and in a more intimate setting, the following junks will be an excellent choice.


Four Season boat from Parfum d’Automne (4 cabins)

The Four Seasons junk, owned by Mrs. Huong, founder of our travel agency, is undoubtedly the most beautiful boat sailing in Lan Ha Bay. Its impressive sails, in particular, give it a unique charm.

The boat has only 4 cabins, providing a delightful journey focused on relaxation and contemplation.

This boat is available only for 2 and 3-day tours. You can make your reservation from Hanoi or Cat Ba. In the latter case, our on-site colleague, Mr. Binh, will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the Ben Beo port.

In addition to the charming construction of the boat, you will appreciate the cabins and the chef’s cuisine on board, a must in the bay!

For a 2-day and 1-night group tour on this junk from Cat Ba Island, the price is 170 euros per person.

Here are some TripAdvisor reviews to give you an idea of the onboard experience. One example: “Fantastic from start to finish, I received a very quick response after a quote request, the exchanges with Mrs. Thuy were precise and in French. On-site, everything was organized as planned; we felt like VIPs… the staff was fantastic, and the meals delicious. I highly recommend Parfum d’Automne +++


Bateau à voile de Parfum d'Automne naviguant par beau temps dans la Baie de Lan Ha au Vietnam

Four Seasons boat in Lan Ha bay. Photo: Parfum d’Automne



Dai Duong 8 (4 cabins)

Here is an iron boat that has been beautifully designed. With 4 cabins, it also has a small sundeck and a sheltered dining area – this is where all meals will be served.

We recommend this boat for groups of friends of at least four people – below that, the price per person will be quite high.

The itinerary of this boat allows you to go a bit further into Lan Ha Bay and reach đảo Đầu Bê, which is in the area of the ‘three lakes.’ These are three beautiful inland lakes that you will explore at your own pace in complete tranquility.


Jonque Ocean naviguant dans la baie d'Halong, Vietnam

Dai Duong 8 boat. Crédit : Mathieu Arnaudet



Panorama boat (3 cabins)

Here is another junk perfect for couples of friends or families: only 3 cabins. Same services and itinerary as the Four Seasons junk. It is also possible to book a single cabin or the entire boat.


Jonque Panorama

 Panorama boat. Crédit : Panorama



Romance boat (2 cabins)

The Romance junk is a wooden boat with 2 cabins, each with a private bathroom (shower and toilet). It has an upper deck with a sheltered area where you can have your meals. Sunbeds are available for relaxation, allowing you to appreciate the enchanting landscape of Halong Bay.

This Romance junk is perfect for couples, small families, or groups of friends. It can accommodate a maximum of 4 adults and 2 young children.


La jonque Romance vue du ciel dans la baie de Lan Ha, Vietnam

Romance boat. Crédit : Mathieu Arnaudet 



You now know the main boats sailing in Lan Ha Bay around Cat Ba Island !



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Mathieu Arnaudet
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