THE TOP 5 Halong Bay Shore Excursions

Halong Bay Shore Excursions from Cai Lan Port

Are you cruising to Vietnam? Will your cruise ship be docking at port of call: Halong Bay/Hanoi (Cai Lan) Cruise Port, Vietnam and you do not know how to find and book a private & unique excursion for you and your family? We are here to write this blog to give you, hopefully, some know before you go useful insight about port of  call: Halong Bay/Hanoi (Cai Lan) Cruise Port, Vietnam . From how to head for an exit to what shore excursions are available; the 10 must-visit attractions in Hanoi; the best restaurant for lunch;… This is all you need to take note!


The deepwater port of Cai Lan is your gateway to the splendors of North Vietnam. Nearby Halong Bay is one of the world's extraordinary scenic wonders. This World Heritage Site boasts a calm bay studded with over 3,000 dramatic limestone islands, islets and rock formations. Visitors to Cai Lan can also venture up the Red River to fabled Hanoi, the "Pearl of the North." Today, with memories of the Vietnam War fading, the city impresses with its splendid colonial architecture, ancient temples, superb parks and myriad lakes. It's little wonder that Northern Vietnam remains one of Asia's most popular vacation destinations.

The limestone islands in Halong Bay are riddled with caves. The French who once ruled Vietnam called Go Dao Cave the Grotte de Merveilles, the grotto of marvels. Of course, they left their graffiti among the astounding assortment of stalactites and stalagmites.

1. Top Food and Drink Spots near Halong Bay/Hanoi (Cai Lan) Cruise Port

Quang Anh

Address: Bến tàu khách Cát Bà, đường đi bãi tắm Cát Cò 3, vịnh Đồng Hồ, Cát Hải, Hải Phòng, Vietnam

On Cat Ba Island, Quang Anh is an excellent option after a day’s worth of hiking. There’s a land version of the establishment, but the floating restaurant is more of a novelty. Steamed, fried, or roasted, local seafood rules the menu here.

Avocado Restaurant

Address: C342-343, Old Street Zone, No. 9 Halong Road, Quảng Ninh 200000, Vietnam

Avocado Restaurant has both Western-inspired dishes like lamb loin and grilled chicken breast as well as traditional Vietnamese dishes. Try the steamed sea bass or the traditional Halong squid cake with sticky rice while you’re here.

Family Bakery

Address: TT. Cát Bà, Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam

Coffee and pastries are the main menu items at Family Bakery, influenced by European-style breakfast treats like flaky croissants. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the place to go in Cat Ba. Cakey chocolate doughnuts and filling egg sandwiches are must-tries, too.

2. Culture & History of the Halong Bay/Hanoi (Cai Lan) Cruise Port 

Hanoi, which is now the capital of Vietnam, has passed through the hands of many colonizers, including the Chinese, the Europeans, British, and French. As part of the Geneva Accord, Hanoi was declared the capital in 1945. The U.S. Vietnam War devastated parts of Vietnam through attacks and bombings, and killed thousands of Vietnamese citizens.

Today, Hanoi is facing rapid growth in population and infrastructure. Halong Bay has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994, known as a solo traveler’s haven for its hiking, scuba diving, and incredible rock climbing. They’re mostly uninhabited and remote, but Halong Bay’s islets have become synonymous with the backpacker’s off-the-beaten-path Vietnam. More importantly, they have left a mark on the culture and traditions of Vietnam, as Halong Bay is viewed as a sacred site.

3. Halong Bay/Hanoi (Cai Lan) Cruise Port acilities & Location

As part of a Halong Bay cruise package, your cruise ship will dock in Halong Bay or at the nearby Cai Lan port. Most cruise passengers stay in Halong Bay and explore the surrounding areas rather than venturing too far into the mainland. You’ll be about a 15-minute walk from cafes, free wifi, souvenir shacks, and restaurants.

4. Transportation in Halong Bay/Hanoi (Cai Lan) Cruise Port 

Taxis will be waiting for passengers at the cruise port. Uber and the taxi app Grab are in operation in Hanoi as well. Buses to Halong from Hanoi leave every half hour. Motorbike taxis are called xe om in Vietnam, and they’re a great option for solo travelers wanting to experience the city on a motorbike.

5. Shopping Near Halong Bay/Hanoi (Cai Lan) Cruise Port 

On a Hanoi cruise, you’ll find that shopping opportunities in Halong Bay area aren’t highly developed yet, but small ships float along the bay selling snacks and sweets. The Bai Chay night market is the place to go for Vietnamese artisanal items and handmade goods, plus plenty of authentic Vietnamese street eats. Don’t forget that bargaining is part of the culture here, so stick to your guns to secure a good deal.

6. Local Currency & Tipping Customs

In Vietnam, the official currency is the dong, or VND. Tipping isn’t an expected practice in Vietnam, but leaving extra change for a taxi driver is welcome. Tour drivers rely on tip income, so be sure to tip any guide who helps you during your time on a Hanoi cruise. A general practice is to tip waiters and waitresses 5-10% at a restaurant. Bargaining is a central part of the culture in Vietnam, so you’re welcome to practice your haggling at the markets and shops here.

7. Language

The official language is Vietnamese, but English and French are widely spoken.


1. Hanoi Opera House

Hanoi Opera House is the star of the French Quarter. Your French Quarter tour can’t be complete if you miss Hanoi Opera House.

2. Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison is a much heavier dose than the other two landmarks of the French Quarter. Hoa Lo Prison is not only a national historical landmark but also a war-crime evidence during French Colonial Period.

Hoa Lo Prison Travel Guide - BestPrice Travel

3. Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is the heart of Hanoi, located just right next to the Old Quarter, making it a place you can’t miss on your Hanoi City tour.

Hoan Kiem Lake – The Sacred Heart of Hanoi, Vietnam

Related to the popular legend, Hoan Kiem Lake was the place where the story of Emperor Le Loi returning his sword to a Golden Turtle God took place. After the legend, the lake’s name changed from Luc Thuy (Green Water) to Hoan Kiem (Lake of Returning Sword).

On the northern shore of the lake lies Jade Island where the Temple of Jade Mountain stands. The red wooden bridge called The Huc (meaning Morning Sunlight Bridge) is a popular sight of the whole complex.

Come to Hoan Kiem Lake you can take a walk around the refreshing and beautiful lake to enjoy the atmosphere, cultural space, and the food. Hoan Kiem Lake is absolutely a must-visit spot in Hanoi.

4. Temple of Literature

Come to Temple of Literature to learn more about Vietnam under the influence of Chinese Confucianism. The Temple of Literature, besides its historical and cultural significance, shows a light on how Vietnamese people appreciate education and enlightenment of the mind. You can also learn more about some of the brightest minds and literature talents throughout Vietnamese history.

5. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum on Ba Dinh Square, by no mean, should be missed by you when visiting Hanoi. The mausoleum is the final resting place of the most iconic, most beloved leader in Vietnamese history.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum to reopen after annual repairs - VnExpress ...

From 1973 to 1975, the construction of the mausoleum finished with great effort brought together from all over the country.

The building was made of granite, modeled on Lenin’s mausoleum in Russia. Around the mausoleum was hundreds of plants and flowers, among which the bamboo trees have the most meaning.

When visiting Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, visitors are required to dress with respect (no hat, shorts, sunglasses, sleeveless shirts, and miniskirts). Cameras and bags are not allowed to enter the mausoleum.

6. Watch a Performance at Thang Long Puppetry Theater

Water Puppetry is a traditional folklore performance of Vietnam which showcases the traditional daily life of Vietnamese farmers with activities like cultivating, tending buffalo, catching fishes or communal entertainment such as swimming contest dragon dancing.

Water puppetry has a certain attachment to Vietnamese people since it’s a traditional art that has been performed within the agricultural villages for centuries, by and for the farmers.

In real life, the villagers hold water puppetry performances in the village’s communal temple. Long bamboo sticks are used to control the puppets by the artisans standing behind the curtain.

Thang Long Puppetry Theater is the first place where this traditional folk art to be made on stage with light and music effects before an international audience.

With a convenient location, just across Hoan Kiem Lake, watching a water puppetry performance at Thang Long Theater is a must thing to do in Hanoi.

7. Shop at Dong Xuan Night Market

Dong Xuan Market, the oldest market of Hanoi was built in 1889 by the French administration. As time goes by, the market has developed into the largest covered market in Hanoi where you can find anything from clothes, souvenirs, to household good and foods.


Originally, Dong Xuan is not a market for tourists but Dong Xuan Night Market is. On weekend’s nights (Fri-Sun), a 3-kilometer long line of stalls spreads on the middle of Hang Dao Street.

Here you can find hundreds of things full on display: mostly souvenirs, clothes, bags, toys, accessories… The food section offers several choices for Vietnamese street foods as well as other Asian cuisines – Korean, Thai, Japan…

On Saturday evenings, traditional folk arts and cultural performances such as cheo, ca tru will be held. From 20:00 to 22:00, it’s the most crowded time. If you only want to shop, you should visit earlier.

8. Enjoy a Cup of Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is famous worldwide, this is a well-known fact. Coffee in Vietnam tastes so much stronger, sweeter and more flavorful, with a lot of variations and combinations that will surprise you.

Hanoi, Vietnam: Egg coffee + indulging on a budget — Go Squab

The French introduced coffee to Vietnam during the colonialism but Vietnamese people sure have made drinking coffee a culture of themselves.

It’s a sight to happen only in Vietnam – people sitting on the sidewalks and waiting for the coffee to drip. Working people spend a lot of time to enjoy a cup of coffee, making it a daily habit.

Black coffee and brown coffee (a mixture of black coffee and condensed milk) are the most common and the cheapest. While variations that make use of yogurt, egg, and fruits have become so popular.

9. Learn more about Vietnam at Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Among the rich collection of museums in Hanoi, the one that’s worthiest of your visit is Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.

The institute offers an insight into the 54 different ethnic groups of Vietnam. A visit to the museum is a great opportunity to understand more about Vietnamese diversity in culture and identity.

The museum has two sections:

  • Indoor house featuring representative objects from each and different groups,
  • and outdoor representing a range of traditional houses of minorities in Vietnam.

All the artifacts are presented in a simple way, put in their cultural context. It’s easy to imagine the life of each ethnic people through the setting and information the museum presented.

10. Explore Old Quarter Hanoi by Trishaw Ride

Roam the narrow, winding, and often crowded streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter district, which is the beating heart of Hanoi’s cultural scene. By day, these French colonial buildings are office buildings, but by night, the district bursts to life with eateries, art galleries, and shophouses. Leave a few hours to stroll unhurriedly so you can explore Dong Xuan, the city’s biggest market, or the National Museum of Vietnamese History.

Xích lô Hà Nội, phương tiện đi lại ở Hà Nội

11. HaLong Bay Discovery (04 hours or 08 hours)

Halong Bay is known as a beautiful natural wonder in northern Vietnam. It is dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1,500 sqkm. This extraordinary area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. For many tourists, this place is like something right out of a movie. The fact is that Halong Bay features a wide range of biodiversity, while the surrealistic scenery has indeed featured in endless movies…

What to Do In Halong Bay Vietnam Summary | i Tour Vietnam Blogs

12. Luon & Sung SOT Caves

Thien Cung Grotto and Dau Go Cave are among the most-visited natural attractions in magnificent Halong Bay. Boat tours reveal an amazing underground world of shimmering stalactites and stalagmites.

Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave: Explore The Biggest Cave in Halong Bay


Vietnam Shore Excursions offer fully customisable shore excursions (private & group shore excursions) for cruise ship passengers in Halong Bay/ Hanoi (Cai Lan) Cruise Port, Vietnam. Check out recommended Vietnam Shore Excursions, if you do not find any suitable itinerary, please contact our Vietnam travel experts. We will help you tailor a unique shore excursion to Vietnam that is exclusively for you.

Po-Nagar-Cham-Towers1Nha Trang Shore Excursions

Nha Trang is known as the Riviera of the South China Sea, offers a six-kilometre stretch of beautiful coastline with white sandy beaches, clear waters with an abundance of marine life and thriving reefs, verdant mountain ranges at each end, as well as 19 untouched islets that are just a short boat ride away. This city also offers a myriad of sightseeing and recreational activities, the coastal town itself is steeped with breath-taking structures that date back to the Champa Kingdom, Buddhist temples, and gothic-style Catholic churches, as well as natural hot springs, salt fields, and unique waterfalls. Customers will have a chance to taste and try fresh seafood and Vietnamese cuisine while lively bars and pubs along the pristine beach are favourite hangouts for tourists to watch the sun sets over the East Sea…IMG_7468

1d5dba59a60cf79.jpgDa Nang & Hoi An Shore Excursions

This shore excursion is specially designed for cruise ship passengers from Chan May or Tien Sa Port who want to discover all must-see attractions of Marble Mountains, China Beach, the Japanese Bridge, the UNESCO-listed old quarter of Hoi An, and Dragon Bridge in one day. With this shore excursion, customers not only have a chance to learn about the history and culture of each city, also enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant…IMG_7468

441-1024x682.jpgMy Son Sanctuary & Hoi An Shore Excursions

This shore excursion introduces two unique & amazing attractions recognized as world heritage by UNESCO: My Son Sanctuary & Hoi An Ancient Town. Customers not only have chance to explore My Son Sanctuary, admire the mysterious ancient ruins of a once blooming capital under the Cham civilization dating from the second century, but also visit Hoi An Ancient Town – a trading center of Vietnam in 15th Century  and have best souvenirs for your friends and family…IMG_7468

570b12e809fb4-1024x640.jpgVung Tau Shore Excursions

Vung Tau city or Ba Ria-Vung Tau is a famous port city in Vietnam. It has long sandy beaches which stretch along the coastline. This city is also the best place on mainland where you can admire sunrise and sunset on the sea beautifully and has many unique relics such as Vung Tau Lighthouse, Jesus Statue, Niet Ban Tinh Xa Pagoda, Thich Ca Phat Dai Pagoda, Long Son Large House, etc. All the attractions of the city thank to the harmonious combination between natural landscape, urban architecture and cultural works…IMG_7468

feea6afb2da24a4ad318b0950ebf0dcc81df7a10Golden Bridge & Ba Na Hills Shore Excursions

This shore excursion brings you to visit the Golden Bridge – a new wonder of Vietnam, get lost in French Villas, stand on the top of Bana Mountain, and get a glimpse of Buddhism in Vietnam by a visit to sacred Linh Ung Pagoda…IMG_7468

1c.jpgHue Shore Excursions

Hue is known as the capital of imperial Vietnam for 143 years, shines with the glories of the old times. The city has a peculiar kind of conservative beauty and slow paced life style. Emperors’ tombs, Imperial Citadel, historic relics, beautiful beaches to poetic Perfume River, Dong Ba Market, Thien Mu Pagoda – Hue is just like a hidden gem of Central Vietnam where you can forget the flow of time. And these are just the most obvious things to do in Hue, just a scratch of what this beautiful city can offer…IMG_7468

new-starlight-travel-0125-ha-long-7-1024x640.jpgHalong Bay Shore Excursions

Halong Bay is known as a beautiful natural wonder in northern Vietnam. It is dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1,500 sqkm. This extraordinary area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. For many tourists, this place is like something right out of a movie. The fact is that Halong Bay features a wide range of biodiversity, while the surrealistic scenery has indeed featured in endless movies…IMG_7468

The-One-Pillar-Pagoda.jpgHanoi Shore Excursions

Hanoi is known as one of the most ancient capitals in the world, where travellers can find well-preserved colonial buildings, ancient pagodas, and unique museums within the city centre. A great place to explore on foot, this French-colonial city is also known for its delectable cuisine, vibrant nightlife, silks and handicrafts, as well as a multi-cultural community that’s made up of Chinese, French and Russian influences…IMG_7468

hochiminhcity_cnt_9nov09_istock_b2.jpgHo Chi Minh City Shore Excursions 

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is known as the business and financial hub of Vietnam. It becomes a popular tourist destination due to its fascinating culture, classic French architecture, and sleek skyscrapers as well as ornate temples and pagodas. The city is also filled with rooftop bars that overlook Saigon and beyond, while fantastic restaurants offer a combination of French, Chinese, and, of course, local Vietnamese cuisine. Here is the ideal destination for cruise passengers from Phu My & Sai Gon Port…IMG_7468

vietnam-saigon-notre-dame-cathedral1.jpgHo Chi Minh City & Cu Chi Tunnels Shore Excursions

With Cu Chi Tunnels and Ho Chi Minh City Shore Excursions, cruise passengers not only have a chance to explore an immense network of connecting underground tunnels that witnessed several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, but also see the hustle and bustle of Vietnamese life in Ho Chi Minh City. Whether you are a veteran, a war-site enthusiast or just a visitor, you will leave Cu Chi Tunnels and Ho Chi Minh City with newer and deeper perspectives of the country than you had before…IMG_7468

f502fca48d4334b5457ed5847104411e-1024x682.jpgMekong Delta Shore Excursions  

Mekong Delta – the endearing name Vietnamese people often call the land – has always been the most unique destination of Vietnam for cruise passengers from Phu My & Sai Gon Port. With most of the land covered and divided by wetlands and rivers, Mekong Delta has developed a unique way of life and culture adapting to the geography characteristics. There’re a lot of things to do in Mekong Delta Vietnam with the immense beauties and cultural charms…IMG_7468

Cu1389929995_images-05-1024x768.jpg Chi Tunnels Shore Excursions

Cu Chi Tunnel is known as one of the must-see spots in Phu My & Sai  Gon shore excursions for cruise passengers. It boasts an immense network of connecting underground tunnels that witnessed several military campaigns during the Vietnam War. Whether you are a veteran, a war-site enthusiast or just a visitor, you will leave Cu Chi Tunnels with newer and deeper perspectives of the country than you had before…IMG_7468

Are you temped to visit Halong Bay & Hanoi? Why not let us arrange your perfect tailor-made trip to Hanoi and Halong Bay? Tell us your own ideas and requests by mailing to One of our travel experts will get back to you as soon as possible!

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