Bai Tu Long bay: The neighbour of Halong you should not miss

Bai Tu Long bay, next to Halong bay, becomes more popular to tourists since 2010. When new cruises changed their focus into Bai Tu Long, the first fleet of Indochina Junk operated, and till now, dozens of tourist boat choices as long as the emergence of Co To and Quan Lan beaches, Bai Tu Long bay comes into stage. Now more and more tourists ask us about Bai Tu Long bay in their first request. And even the trip to Bai Tu Long bay costs more than Halong bay, most of them finally opt it. will launch new tours focusing in Bai Tu Long bay in this week. The tours will include both boat trips and private leisure in hotels to Quan Lan island, and Co To island, the best beaches of Bai Tu Long bay. Keep your eyes at our website frequently to get these updates.

Van Chai beach, Co To island, Bai Tu Long bay

Van Chai beach, Co To island, the most remote island of Bai Tu Long bay.

Why Bai Tu Long bay ?

Not crowded as Halong bay. Bai Tu Long bay is amazing and visitors are so glad to tour there rather than the overcrowded Halong area. Bai Tu Long bay tours are less known before 2010. It’s 4 times larger than Halong bay. Now there are only about 40 overnight boats operating in Hon Gai harbour, the start of all Bai Tu Long bay boat trips, compared with 300 overnight boats in Tuan Chau port, the start of Halong bay tours. Less boats operate in a larger area making Bai Tu Long bay less crowded.

More islands, more beaches, more beauty. “Very beautiful bay & thousands of limestone karsts look like a paradise on earth” – Jenny W from Malaybalay City, Philippines wrote on TripAdvisor. Larger area allows visitors to sail offshore to far mountains, peaceful and truly natural. Let the cool wind in your hair, immerse yourself in the blue water, more time for kayaking and scenic photos without other boats in front of your lens. Beaches in Bai Tu Long bay is indeed for swimming, not like the ones in Halong bay just for visiting with small sandy area and polluted by hundred boats (That’s why many Halong boats offer “swimming around the boat” instead of “swimming on the beach”).

More human being and cultural exchange. Despite Bai Tu Long bay tours are off-the-beaten-track, travelers still meet local fishermen living in far fishing villages or on remote islands. Vung Vieng fishing village is a favourite attraction which many boats get by. The big community, or “town”, is set-up on main islands of Co To, Quan Lan, Ngoc Vung, and travelers can stay in hotels on the remote islands. That’s another choice apart from overnight on boats.

How to get there ?

Look at this map

map of Halong - Bai Tu Long bay

Imagine there’s a Green frontier separating Halong bay (left) and Bai Tu Long bay (right). In Halong city, let Bai Chay bridge divide the city into 2: Bai Chay tourism zone (left), and Hon Gai administrative zone (right). National Road 18 (marked in Yellow) links Halong city and Cai Rong town (50km = 1 hour drive). The Red points mark the islands tourists can visit and stay. Some of them will be included in our Bai Tu Long bay tours launched this week.

There are 2 main ports for tourists to access Bai Tu Long bay: Hon Gai port (in Halong city – marked as 1 on the map), and Cai Rong port (in Cai Rong town – marked as 2 on the map). Hon Gai port is where many tourist boats as Indochina junk fleet, Bai Tho junk, Paloma cruise and Garden Bay cruise departs. During summer, Hon Gai is also the starting point of the daily 2 speedboats to Quan Lan island. Meanwhile, Cai Rong port is the departure point of speedboats to Co To island and Quan Lan islands. We will have another post about boat schedule in both ports this week.

Get to Hon Gai port

Hon Gai port is only 3km from Bai Chay bridge. Do you remember the only bridge you can see from your Halong bay boat trip ? The bridge separates Halong city into 2 parts: On the left is Bai Chay with hundreds of hotels and Tuan Chau island where hundreds of boats ready for Halong bay cruise; On the right is Hon Gai, the administrative zone of Halong city. From Bai Chay zone, you take a taxi (~ 200,000 VND/ 1 way) to Hon Gai port passing through Bai Chay bridge.

If you travel by yourselves from Hanoi, we recommend Kumho Viet Thanh bus (white body) or Phuc Xuyen bus (red-yellow body) which are good for foreigners: polite drivers with less horny than other buslines, no sudden brakes, 1 seat – 1 person arrangement instead of 2 seats – 3 people like other local buses. Remember to write down the name “Cảng Hòn Gai Vinashin, số 6 Lê Thánh Tông, thành phố Hạ Long” (the address of Hon Gai port in Vietnamese) then show it to the driver. He will know drop you off at somewhere after exiting Bai Chay bridge, and you take a taxi from there to Hon Gai port.

Kumho Viet Thanh bus

Kumho Viet Thanh bus operating on the route Hanoi – Halong – Cua Ong is acceptable for solo travelers. The bus starts in My Dinh bus station (Hanoi) and ends in Cua Ong bus station. Every 30 minutes, there is 1 bus departing from each station. Bus operation time is 5:45 – 18:45 every day.

However, the inconvenient way is that you have to take a taxi from your hotel to My Dinh bus station where Kumho and Phuc Xuyen depart. We assume you stay in Hanoi old quarter like many tourists, then My Dinh bus station is 15km far from the old quarter, and you spend at least 30 minutes taxi to overcome traffic jams, and some 200,000 VND for taxi. This is NOT a cheap way, and far from the convenience. That’s why you should book a tour package to Bai Tu Long bay instead, and the transportation is included. You don’t need to ask yourselves where to change from bus to taxi, from taxi to bus, how much the taxi costs …

In our calculation way, 1-way transfer costs only 5 $/person. Though this transfer can’t be separated from the tour package, the low transfer cost makes our tour price cheaper than you arrange all by yourselves. And most importantly, our bus will pick you up at your hotel in Hanoi old quarter. You don’t need taking taxi and hesitating other scams on the way.

Get to Cai Rong port

If you travel by yourselves from Halong city, you should contact us to rent a private car at 60 $/1 car/1 way. There are local city buses at a super cheap fare, but you should forget them coz they don’t have air-condition, too horny and stops many times to pick up other guests on the way. The distance Halong – Cai Rong is 50km, so it’s not worthy trying city buses on such a long road.

If you travel by yourselves from Hanoi, Kumho and Phuc Xuyen buses are still our choices. Our latest update that Phuc Xuyen “Limousine” (dark-red color) which is a 16-seat van but deluxe and newly operated since 9 July 2015 with 15 vans on the route Hanoi – Halong – Cua Ong. The ticket costs only 200,000 VND/ person. The vans are equipped with deluxe interiors, large space for sitting and streching your legs, free Wifi on board, 21″ LCD screen, air condition and free mineral water. And we will opt Phuc Xuyen Limousine for our Bai Tu Long bay tours launched on next days.

Phuc Xuyen bus from Hanoi to Bai Tu Long bay

Phuc Xuyen bus (red-yellow body) is a trusted brand of local shuttle bus between Hanoi, Halong and Cua Ong (Cua Ong is 10km from Cai Rong port where has speedboats to remote islands of Bai Tu Long bay). Remember to distinguish “Phuc Xuyen” (big bus) with “Phuc Xuyen Limousine” (16-seat van and deluxe)

Phuc Xuyen Limousine Dcar from Hanoi to Bai Tu Long bay

On 9 July 2015, Phuc Xuyen introduces a new brand “Phuc Xuyen Limousine” (dark-red body). The Limousine vans are the latest Ford D-car model equiped with deluxe interiors, free Wifi and large seats for stretching your legs. Limousine ticket costs only 200,000 VND/1 way (10 $). So it’s deluxe, but CHEAP.

Managing Director Mr. Doan The Xuyen of Phuc Xuyen company

On 9 July 2015, Managing Director Mr. Doan The Xuyen of Phuc Xuyen company announced the inauguration of Phuc Xuyen Limousine, the deluxe van operating for Hanoi – Cua Ong route.

Deluxe interior of Phuc Xuyen Limousine

Deluxe interior of Phuc Xuyen Limousine. All seats are reclining and covered by leather. Large space from seat to seat make your journey more comfortable. 21″ LCD helps you entertain during the transfer.

Sophisticated clock on Phuc Xuyen Limousine.

Sophisticated clock on Phuc Xuyen Limousine.

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1 Comment

  1. Lisa Lo

    I would like to know if there is a phuc Xuyen bus running between bai chay and Tuan chau international passengers pier( where to take cruise trip for Halong bay). Mr Doan The Xuyen, announced that the route is officially running in year 2016.

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