How is the Weather in Halong Bay in March?

March in Halong Bay signifies the end of the cold winter months and the beginning of spring: Temperatures rise, as does rainfall and humidity. The good thing about the weather in March is the higher average temperature. This does, unfortunately have some negative side effects like the longer rainy spells indicative of the warmer months. While this does give the bay an almost prehistoric glamor, it can dampen the adventurous spirit.

Temperature

Halong Bay begins to thaw in March, ushering in warmer weather. Expect average temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius, with highs of 23 and lows of 18. This is a delightful time of year to spend outdoors, exploring the caves or simply lounging around, providing you can avoid the light showers.

Sunlight

As Vietnam is so close to the equator, sunrise and sunset don’t tend to deviate significantly, with seven to eight hours of sunlight a day throughout the year. March is on the higher end of this scale, with an average of around 8 hours of sunlight a day.

Humidity

With March’s mix of higher temperatures and increased levels of rainfall, humidity levels are inevitably higher than the winter months, with around 75% humidity. This is still lower than the average, however, which is 90% humidity for monsoon season.

Rainfall

Looking at how much rain falls through March can be misleading. While the average rainfall through the entire month is 53mm over around 13 days, it is more consistent than that of the summer months. This means that, while there is less rain, it continues for a longer period, making it less desirable to pursue outdoor activities.

Overall March is a good month to visit. The humidity is low, making activities less tiresome, and the light rains can turn this ancient seascape into a surreal and awe-inspiring picture. Some might find, however, that the consistent rainfall leads something to be desired.

>> Follow the weather in Halong Bay in March 

Big Cruise Liners and Hon Gai Port

2018 saw some major developments in Halong Bay’s infrastructure.

The new expressway, which links Hanoi to Halong Bay, cuts the drive time from four hours to just two. The brand new Van Don International Airport, which received its first flight in December 2018, is set to be the closest to Halong Bay.

Now, the new Hon Gai International Passenger Terminal, which received its first cruise liner on November 28, 2018, has received its first cruise ship, bringing 2,000 visitors and almost 1,000 staff members to the bay.

Construction began on this new port just one year ago, in November 2017, and has cost a total of $47.4 million. This massive investment into Halong Bay’s infrastructure helps to link this UNESCO World Heritage Site to the rest of the world, with the best possible facilities available for visitors.

This new port was designed to receive two cruise ships at any one time, each with the capacity of holding 8,460 passengers and crew members. The port itself provides a five-star, three-storey terminal, which covers 7,600 square meters, and a harbor able to accommodate 250 smaller tourist boats.

Ten international cruise liners were welcomed to the port before the end of 2018, adding to Halong Bay’s 12 million tourists expected in 2018. Given that the General Statistics Office stated that tourism delivered to Vietnam by ship was down 2.3 percent over the first 10 months of 2018, this port offered a welcome boost.

>> Check out the best Halong Bay overnight cruise

Getting to Halong Bay from the Airports: Hanoi, Hai Phong, and Quang Ninh

While reaching Halong Bay may have previously been a tiresome venture, new investments from the government and private companies have made the journey considerably faster and easier. You can now access Halong Bay by three airports: make sure you choose the one that is best for you.

Hanoi (Noi Bai International Airport) to Halong Bay

Thanks to the recent government investment into the Hanoi to Halong Bay highway, drives to and from these locations have been cut from four hours to two – usually with a short stop in-between – making Halong Bay an accessible location from the moment you land in Vietnam.

There are many international airlines flying into Noi Bai and direct flights are available. Travelers coming from a growing number of European cities can hop on a Vietnam Airlines flight direct. Flights from the US may take a little longer and usually average around 20 hours with a stop in-between.

Though there are plenty of options available when it comes to travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay, some of them are best avoided. The adventurers of the world might be excited by the idea of train travel, but it’s very crowded and takes five hours to get there. While a public buses are cheap, they don’t provide a comfortable journey, leaving you stuck in a hot and overcrowded bus for hours on end.

Consider hiring a minibus or car with a driver to take you there. To ensure the best service, book through President Cruises to get a private four or seven-seat car. Our drivers can pick you up and drop you off at the airport.

Alternatively, President Cruises operates a fleet of private shuttle transfers daily between Hanoi and Halong Bay. We’ve got a 16-seat shuttle and a 29-seat shuttle, both equipped with on board WiFi, USB chargers, air-conditioning and complimentary bottles of water. This is, without a doubt, the most luxurious way to reach Halong Bay.

Our shuttle transfers leave Hanoi at 8:45am in the Old Quarter and will pick you up, though guests staying outside of the area can head to the central pick-up location at Hanoi Tower. The returning shuttle transfer leaves Halong Bay at 12:15 and drops guests to their hotels back in the Hanoi Old Quarter or at the central drop-off point in Hanoi Tower.

While our limousine service does not go to Noi Bai airport, we do have a service that does – the seaplane. As a part of our special package, we offer the seaplane transfer, which departs from Hanoi airport twice a day. The seaplane can carry up to 8 people with luggage.

 Halong City (Van Don Airport) to Halong Bay

Thanks to the arrival of the Van Don international airport, built by private investors, and the Ha Long to Van Don expressway, travelers are a mere hour from Halong Bay once they land.

Even though the airport has just opened up, there is no list of international flights arriving in Van Don just yet. However, the airport was created for that very purpose, with great stretches of tarmac available for massive international airplanes and state-of-the-art facilities.

Starting at the end of December 2018, flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Van Don will run daily at 2:00pm and 4:45pm for the return. The airport will open a far greater number of domestic and international flights in the future, so be sure to keep an eye out for developing news if you wish to fly into Halong Bay’s closest airport.

Hai Phong (Cat Bi Airport) to Halong Bay

 While Cat Bi airport is an international airport, it mostly sees domestic flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Danang. Daily flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Cat Bi depart at 7:00 11:15, 12:50 and 16:55, while flights from Danang are less consistent.

Unlike Hanoi, the travel options from Cat Bi are few and your best bet would be to get a private transfer, which, if booked online, will cost around $60 and take around two hours.

Where are the Largest Cabins in Halong Bay?

President Cruises, Halong Bay’s newest and largest cruise ship has arrived to boldly glide through the bay’s waters. The President is not only the newest and most glamorous floating hotel in the bay, it also offers the largest cabins of any cruise ship.

The choice of five luxury cabin types await you aboard the President, each one demonstrating the sheer opulence of this sumptuous ship, ranging from a generous 30sqm to an expansive 90sqm.

Each cabin comes with a private balcony or terrace and broad floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for a majestic view of the tranquil scenery. All rooms are adorned with complimentary tones; parquet wooden flooring and a walk-in closet. They’re also transferable between double and twin.

The 18 Ambassador Balcony cabins and 23 Premier Balcony cabins are 30sqm and come supplied with every modern indulgence you might desire. They also enjoy a private balcony for a more personal view of this picturesque seascape.

The two Cabinet Suites and two Treasury Suites provide ample room to unwind in their respective 35sqm and 38sqm. With an indulgent bathtub to relax and unwind in, you can float by the limestone karsts in a deep sense of serenity.

The President Suite boasts the highest point of opulence in the bay, measuring a total of 90sqm with additional space for the capacious private terrace. Sitting at the front of the ship, the President Suite leads the way through Halong Bay’s waters, with the private terrace allowing for the finest view from any cruise ship.

The President Suite is the penthouse on the sea, with a private open-air Jacuzzi, private bar and dining area, and floor-to-celling windows that promise an incomparable Halong Bay experience.

If you’re looking for privacy but you don’t want to sacrifice comfort, President Cruises is the first choice for any sophisticated world traveler.

>> Check out the most luxurious cabins in Halong Bay 

Setting the Night Alight with Brazilian Jazz Duo

President Cruises, Halong Bay’s grandest vessel, will be hosting a Michelin star event like no other, with multi Michelin star chef John Burton-Race raising the standard of Halong Bay dining.

Following this glamorous dining experience will be an unforgettable night of jazz with Brazilian duo Gustavo and Mariana in the Piano Lounge. The talented pair will conjure dreams of a 1920s New York café with their selection of bossa nova, salsa and funk.

As a perfect palate cleanser to the evening’s feast of high-end dining, the jazz duo will move between an electric atmosphere and soothing beats in the luxurious Piano Lounge.

Running through jazz standards that stretch throughout the 20th century, Gustavo and Mariana will throw in licks of bossa nova, Brazilian samba, and funk. That doesn’t mean that they’ll shy away from more up-tempo rhythms though. Should the occasion call for it, Gustavo and Mariana are also armed with R&B and pop songs, with vocals in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Gustavo, a well-established pianist and composer, was born in a small town in São Paulo, Brazil. At age 18, with jazz rhythms running through his veins, Gustavo attended MPB Jazz and Piano, studying under André Marques, Hermeto Pascoal’s pianist.

Gustavo’s debut album, Novos Horizontes Apontam, was nominated for the 2017 Latin GRAMMY Awards, while his second album, Um Respiro, released in 2018, had the honor of including singers Filó Machado and Tatiana Parra.

Lead singer Marianna Mattos never fails to bring charm and charisma to the stage. A natural performer, Marianna began singing in highly regarded establishments all over Rio de Janeiro from the age of 17, and performed as band leader vocalist on Viking Ocean Cruises in 2018. Marianna’s voice is unique and passionate, and establishes an atmosphere rivaling that of any great jazz singer.

Following John’s own performance in the kitchen, Gustavo and Mariana will be found in the President’s chic Piano Lounge from 21:30 – 23:30. Make sure you see the night off with a cocktail in hand and the sound of jazz emanating from the boat – it’s sure to be an experience par excellence.

Cabins, which start at $2500, are selling fast. Get in touch to confirm your spot. 

>> Set an admirable night in the charming melody with Brazilian Jazz Duo

Changing Tides in Halong Bay: Wooden Junks and the Future

The interest in this World Heritage Site is nothing new; people have been coming to view the great limestone karsts of Halong Bay for centuries.

This has been, in part, due to its unique location and an important trading post for spice trade between China, Japan, and Thailand. The bay gradually became a center for cultural and commercial exchanges between these countries and ancient Vietnam.

The establishment of the Van Don port dates as far back as the reign of Ly Ang Tong in 1149. These days the Cai Lang commercial port remains a lasting relic of Halong’s ancient past.

Chinese and Vietnamese tourists have been flocking to Halong Bay for centuries due to its spiritual connections. Pilgrimages became popular as people looked for soul purification and peace of mind. This is, in part due to Halong being the birthplace of Truc Lam Zen, a Vietnamese school of Buddhism created by King Tran Nhan Tong in the 13th century.

Halong Bay later became a symbol of the famous Chinese and Vietnamese junks, the traditional boat of Southeast Asia. The creation of the junks dates back to 3000BC.

You can see Halong Bay’s appeal in several films that have scenes shot in the area. Blockbusters like Kong: Skull Island (2017), Pan (2015) and James Bond: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) all contained scenes shot in Halong Bay, most of which couldn’t resist employing a junk for a scene.

IndoChine (1992) is another great example of this, with scenes set in Halong Bay demonstrating the cultural significance of junks during the French Colonial period.

While the history of wooden junks is rich, it’s time for a new phase of water transport in Halong Bay. It will be sad to see these beautiful ships leave, but environmental and safety factors have made replacement steel ships a necessity.

Safety is an important factor when it comes to cruises and sadly wooden boats are at risk from fires and sinking. Two junks experienced major fires in 2017, while the sinking of previous wooden boats has led to worrying numbers of fatalities.

Deterioration of the boats within the harsh environment of Halong Bay has made it necessary to retire all wooden hull cruises after 15 years. In comparison, steel boats are given 25 years until they have to be removed from the bay.

The environmental impact on the UNESCO World Heritage Site is another obvious factor.

Deterioration of wooden boats, as outlined by their lifespan, is huge, and this can have significant negative impact when compared with their steel counterparts. Additionally, the dubious source of the wood provided for these boats may impact on deforestation in Asia.

The People’s Committee of Quang Ninh is trying to reduce the number of wooden hull cruises. Currently, there are around 534 cruise ships in the bay, 81% of which are wooden. It is predicted that, by 2020, there will still be 400. But by 2030 they’ll be gone.

As the largest cruise liner and the market leader in Halong Bay cruises, President Cruises is proud to invest only in safe, steel boats that have minimal impact on the environment.

>> Check out the best Halong Bay overnight cruise

Halong Bay in Spring

There is not a bad time to visit Halong Bay as each season has its own charm, from the atmospheric fog of winter to the bright blue skies of summer. But like much of northern Vietnam, weather in Halong Bay is unpredictable. Here we give you the best guide possible for spring but note that seasonal shifts and freak weather might blow the information a little off-course.

Spring is a tricky season in Halong Bay. It starts off chilly and wet, but it heats up quickly as the days roll on and we head toward summer. Winter is over by the end of February and Halong Bay hits summer in May, so spring usually falls in between: March and April. Below are answers to the three questions we get asked the most, with some advice on what to pack.

Is Halong Bay Cold?

Generally speaking, spring is not cold in Halong Bay. Although the winter chill can sometimes linger from February, temperatures have usually risen to a comfortable 17-22 degrees Celsius. However, note that the sea winds and high humidity levels can make Halong Bay feel colder than it is. 20 degrees may be t-shirt weather at home, but in Halong Bay you’ll need a light jacket. By April, Halong Bay has heated up to a warm 20-25 degrees. This means that this is generally a good time of year for activities, like visiting atmospheric caves and climbing to the tops of mountains. And remember that on President Cruises, we have an outdoor Jacuzzi to warm you up on those cooler evenings.

Is Halong Bay Humid? 

Yes, Halong Bay is humid in March and April. Humidity always makes you more susceptible to the temperature: 15 degrees can feel like 5 degrees and 30 degrees can feel like 40 degrees. Spring is a humid season, which means that you need to check the temperature and pack accordingly. Make sure you have warmer clothes available for early spring and cool, breathable clothing for late spring. All the President Cruises cabins have temperature control, so if you need to cool down, warm up, or escape the humidity at any point during the cruise, simply retire to your cabin and enjoy the views with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Is Halong Bay wet?

This is a tricky one to answer as precipitation levels in March and April are generally low: just 50mm of rainfall for each month. To put this into perspective, August, which is Halong Bay’s wettest month, has over 250mm of rainfall – five times as much! But that doesn’t mean that spring is dry. Halong Bay is wet with light drizzle for half of March and over a third of April, so you need to make sure that you bring light waterproof clothing. Although the capacious sundecks aboard President Cruises might not be desirable places to unwind when it’s wet, all the private balconies are sheltered, making them the perfect places to sit back and enjoy the scenery in spite of the drizzle.

>>  Follow the weather in Halong Bay in Spring 

New Airport to Open in Halong Bay

Travel to Halong Bay has become a far simpler process of late. With investments from government and private businesses in the local area, the brand new $350 million Van Don airport will open up just 50km away from Halong Bay. Couple this with the new expressway running from Hanoi to Halong Bay, cutting the drive time from four hours to two, visiting this world heritage site has never been easier.

Built to connect Quang Ninh with other domestic provinces and overseas destinations, Vietnam’s newest airport will receive its first flight on December 25. While it’s predicted that Van Don will receive 500,000 passengers in its first year, it is said that it has a capacity for 2.5 million people a year in its first phase. This number stretches to 5 million people in later phases.

Travel for anyone journeying from central or southern Vietnam couldn’t be simpler. Flights are planned from tourism hotspots Hue, Danang, Dalat, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City, and Phu Quoc. Further destinations include Chu Lai, Tuy Hoa, and Buon Ma Thuot.

While you might expect this to be a small, domestic airport, the design of Van Don could not be more different. By attracting high levels of investment, Van Don has been created with state-of-the-art facilities and standards that make it one of the most advanced airports in Vietnam to date.

It has a runway stretching 3.6km, which means it can facilitate the landing of some of the world’s most advanced aircrafts, such as Boeing 787, Airbus A350, A320 and A32. The capacity to accommodate such large aircrafts makes Van Don equal to major international airports like Ho Chi Minh City and Noi Bai in Hanoi.

The first flight will arrive in Van Don from Ho Chi Minh City on December 25. This regular flight will be with national carrier Vietnam Airlines and will continue to operate on a daily basis, departing from Ho Chi Minh City at 2:00pm and returning at 4:45pm, with an estimated flight time of two hours and five minutes.

— Check out the new airport in Halong —