Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Amazing Ha Long Bay Cruise Experience

Ha Long Bay (Halong Bay) is truly a nature wonder. The name Ha Long 下龙 revealed the legend that the place was once the site where dragons descended. The breathtaking islets with vertical karst limestone walls are contrasted by the emerald green water below, calm and quiet. No wonder it is listed as one of the UNESCO Heritage Site. 

Ha Long Bay is four hours away from Hanoi by road (30 minutes of rest in between). Lucky, the road condition was not too bad. We were able to rest on our eleven-seater Ford Transit.

Our two-day-one-night tour was provided by Indochina Junk. Our itinerary- lunch on the junk while we cruised into the heart of Ha Long Bay, kayaking around the islet, exploring the cave at Thien Canh Son, swimming, and later dinner on board on the first day. Second day, we took our breakfast on our way to Vung Vieng fishing village, exploring the village and the pearl industry, and took lunch on our way back to the harbour. The fee, USD280 for two of us.

Why Indochina Junk? First, strong recommendation from Livien, which had pushed us to take the tour package with Indochina Junk. Then, overwhelming good reviews in Tripadvisor, and of course, the exclusive Bai Tu Long Bay tour. As far as we knew, there were only two cruise companies have been given the permission to enter Bai Tu Long Bay. We were lucky to enjoy more space and privacy in the middle of the world heritage. Worth it or not? For us, definitely a big yes.

We were introduced to our tour guide, Tony after we arrived at the Ha Long City. It was 1 pm. He led us to our junk with a glamorous name- Dragon's Pearl (made us think of Black Pearl in Pirates of the Caribbean). We would like to continue our sharing with our photos.

Entire "Ha Long" fleet can be seen from the waiting room at the harbour.Please click on this photo to see the bigger panoramic image.

Photo taken at the jetty, when we were waiting for the transit boat to our junk. It was hazy throughout our 2 days' tour. The haze limited our visibility but had enhanced the elements of adventure.

Junks undocked from the harbour and cruised into the sea dotted with limestone islets.

One of the sister ships of our junk. We shared the same journey throughout our trip.

The bedroom was decorated in traditional Chinese style with wooden wall and floor (upper left), outdoor and indoor dining area (upper and lower right), and a place for us to lay down and relax on the top level of the junk. The indoor dining area was completed with a bar.

Our photo on the upper deck of the junk.

We took 2 hours to reach Thien Canh Son. The islet is owned by Indochina Junk and received very limited visitors. Thien Canh means heavenly landscape. Our tour guide Tony described the place with a name that we couldn't agree more- Paradise Island.

 Beautiful scenery around the islet.

Photo taken from opposite site of our landing area, which could be accessed through Thien Canh Cave. The view from the high ground was amazing, even though some of the view was blocked by overgrown vegetation.

Cave exploration was something that we didn't expected. The cave was windy with cooling temperature during our visit. The ancient stalagtites and stalagmites revealed the age of the cave. This beautiful cave could be reached by climbing a few stairs- a price that we gladly paid.


 Our family photo at the entrance of the cave.

Yeah, we went Kayaking. That experience was larger than life. The limestone islets were so huge and magnificent when we moved closer to them. We should have brought our camera with us, but we didn't. We left it in the locker when we went kayaking.

After kayaking and caving, we spent some time to enjoy the beautiful beach. A swim in the cooling sea water was really refreshing.

Back to our junk, we enjoyed our sumptuous dinner with finely decorated dishes.

We couldn't see anything around us, except the dim illumination from the junks. However, when we pushed the ISO to H2, well, this is what our saw through our camera.

Night on the junk was quiet, with occational sound of singing and laughing from other travel mates. We slept early that night, with the hope to wake up early to see the sunrise. Follow us on the second day of our cruise tour at Ha Long Bay in our next post. 


36 comments:

  1. I heard lot about Halog Bay' beauty and it comes in 7 wonder also. Amazing photographs, Seems you guys enjoyed lot there.

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  5. This was a great way to see Halong Bay Cruise during our holidays.It is much more than we expected on a cruise.We did a 2-night, 3-day trip on the cruise,the service was excellent..The tour was guided by origin vietnam.they give set the standard for services. It is biggest adventure i have seen..Thanks origin vietnam.
    Recommended origin vietnam.If we get a chance to visit there again, we'll definitely go with origin vietnam

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  7. Nice post and picture.
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  11. Looks great and beautiful, love Halong bay

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    Replies
    1. Can't be more agree with you! It is indeed one of the most beautiful place on earth.

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  12. Amazing information shared with us about your Halong Bay Tour, the pictures and the beauty of halong bay make me more excited to visit this amazing place. The details you have mentioned here are enough for an unknown traveller. Thanks for sharing your lovely experience.

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  13. Thanks for sharing your Halong trip experience... it is very useful inforamtion those who planning to visit halong bay.

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  14. Welcome Betty and Ling Shing. yeah I am here for provide better service in Hanoi.

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  16. What a fabulous blog post guys. This trip sounds simply stunning, your research paid off as it sounds like you had a blast and have the photos to prove it

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  18. I am planning on visiting Vietnam and this is an amazing blog, with beautiful pictures. Thank you for writing it! If you ever plan on visiting Nepal, please checkout The Mountains trails for more details!

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  20. very nice pictures on this blog & interesting. We offer service private transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay only 79$ /04 seat.


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