destination for cruises in Vietnam is Ha Long Bay, an awe-inspiring
sight with mystic mountains jutting from the cobalt waters. Ha Long is
regarded by locals as the eighth wonder of the world and legend has it
the 2000 islands were made by the Dragon Gods as they descended to earth
to protect the ancient Vietnamese people from Chinese invaders.
The most interesting part of a HaLong tour is the boat cruise around the
bay to admire hundreds of stone islets that seem to move and change as
the boat passes, first seen from a distance, then hidden below the
waves. The boat moors on some islands to allow tourists to visit caves
and grottoes, and at sandy beaches for a rest, sunbathing and swimming.
Without advance knowledge, tourists may miss many beautiful stone
islets, as there is so much to explore. Reading the introduction to the
islands and the routes on the bay is good preparation, especially if you
take a map of Ha Long Bay to know where the boat is and which islands it
is going to pass. You can also ask the captain to take the best route
for the most picturesque scenery, and what to expect. You can also ask
to reduce speed and cruise closer to the bases of spectacular and
It is an interesting experience to climb. Visiting the caves and
grottoes is an interesting experience. Most are above sea level, but
there are good stone and wooden steps leading to the entrances. The only
difficulty is perhaps the narrow wooden gangway used for getting on and
off the boat, as it is sometimes very steep when the tide is high.
Sensible shoes are essential!
in large caves are quite even and are illuminated. Tourists should,
however, follow the guide and go in groups. You will be shown the many
extraordinary figures among thousands of stalactites, stalagmites and
other fascinating rock formations.
A cruise in Halong Bay allows you to discover hidden lagoons and explore
secret caves, unearthing the treasures of this tropical paradise. Swim
in the bath warm waters and admire the varied aquatic life and colourful
coral reefs, and then go back to the luxury bedding on the boat in the
should return to boat schedule to be on time for visits to other places
and to avoid keeping others waiting. There is plenty to explore and
advisable to remember the boat's name and number so that you can
recognize it among the many boats anchoring at the pick-up point,
particularly at busy times, as they are very similar to one another.
Also, the landing and pick-up points are often in different places.
cruising boats the Vietnamese use to take guests on a coastal cruise are
somewhat worryingly known as Junks – though thankfully are lavishly
decorated and nothing like their name implies. Most are made from
traditional teak wood and the spacious twin cabins come complete with en
suite bathrooms and air conditioning as standard. Some of the more
luxury Junks are fully equipped with bar and lounge, library, gym and
spa. Cabins in the high-end Junks also have Jacuzzi baths and a balcony.
If you want a truly memorable Halong Bay trip, best hop aboard an
overnight ‘junk’, from where you can visit a host of islands, go cycling
amongst the paddy fields, play with the local monkeys and take plenty of
chances to jump in and swim in the tepid water. Meals are usually
included, and with a night booked in advance, you can put a restriction
on how early the dodgy boatsman can bring you back to shore. If you have
a bit of cash to throw around, there are some other exceptional
experiences, too, such as heading down into the impressive assortment of
caves to be found on the islands, or even indulging in a surprisingly
affordable helicopter trip over it all.