Travel Halong bay on Indochina junk cruise

You are traveling to Halong bay for the first time and take a cruise to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the bay is a must, so where and how can you arrange a private cruise in Halong bay and how much it costs?

There are two options for a cruise trip in Halong bay: You can charter a cruise however will be very expensive, a cheaper option is to rent a wooden boat.

Private charter cruise in Halong bay

Private charter cruise in Halong bay

If money is not your problem and you just want to have a really enjoyable trip, to be served like a prince then choose a cruise ship, a voyage usually lasts 2 to 3 days with full meals on board. If you don’t have much time and just want to have a day cruise we recommend that you rent a wooden boat for a few hour cruise on the bay, visit the caves and some beautiful places in Halong bay.

Price for a privately chartered cruise in Halong bay ranges from 500 – 1000 USD, a private cruise is no doubt an unforgettable experience, some deluxe cruises offer tailor made tours such as White Dolphin cruise, Pearly Sea cruise, Legend cruise or Indochina Junk. You will spend the night on board, meals will be served on board or if you like the meals will be arranged in a mountain cave, in the candle lights or on the beach, this is really a wonderful experience for honeymoon couples or family holiday. Most international visitors to Halong bay want to stay overnight on boat while domestic tourists only take day cruises.

If you are traveling in a group of 8 people or more we recommend that you charter a private boat with all meals included, you can also arrange a music performance, have a coffee on sundeck while sightseeing.

From my experience, when traveling Halong bay the most tiring job is to rent a cruise and price of a boat trip. Although there are up to 500 boats permitted to operate in Halong bay however it is rather messy with unfair competition and the way they do business is untrustworthy. Many visitors were disappointed about their trip in Halong bay.



Enjoy a deluxe cruise in Halong bay

Are you on vacation? If you are on vacation, then maybe you are looking for a fun thing to do during your free time. After months of hard work and spending long and stressful hours at the office, you should make sure that your vacation will be worthwhile. One of the most popular ways of spending time during vacations is by going on a trip. If you are looking for a place where you can relax and enjoy, then Halong Bay Indochina junk is one of your best options.

Ba Trai Dao islets

Ba Trai Dao islets

Halong Bay is situated at the northeastern region of Vietnam. It is 180 km east of Hanoi and can be reached by car for approximately 3-4 hr. drive from there. The Bay is set in Gulf of Tonkin.

Top Attractions in Halong Bay
If you really want to have an escape form the modern world where cars and sound of machineries are what you see and hear every day, then you must go to Halong Bay Indochina junk Dragon pearl cruise. The Bay is included in the list of UNESCO world heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist spot these days. There are many attractions in the Bay which can make your visit worthwhile and here are some of them:

Cat Ba Island: This is the most popular attraction in Halong Bay Indochina junk 3 day cruise and it is always included in the tour packages that are offered by various companies. Cat Ba Island is popular for its caves and it also known that the island is a home for many endangered species such as Cat Ba langur. The island is also filled with restaurants, bars and hotels where you can take a rest after spending a day exploring the island.

Floating Villages: It may sound unbelievable, but it is true that there is a village in the sea. If you are curious about this village then you should take a tour at Halong Bay and you will see that many locals are living in floating houses. You can also try spending a night at those floating houses since the community offers home- stays for a reasonable price.

Bon Hon Island’s Virgin Cave: This is one of the most popular caves in Halong Bay. The cave is famous because of its shrine. There are many stories and legends regarding the origins of the shrine. A legend claims that there is a pretty woman who took her own life in the cave because she was being forced to marry an old Mandarin. Her body has never been brought home and as time passed it was turned into a stone. Another legend with a similar story tells that a Mandarin tried to force a girl to marry him because her father couldn’t pay his debt. The girl escaped but a fisherman found the girl’s corpse on the Island. They buried the body in the Island and built a small shrine inside the grotto. This is the reason why the cave is called a Virgin because the girl died a virgin.

These are some of the most popular attractions in Halong Bay that will give you the solid reasons to visit the place during your vacation. Those attractions will give you a thrilling and unforgettable experience that you can treasure for the rest of your life.

Booking a Halong bay cruise

Halong bay is the top destination in vietnam and Halong cruises is a must for all visitors. In this article I would like to share some experience to arrange a trip to Halong bay by yourself.

Halong cruise

Halong cruise

As there are a lot of cruises in Halong bay serving all types of tourists, each cruiser has it’s good points and depending on your budget travelers can choose the most suitable for your trip.

Most cruises in Halong tour have their own website and you can make a booking online through the web. There are some things you need to be aware:

Online booking – Booking the trip directly with the cruiser via official website is more expensive than you book through an online travel agent, this is a normal practice in Vietnam tourism industry as the cruise companies usually offer a better price for travel agents. However not all travel agents are reliable and passengers may find themselves end up on another cruiser and not the one they have been confirmed. My advise is book directly with the cruiser, price is higher however your trip is secured and you will get what you paid for.

Transport to and from Halong bay: Most cruises offer bus service roundtrip as part of the package, passengers will be picked up from different hotels in Hanoi centre, some high class cruises charge an additional cost for the transfers, travelers can also arrange their transport by themselves, it takes about 4 hours drive each way with 30 minutes stop at a shopping centre, if you are on a family trip with children we recommend that you rent a private car, about 150 usd for a 2 day trip and thus you can start at your convenience.

Cruising itinerary: Each cruise company built their own itinerary however the programs are pretty similar, the cruise will cover the best part of Halong bay such as Fighting cock islet, Heavenly cave or Amazing cave, a short visit to a fishing village and then to Titop island beach for swimming. If you take a 3 day tour the whole second day will be kayaking or other activities, travelers will be sent to a smaller boat going further out to different part of Halong bay for kayaking, swimming or relax at an isolated island beach and return to mother cruiser at the end of the day. Some companies extend the itinerary to Lan Ha bay or Cat Ba island, staying overnight at hotel in Cat Ba island and go trekking the next day in Cat Ba national park. Visitors can also choose to stay at a beach resort bungalow such as Monkey island resort, Cat Ong resort or Suoi Goi eco lodge resort. As Halong bay has become touristy in recent years more cruisers have change their itinerary to Bai Tu Long bay which is more natural and still unspoilt by tourism.

Food and drinks: Halong is a sea bay and no wonder food served on cruise ship is mostly seafood with fish, crabs or sentinel, prawn, squid…The food on board is cooked in Vietnamese style, you can also request other things like beef, chicken or pork when you make a booking, vegetarian food is also available. For cheap and midrange cruises, food is served for the whole group on a big table, food is nice but maybe not enough for all. Some cruisers like Indochina arrange dinners in the cave with candle light that is a very nice experience, other boats organize BBQ lunch at a beach. Drinks on board are not included and it is pretty expensive compared to average price on shore. Wines and fizzy drinks are available at bar on the cruiser and travelers are recommended to check price before you order.


Fishermen in Halong bay row boats for tourists

Quang Ninh Province has completed the relocation of more than 300 households living in the core area of the World Natural Heritage Halong Bay to a new resettlement area in Ha Phong ward, Halong city.

Halong rowing boats

Halong rowing boats

However, the local authorities still allow people to make a living in the bay to ensure livelihood for the people who have contributed to the preservation of the unique culture of the fishing villages of Halong bay.

The rowing boats carrying tourists to visit attractions in Halong Bay has been formed and maintained through the activities of the floating fishing village in Vung Vieng

Mr Tang Van Phien, Chairman of the cooperative said rowing boats that serves tourists has been operating since 2008 with most members from Vung Vieng fishing village, especially in the early days of when Halong bay in Vietnam was opened to tourists, the backpackers going on cheap tours to Halong bay even stayed overnight on floating houses.

Therefore, the majority of people wishing Vung Vieng would later develop into a model of community tourism, with fisheries taken as the core of tourism development.

Vu Van Dong, from the old fishing village said his family has moved on shore, he is now back to Vung Vieng rowing boats for tourists so as to feed his family.

Although launched a few years ago, but rowing boat service to attract spots in the bay, visit the fishing villages has attracted many visitors, some companies offering Halong budget tours include a visit to the village a part of the itinerary.

This is one of the very effective ways to diversify tourism products of Halong bay and to keep visitors to stay longer and explore the unique beauty of the world heritage Halong bay.


Visit islands of Cong Tay and Cong Dong in Halong bay

Results from overall study of the maps of Van Don port vestiges show that throughout the eleventh to nineteenth century there was only one route through Halong bay cruise overnight for ceramics and other goods from abroad in and out of Vietnam. And Halong bay by chance a became a vibrant border area with many ports, exchange points, and at some important places, the development of ports also brought with it the establishment of cultural and religious values. One of the typical place is Cong Tay island, in administration the island now belongs to Thang Loi commune, Van Don district, 40km from Bai Chai tourist wharf.

Cong Tay island

Cong Tay island

Cong Tay island, lying alongside Cong Dong island. On the map they look like a pair of bread placed in parallel northwest – southeast directions, the eastern angle of the absolutely protected triangular Halong bay, recognized by Unesco as a World Natural Heritage. Sandwiched between the two islands is a range of water, broad and deep, very convenient for parking and transport of goods to and from the islands. From here , boats can go smoothly into mainland or to the outside islands Quan Lan and Ngoc Vung.

In the past 40 years, through many surveys, researches and excavations, archaeologists have discovered along the both sides of the two islands Cong Dong and Cong Tay, numeous pieces of crockery, pottery from Vietnam and China dating back the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries. In the small gulves deeply cut into the islands there are thick layers of ceramics reveal these were the old trading ports of Van Don harbor system. In 2004 when Van Don old harbor was rated as a national historical site, the Ministry of Culture and Information originally granted certificate to Cong Dong island, people of island commune Quan Lan argued and the ministry has had to present another certificate with the same content to Cai Lang port of Quan Lan commune. This is probably a rare affair in the recognition of sites granted by the Minitry of Culture and Information.

Beside the vestiges of old ports, Cong Tay retains the traces of 5 pagodas and a precious tower built in the island under Tran Dynasty, the first excavation of pagodas in Cong Tay island was held by Vietnam Archaeology Institute for the first time in 1971. The researches and excavations afterwards made it clear that Cong Dong and Cong Tay islands used to be important places in the Van Don old trading ports in centuries, the exchange point of the “ceramic road” via Halong bay and center of Ngheu Phong district in the Nguyen dynasty with the name “Cong Dong eighteen communes” still exists today. The process of trading and exchanging goods is the basis for the introduction of religious buildings such as temples and towers to serve the needs of traders and religious people of the past East Sea. Many architectural relics of the temples, towers collected from Cong Tay island are being displayed at the Quang Ninh province’s museum like stone stele turtles, handrails carved with dragons, squirrels, bricks used to build tower inscribed “first floor, second floor”….

Located close to Ngoc Vung, Quan Lan islands and adjacent to Cong Do, the ultimate protected area of Halong bay, Cong Tay island has favourable conditions for the development of tourism. In addtition to the historical, cultural relics, nature and topography of the island is quite diverse and attractive. The Cam Pha Coal and Construction company has developed a fully equipped system of lodging, dining facilities for tourists right on the beach, a path covered with red tiles was built from guest houses to the beach, flanked by straight coconuts. Travellers can relax on the hammock under the shade of the trees, enjoy the sea , reading a book . Many travel companies have taken Cong Tay into their halong bay tours program, along with the islands of Quan Lan, Minh Chau , Ngoc Vung and Cua Ong Temple