ASIA, HOTEL REVIEW, SIGHTSEEING

Cruising in Vietnam

Few places in the world are more incredible in person than in pictures… Bai Tu Long Bay (aka Halong Bay) is one of those places! I was expecting to arrive somewhere beautiful, but being there and looking around just blew me away. The only other time I have felt that way was in the Greek Isles. If you’ve been to Santorini, you get it.

During our month and a half long trip throughout Asia and Australia, we spent a few nights in Vietnam. I have always seen incredible photos of Halong Bay, so Vietnam was at the top of my list when planning this trip. When researching Halong Bay (I book almost all of my trips on my own, so I do a TON of research), I discovered that the best way to really see Halong Bay was on a cruise. The cruise that I fell in love with actually cruises Bai Tu Long Bay, instead of Halong Bay. After further research, I learned that Bai Tu Long Bay is immediately Northeast of Halong Bay and it has the same landscape with less crowds. Sounded like a win-win to me! Often times people refer to Bai Tu Long Bay as Halong Bay due to their proximity and very similar appearance.

Anyway, I ended up choosing the Dragon Legend cruise by Indochina Junk. It’s moderately sized with 24 cabins…. small enough to be an intimate experience and large enough to have luxuries and a comfortable ride. Truthfully, what sold me on this one was the incredible rooms and the bathtub with a view. I’ve been on cruises before and the rooms have never been this luxurious! And then of course, there was the incredible price. Our 2 day/1 night cruise (for 2 passengers) including that amazing cabin, ALL meals, guided tours and transportation to and from Hanoi (3 hours each way in a super nice luxury van, equipped with wifi and USB outlets at each seat)… all for US$414! The only thing we paid for separately was the alcoholic beverages and our lattes in the morning. You can’t beat it!

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I’ll walk you through the itinerary with our pictures. And just an FYI- photos don’t do it justice! But they’re still pretty amazing, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves….

The company picks you up at your hotel in Hanoi around 8am to begin the drive to the bay. Upon arrival, you board the cruise and they do a quick safety briefing then serve you a delicious lunch on the deck, while you cruise towards your first stop. The views are incredible everywhere you look.

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Once you arrive at your destination, it’s time for some fun. We decided to join the kayaking tour which takes you around the bay for about an hour and then to a beach to relax.

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Once we got back on the cruise, we had a couple of hours of free time to shower and enjoy the breathtaking sunset with a cocktail in hand.

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To end the night, they served us an incredible meal (something like 6 courses) and the staff provided some entertainment.

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By 6am we were up with that view from our bed. The figurines in our window happen to be perfectly placed.

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We then began to cruise towards our next destination while eating breakfast. It was so humbling to see families living out there on their boats. It makes you realize how many luxuries you take for granted.

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Upon arriving at our next destination, we got off the cruise again to explore the Thien Canh Son Caves and a beautiful white sandy beach.

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Finally we got back on the cruise and began heading back to the port to end our journey. During the ride back, they served us another wonderful lunch and we got to enjoy the views some more.

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I highly recommend this cruise if you’re planning to visit Vietnam. My only regret was not having booked a longer cruise… I wish we had done the 3 day/2 night cruise. On the bright side, it gives me an excuse to return in the future.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Veronica Guerra August 8, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    Hi there! Any recommendations on where to stay or eat in Hanoi, or any other parts of Vietnam you visited?

    • Reply The Traveling Red August 12, 2019 at 3:05 pm

      I just saw this comment after the other one. Great choices! Thailand and Vietnam are 2 of my favorite places.

      In Hanoi try to stay near the old quarters… from there you can walk to everything and the great restaurants are nearby. The only restaurant I remember was called Essence and it was great.

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