We had the most perfect ending to our adventurous trip in Vietnam with Indochina Cruises in Halong bay! We heard horror stories of how Halong Bay, if not done right, can be a complete tourist trap where you’re relentlessly hassled and the only thing that may actually be as advertised is your junk boat (as they call it) is just that–junky. We decided to skip all of that and book our tour straight from Hanoi with Indochina cruises- The Dragon Legend. Lets just say all expectations were exceeded with no stress involoved. It was glorious.
This is how the tour went down and everything to expect, and trust me I’m a tough critic of these types of tours. The tour starts by picking you up in a “luxiourous” van. And yes, I would say its very fancy for Vietnam; AC, your own leather chair, bottled water, not to mention the luminocent lighting inside the van. It fits about 6 people per van and is quite spacious. The drive to Halong bay is approximately 5 hours (the only downside to a 2 day/1 night cruise is how much time it takes to get back and forth to the bay–blows big time).
By the time you get on the boat and depart its about 1:30pm. Lets talk about the rooms… lets just say it was the best nights sleep I had in a very long time. The beds were unreal and the feather pillows make your head melt into oblivion. The room is equipped with unlimited AC, a humongous bath tub (with a view of the bay), a walk-in shower, and a nice cozy couch area with a view through a windows that open up to the ocean air…. I would say this is perfect for lovers or just best friends!
After you get settled in you meet in the main dining room for a nice lunch with lots of courses. They have options incase you are worried about seafood or being vegitarian. I was pleasantly surpised by the food that was provided for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After leaving the dock you set sail for about 2 hours and reach your first destination in the middle of the bay where you kayak for about an hour through the bay around the mountains that are surrounding you in the water. I do wish we could’ve kayked longer, but unfortunately we had to get to our final stop before sun set.
Dinner was phenomenal accompanied by an astonishing South China Sea sunset that they somehow come to expect out there. Much of the gigantic ship has 360 degree views while you sit back, relax, and enjoy the ambiance and food with your new friends. The pictures tell all. After dinner they had a couple activities that were going on that were entertaining for a minute but I was more excited to jump into that massive bathtub and sleep in the heavenly bed, which I slept like a bayyybe.
The next morning, you wake up and you have arrived at your own private white sand beach with a steep mountain cave that you can hike up to and explore for a bit. After an hour or so you start heading back to the main harbor where your van is waiting for you to drive you back to Hanoi with a pit stop at a water puppet show. I do wish the tour was another day longer to relax on the boat, swim more in the water, and and enjoy Halong bay for all of its beauty.
Let me reiterate; this ship spares no expense and that includes a highly trained staff, efficient in English, and outrageously friendly. Again, skip all the hassle and end your trip as we did with Indochina- The Dragon Legend. It will not dissapoint as you find yourselves having the whole bay to yourself!