A Tour of Halong Bay with Indochina Junk
Indochina Junk is a luxury cruise line operating a variety of traditional junk boats in the scenic waters of Halong Bay. Halong Bay is a world UNESCO world heritage site in northeast Vietnam. Tourists come from around the world to see Halong’s unique emerald waters punctuated by limestone towers covered in rainforests. Given its popularity, there are a number of cruising companies in Halong but Indochina Junk also offers cruises that venture off the beaten path into the nearby and untouched Bai Tu Long Bay.
Indochina’s fleet ranges from the Princess Junk, which accommodates two, all the way up to the Dragon Legend Cruise with twenty-four luxury cabins. The cruise lengths also vary from one day to four days and three nights.
Indochina Junk boats with their traditional sails up
Traveling in a group of four, we decided that it would be nice to try something different from the typical large cruise experience and chose the Prince Junk which accommodates eight guests. We ended up only having two other guests, a couple from London, and we enjoyed the intimate and personalized setting. Indochina Junk offers a variety of itinerary options which allow guests to get a full glimpse of Halong Bay's beauty and the local life. We opted for the three day / two night cruise which provided a nice balance of activities throughout the trip.
The four of us with a view of the bay and our boat
The boat accommodations include deluxe cabins with a full ensuite bathroom, a luxury indoor dining area, and a full service kitchen and bar. Like many cruises, the Indochina dining experience is a culinary treat with five to seven course meals featuring local Vietnamese fare prepared by professional chefs. On the upper deck there are spectacular views of Halong Bay, a sundeck with lounge chairs, and outdoor dining area. The fleet is built for luxury and touches like the traditional Vietnamese handcrafted décor and teak paneling throughout the boat add a nice touch.
Enjoying the morning on the upper deck of the Prince Junk
On the first day, we relaxed and spent some time on the sundeck and could swim and kayak in the clear waters of the bay. The bay is known for its naturally occurring caves, so the next day after we had a great barbecue lunch on a private beach, we ascended to the top of a nearby island to visit a beautiful grotto cave.
We have the whole beach to ourselves for our barbecue lunch of fresh fish and local specialties
Awesome cave adventure
On the last day we took a small row boat to see a tiny fishing village floating right in the bay, and also visited the nearby pearl farm. It was fascinating to see this simple way of life as the villagers lived off the land.
Group photo as we check out this neat natural underpass
This small fishing village is just a few tiny homes floating on the bay
We learned how the locals farm pearls in the bay
The company provides a luxury van pick-up and drop-off at your hotel in Hanoi (where most people travel from to visit Halong Bay), so to finish off the trip we stopped at a local village and watched a traditional water puppet show.
A dragon love story in the water puppet show of Yen Duc village
Throughout the trip we were pleased to have such a friendly and courteous staff that went out of their way to ensure we had a pleasurable experience. We were delighted to meet all of the crew including the tour guide, waiters, chefs, and captain. Overall, we had a great experience with Indochina Junk and were able to get a personalized experience with a great balance of activities to make our trip a memorable getaway.