Known for its enchanting limestone karsts, emerald waters, and floating fishing villages, Ha Long Bay is a destination that promises an unforgettable experience. And what better way to explore this breathtaking beauty than by embarking on a cruise adventure? Read on the explore our list of the best cruises in Ha Long Bay.
A Dive into the Bay’s History
Ha Long Bay’s history is as fascinating as its breathtaking scenery. The bay’s geological formation dates back millions of years, with the region being submerged and uplifted multiple times due to tectonic activity.
The name “Ha Long” translates to “Descending Dragon,” and legend has it that the bay was created by dragons sent by the gods to protect Vietnam from invaders. As for its human history, archaeological evidence suggests that ancient cultures inhabited the bay area over 4,000 years ago. Ha Long Bay’s strategic location also made it a significant trade route for maritime activities in Southeast Asia.
Throughout the centuries, the bay witnessed various cultures, from early coastal communities to Chinese invasions and French colonization during the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1994, UNESCO recognized Ha Long Bay as a World Heritage Site, preserving its natural and cultural significance for generations to come. Today, it remains one of Vietnam’s most iconic and cherished destinations, enchanting visitors with its timeless beauty and storied past.
Best-rated Cruises in Ha Long Bay
1. Bhaya Classic Cruises: A Journey of Luxury and Elegance
- 2-day, 1-night cruise: $200 – $400 per person.
- 3-day, 2-night cruise: $350 – $600 per person.
If you’re seeking a luxurious experience that combines comfort, elegance, and authenticity, Bhaya Classic Cruises is a perfect choice. With a fleet of beautifully designed wooden junks, this cruise line takes you on a voyage that harmoniously blends traditional Vietnamese aesthetics with modern amenities. As you cruise along the bay, you’ll be mesmerized by the towering limestone formations and sparkling waters.
Bhaya Classic offers a variety of itineraries to suit different preferences and time frames. Whether you opt for a day cruise or a multi-day journey, you’ll be treated to delightful activities such as kayaking, cave exploration, cooking classes, and Tai Chi sessions at sunrise. The onboard dining experience is exceptional, serving delectable Vietnamese cuisine and international dishes.
2. Indochina Junk: An Eco-Friendly Adventure
- 2-day, 1-night cruise: $150 – $300 per person.
- 3-day, 2-night cruise: $280 – $500 per person.
For environmentally-conscious travellers, Indochina Junk stands out as a top choice. Committed to sustainable tourism, their fleet of junks is designed with eco-friendly materials and practices in mind. The company also actively supports local communities and conservation efforts in the area.
Cruising with Indochina Junk is a truly immersive experience. You’ll have the opportunity to visit less-crowded parts of Ha Long Bay, where you can witness the raw beauty of the natural landscape and interact with local fishermen. The crew is known for their warmth and hospitality, ensuring every moment of your journey is comfortable and memorable.
3. Paradise Cruises: Unmatched Elegance and Serenity
- 2-day, 1-night cruise: $180 – $350 per person.
- 3-day, 2-night cruise: $320 – $550 per person.
As the name suggests, Paradise Cruises promise a paradisiacal experience that blends tranquillity with luxury. Their meticulously crafted junks feature spacious cabins with private balconies, perfect for absorbing the stunning vistas in solitude. Onboard facilities, including a spa and jacuzzi, ensure you’re pampered and relaxed throughout the journey.
Paradise Cruises offer various itineraries, ranging from day cruises to extended voyages. Activities like exploring hidden caves, visiting floating villages, and beach excursions are included in their packages. And of course, the culinary delights on offer, ranging from Vietnamese delicacies to international cuisine, are exceptional.
4. Emeraude Classic Cruises: A Journey Back in Time
- 2-day, 1-night cruise: $160 – $300 per person.
- 3-day, 2-night cruise: $300 – $550 per person.
For those with a penchant for nostalgia and a love for history, the Emeraude Classic Cruises present an unforgettable journey. Modelled after a 19th-century paddle steamer, this elegant cruise ship will transport you back to the golden age of travel. The timeless charm of the ship, coupled with the awe-inspiring landscapes of Ha Long Bay, creates an ambience that’s hard to replicate.
The cruise offers a range of exciting activities, including Tai Chi classes, kayaking, squid fishing, and guided excursions to some of the bay’s most stunning spots. The wooden cabins are designed with a classic flair, ensuring a comfortable and intimate experience as you sail through the magical waters of Ha Long Bay.
5. V’Spirit Cruises: Affordable Adventure without Compromise
- 2-day, 1-night cruise: $100 – $200 per person.
- 3-day, 2-night cruise: $180 – $350 per person.
For travellers seeking a budget-friendly option without compromising on the experience, V’Spirit Cruises offer an excellent choice. With a focus on providing value for money, V’Spirit ensures that everyone can indulge in the splendours of Ha Long Bay without breaking the bank.
The cruise ships boast comfortable cabins with essential amenities, ensuring a cosy stay during your time on board. While the vessels may not be as opulent as some high-end cruises, they still offer a pleasant and memorable journey through the bay.
Excited about cruising one of the Seven Wonders of the World and wondering the best way to reach the Bay? Check out our article for a guide on travelling to Ha Long Bay.
Embarking on a cruise in Ha Long Bay is like setting foot into a dream. With its ethereal landscapes and serene waters, the bay provides an experience that lingers in the heart long after the journey is over. The cruises mentioned above, each unique in its own right, offer an opportunity to witness the bay’s splendour from various perspectives. Whichever cruise you choose, you’re bound to encounter the magic and allure that makes Ha Long Bay one of the most sought-after destinations on the planet. So, set sail and let the beauty of Ha Long Bay take your breath away!