Halong Bay Junk Cruise Recommendations?

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#1
3 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Hi all,

I'm new to posting here, but am in the beginning stages of planning a Southeast Asia cruise for 2019, and cruise critic is already proving to be a great source of information!


We will be traveling on the Oceania Nautica In February and March of 2019, leaving from Singapore, stopping in various ports in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, and ending in Hong Kong. We're very excited for this trip, especially to visit Halong Bay, which has been a bucket list item for us for a long time! I've been trying to find a good company to pre-book a junk cruise with, but I'm having some trouble finding exactly what I'm looking for. We're hoping to find an all-day tour (preferably 8 hours or as close as we can get to that), allowing us to explore more of the bay. We would like a boat that will allow us to get off and swim and/or kayak in the water once we get out in the bay, and that will take us to some of the fishing villages, caves, and grottos I've read about. There are three people in our group (all adults) with the possibility of a couple more joining closer in, and we would prefer a private (or very small) tour.


Most of the tours I've found so far are shorter (4 hour) cruises, or else go overnight, which we are not interested in, since we already plan on skipping out on two other nights of our cruise for an Angkor Wat excursion.


Does anyone have any recommendations for junk cruises (that we can pre-book...not interested in making day-of arrangements since this is one of the most important parts of the trip for us) that tick all or most of our boxes?


Thanks in advance!
Sarah
#2
160 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
We are on a Singapore to HongKong cruise in March 2018 and have just booked a full day cruise for Halong Bay that I think would fit your needs perfectly.

The company is called indochina junk and is highly rated on trip advisor (that is how I found them). We booked the "Dragon Bay Cruise", it's a smaller junk, I believe the most it holds is 12 passengers. We booked the boat for the day, 8 hrs.

My experience so far dealing with this company has been fantastic. The junk looks quite elegant, I'm hoping the pictures posted are what it actually looks like.

I am planning on posting a review with pictures on our return... but that's still almost a year away! I'm hoping someone else who reads this has booked this junk for a full day cruise and gives their 2 cents😎
#3
160 Posts
Joined Jun 2015


Here's a couple of pictures of the junk to give you a sense of what it supposed to look like.

Planning is almost as much fun as traveling!


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#4
3 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Thanks so much for the recommendation! Looks perfect! I had seen Indochina Junk before, but had somehow missed their one-day options. And I agree that the planning is a big part of the fun!

Now another question - our ship arrives inn Halong Bay at 11am on our first day in port and leaves at 5pm the next day, so we essentially have a day and a half there. Since Halong Bay is our priority, we are going to spend our long day out on the bay, but that doesn't leave us enough time to also do Hanoi (given the 4 hour drive each way). Any thoughts on what else we can do in the afternoon of the first day?
#5
160 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
We are only in port for the day (9a-8p) so personally only did research on junk cruises.

Other than doing an overnight junk cruise, I have no other suggestions.

Hopefully someone else chimes in.
#6
Toronto Canada
1,329 Posts
Joined May 2010
I have just booked Indochina Junk for Dec and that is the smaller boat, we are out for 8 hours doing exactly what you asked about and more. They need 12 people at most and require a deposit. Highly recommended by CC members and TA . Can not wait as it was on our bucket list also.
#7
Hampshire, England
1,584 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
The link below covers a couple of days cruising around Halong Bay however the cruise company that owned the boat also do day trips if you'd like to get in touch with them...

https://solentrichardscruiseblog.com...-1-halong-bay/


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#8
3 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Thanks for the suggestions! I've contacted Indochina Junk and am in the process of booking a private cruise with them for the day. Now we just need to figure out what to do for that extra half day...

@solent Richard thanks for sharing your review - looks like an incredible experience!
#9
160 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
Originally posted by Trend
I have just booked Indochina Junk for Dec and that is the smaller boat, we are out for 8 hours doing exactly what you asked about and more. They need 12 people at most and require a deposit. Highly recommended by CC members and TA . Can not wait as it was on our bucket list also.
Please come back after your junk cruise and tell us what your favorite parts were. Right now we have made no specific requests....but if you find something is a "must do" or conversely a "waste of time" please share!

Would love to learn from your experience especially since it is the same junk!
#10
Western North Carolina
1,709 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by salmaguer
Thanks for the suggestions! I've contacted Indochina Junk and am in the process of booking a private cruise with them for the day. Now we just need to figure out what to do for that extra half day...

@solent Richard thanks for sharing your review - looks like an incredible experience!
Since you are there for a day and a half, I highly recommend that you book an overnight cruise with Indochina - well worth the extra cost - and there is really nothing else worthwhile to do with your half day. A group of 16 CC members from our roll call last November chartered one of their 3 Dragon Pearl junks that can hold up to 20 passengers - for about 200 USD per person.
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#11
USA
1 Posts
Joined Jul 2017
Hi!

We just returned from our trip to Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam and Ha Long Bay Cruise was one of the highlights of our trip!!!

We booked the Dragon Legend 1 with Indochina Junk and it was absolutely great! I highly recommend that you do the 3 day/2 night cruise, especially because it is a 3.5 hour drive each way to/from Hanoi. Aside there is so much to do and you can have time to take all the beauty in! My husband and I kept commenting that all the boarding process would be too much hassle for a shorter cruise.

We kayaked, toured the floating fishing village, visited a cave, went swimming, took a cooking class to learned how to make spring rolls (all these activities were included in the price).

The food was off the charts, so get ready for a Vietnamese culinary experience. The drinks were affordable (a little less than $7). Thomas was our waiter most of the time and he is quite a character, really fun kid! Our cabin was pretty and spacious; we could enjoy the beautiful views even from our shower and tub. Ah! And the luxury van is actually luxurious, with WIFI and USB charging capability. The only watch out is about the shopping stop on the way to Ha Long as I found the prices to be better on the streets in Hanoi.

Have an amazing trip and let me know if you have any questions! I can't rave enough about our awesome trip! God is Great!

Cheers!
#12
Normandy Park WA
2,433 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Here is an all day Halong Bay tour we are taking in November off the Celebrity Millennium. This starts at Halong Bay. The tour company is Email: [email protected]/[email protected]Website: http://www.travelauthenticasia.com They have been very responseive, suggest you email them and get more details.

08h00 Pick up by tour guide at dock, transfer to Tuan Chau pier.
08h30 Board your private day junk for Halong bay. After sometimes cruising on the bay we quickly get away from most of others tourist to be alone in the middle of the nature among the 3,000 spectacular limestone islands.
10h30: Take a short hike up to an island for a visit to Sung Sot cave or Surprising cave – one of the largest and most popular caverns in Halong Bay.

11h00 cruise boat will stop at The Titop Beach Island -the name Ti Top is named by the most respectful hero of Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh, after the Russian astronaut German Titop on the occasion of his first visit to Halong Bay in 1962. Different from other popular tourist sites in Halong, Ti Top Island does not only possess breath taking romantic landscapes, but also has a heavenly beautiful beach called Ti Top which is perfect for any beach activity.
Sit down here at the chair for sea breeze or if wish, you can hike to the top of Ti Tov Island for stunning panoramic views of the bay.

11h30: Afterwards, paddle through Luon Cave –paddle through lagoon cave in a sampan and try to spot wild monkeys to admit the magnificent scenery of this magical bay where thousands of sculpted limestone islands rise from the waves like dragons’ teeth….

12h30 Boat move toward Bai Tu Long bay direction viewing hang Trong (drum cave) and hang Trinh Nu (Virgin cave) Ho Dong Tien area from the boat.
A nice lunch with fresh seafood, vegetables and steam rice will be served, vegetarian or non-seafood eaters can be catered for if a prior notice is given before departure day.

After lunch, Continue your cruise toward floating Pearl farm, If wish, you can get off the boat & look around You will pass a floating raft where some kinds of oyster pearls are grown and transplanted such as South Sea pearl, Tahitian Black Pearl,…etc. After that you will see a processing room where workers transplanting oysters and understand some precious species of pearl. The last, you could see one of the workers here opening an alive oyster in front of your eyes to see pearl in side and then have look their achievement in the showroom!

Finally, experience the pleasure of cruising through the bay while our boat take a different route returning to land.

17h30: The boat trip ends at Tuan Chau pier, say good bye to your crew and return to the boat,
18h00: Drop off at your cruise

Notes: Cruise or Itinenary can be changed with prior notice according to the weather or Halong Bay Management permission.

PRICING:

Group Size 2pax 3pax 4pax 5pax 6pax 7pax 8pax 9-10 11-12 13-14 15-16
Rate 165 130 115 110 98 90 85 80 75 72 68
#13
105 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
We are on the Nautica doing this itinerary in January. We will go into Hanoi despite the travel time the first day. We are looking for a shorter cruise on the 2nd day 2-4 hours. Any suggestions?
#14
Toronto Canada
1,329 Posts
Joined May 2010
People who have done the Hanoi trip said they were disappointed and sorry they did not do the full day Halong Bay.
These were cruisers as well as friends that did land only.
#15
Boston
8,627 Posts
Joined May 2006
Originally posted by Trend
People who have done the Hanoi trip said they were disappointed and sorry they did not do the full day Halong Bay.
These were cruisers as well as friends that did land only.
Thank you for this tip. We have a full day and then another 1/2 day tendered at Halong Bay (until 1 pm the second day). I wonder if a half day excursion to Hanoi makes more sense than just walking in town near where the tender boats go the second day.
#16
Toronto Canada
1,329 Posts
Joined May 2010
I have also been told the trip is a few hours there and the same back so even a full day tour they said left them only several hours in town.
Evidently a bus tour from I think Celebrity was stopped by how to say this , hold up group that had to be bribed by the driver to continue and that took away from time and was nerve racking.
Just info from CC in past posts.
We are in the same place and have chosen to take the full day for the amazing Junk tour and maybe the half day look at town.
By the way in this Asia forum the thread on Vietnam a poster who was recently in Hanoi commented what my friend told me "wasn't worth the drive Ho Chi Min was better".
#17
105 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
I think after researching, the posters are correct. We will stay in Ha Long Bay for a day and a half and avoid the exhausting journey to Hanoi. If we take a a cruise the first day, what should we do the second? We will be on the Nautica in Jan.
#18
2,204 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by bubbachief
Here is an all day Halong Bay tour we are taking in November off the Celebrity Millennium. This starts at Halong Bay. The tour company is Email: [email protected]/[email protected]Website: http://www.travelauthenticasia.com They have been very responseive, suggest you email them and get more details.

08h00 Pick up by tour guide at dock, transfer to Tuan Chau pier.
08h30 Board your private day junk for Halong bay. After sometimes cruising on the bay we quickly get away from most of others tourist to be alone in the middle of the nature among the 3,000 spectacular limestone islands.
10h30: Take a short hike up to an island for a visit to Sung Sot cave or Surprising cave – one of the largest and most popular caverns in Halong Bay.

11h00 cruise boat will stop at The Titop Beach Island -the name Ti Top is named by the most respectful hero of Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh, after the Russian astronaut German Titop on the occasion of his first visit to Halong Bay in 1962. Different from other popular tourist sites in Halong, Ti Top Island does not only possess breath taking romantic landscapes, but also has a heavenly beautiful beach called Ti Top which is perfect for any beach activity.
Sit down here at the chair for sea breeze or if wish, you can hike to the top of Ti Tov Island for stunning panoramic views of the bay.

11h30: Afterwards, paddle through Luon Cave –paddle through lagoon cave in a sampan and try to spot wild monkeys to admit the magnificent scenery of this magical bay where thousands of sculpted limestone islands rise from the waves like dragons’ teeth….

12h30 Boat move toward Bai Tu Long bay direction viewing hang Trong (drum cave) and hang Trinh Nu (Virgin cave) Ho Dong Tien area from the boat.
A nice lunch with fresh seafood, vegetables and steam rice will be served, vegetarian or non-seafood eaters can be catered for if a prior notice is given before departure day.

After lunch, Continue your cruise toward floating Pearl farm, If wish, you can get off the boat & look around You will pass a floating raft where some kinds of oyster pearls are grown and transplanted such as South Sea pearl, Tahitian Black Pearl,…etc. After that you will see a processing room where workers transplanting oysters and understand some precious species of pearl. The last, you could see one of the workers here opening an alive oyster in front of your eyes to see pearl in side and then have look their achievement in the showroom!

Finally, experience the pleasure of cruising through the bay while our boat take a different route returning to land.

17h30: The boat trip ends at Tuan Chau pier, say good bye to your crew and return to the boat,
18h00: Drop off at your cruise

Notes: Cruise or Itinenary can be changed with prior notice according to the weather or Halong Bay Management permission.

PRICING:

Group Size 2pax 3pax 4pax 5pax 6pax 7pax 8pax 9-10 11-12 13-14 15-16
Rate 165 130 115 110 98 90 85 80 75 72 68
Sounds like a great Shore Excursion. Did you enjoy it? Could you give a short review as we are thinking of booking the Millennium and hopefully that tour will be offered.
#19
181 Posts
Joined May 2014
We booked that tour through Travel Authentic Asia and just returned from our cruise in November. It was the best day of our cruise. We had nothing but a great experience with the company also booking for Hoi An and Hue. Our guide was “Special K” and he was excellent. Funny, great English, he even played the flute for us on part of the boat trip. It was just the four of us on the boat as prices weren’t too bad where we wanted to make a big group. We sailed past all these boats crowded with people. They rearranged our itinerary a bit to our advantage so in some spots (caves, pearl farm) we were basically the only group there and felt like we had the place to ourselves. The boat wasn’t swanky like some of the previous photos but we enjoyed ourselves and would definitely recommended them for a full day cruise.

Carolyn
#20
Alabama/RhodeIsland
354 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by salmaguer
Hi all,

I'm new to posting here, but am in the beginning stages of planning a Southeast Asia cruise for 2019, and cruise critic is already proving to be a great source of information!


We will be traveling on the Oceania Nautica In February and March of 2019, leaving from Singapore, stopping in various ports in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, and ending in Hong Kong. We're very excited for this trip, especially to visit Halong Bay, which has been a bucket list item for us for a long time! I've been trying to find a good company to pre-book a junk cruise with, but I'm having some trouble finding exactly what I'm looking for. We're hoping to find an all-day tour (preferably 8 hours or as close as we can get to that), allowing us to explore more of the bay. We would like a boat that will allow us to get off and swim and/or kayak in the water once we get out in the bay, and that will take us to some of the fishing villages, caves, and grottos I've read about. There are three people in our group (all adults) with the possibility of a couple more joining closer in, and we would prefer a private (or very small) tour.


Most of the tours I've found so far are shorter (4 hour) cruises, or else go overnight, which we are not interested in, since we already plan on skipping out on two other nights of our cruise for an Angkor Wat excursion.


Does anyone have any recommendations for junk cruises (that we can pre-book...not interested in making day-of arrangements since this is one of the most important parts of the trip for us) that tick all or most of our boxes?


Thanks in advance!
Sarah
Have done this with same company twice- half day and all day on our own private junk. The company I work with,(used for 5 years as I love Asia) will tailor your trip exactly as you want it. it is Travel Authentic Asia and here is the owner's email- She owns company with here husband -Ngoan Le <[email protected]>. I always do tours when on a cruise and wish this company did tours for all our stops, as they deliver exactly what you want and for a great price. Tell her I sent you and she will take extra good care of you. You can email me at [email protected] if you need any info on other ports.
Rita