Let’s Cruise: Exploring Ha Long Bay on a Traditional Junk Boat
If you’re looking to be awed by nature’s wonders, one day, aboard a junk boat cruising through Ha Long Bay and enjoy one of the best cruising experiences of your life.
It’s a beautiful day in Ha Long, Vietnam. The sky was not that clear and quite windy, but the cold weather made the trip more enjoyable. We boarded one of the junk boats, which was an experience. It’s like climbing aboard a different time when these boats were used for voyages and expeditions that discovered new lands in the orient.
Cruising Ha Long Bay
From Halong Plaza Hotel where we stayed overnight, it took us less than half an hour to reach the boat station. From the dock, the view of Ha Long Bay was already mesmerizing. Tall, gigantic limestone karsts emerging from the green waters.
Our guide tells us we’ll be cruising through some of these isles, and he tells us about the long history of Ha Long, this stunning bay, and the legends the locals have passed on through generations. Our tour guide’s name is Duc (pronounced as Duke) – an efficient guide with an excellent British accent which he learned over the years from British guests he assisted.
Ha Long Bay, or “Bay of the Descending Dragon,” was named years ago when the locals feared foreign invaders. According to legend, a great dragon wanted to protect Vietnam and placed these towering isles to create a great wall. Once the dragon was satisfied that the people were safe, they decided to stay and live on the bay, preserving its beauty.
Exploring Thien Cung Cave
There was more to do than stay on the boats and more to see than the grand scenic view. Our first stop was at Thien Cung Cave to see some of the Stalactite and stalagmite formations and explore grottos and various floors. Thien Cung, in particular, was brightly lit with colorful lights that enhanced its beauty.
Also known as the Heavenly Palace Cave, it is one of the most beautiful caves along Ha Long Bay. The stalactites and stalagmites formed were truly Mother Nature’s best sculptures.
The only challenging part was the cave entrance but after entering the narrow door, exploring the cave is quite accessible since it has paved pathways and protective fences to avoid accidents.
The end of the path will lead you to the exit with several souvenir shops and a nice view deck that provides a rewarding view of the bay before you head back to the assigned junk boat. Overall, It was certainly worth the time despite the slippery cave floor!
Visiting the Lagoons
There are other activities and sights to see along Ha Long Bay. Floating houses and small boats come to you to sell fish or fresh fruit. You can even go kayaking in certain areas and explore caves and lagoons by yourself.
One of our activities included a boat tour of some of the lagoons in Ha Long Bay. Upon reaching the small dock station, we were required to wear life vests and asked to group by 4 before loading onto our assigned boat.
It took us about 40 minutes to complete the entire tour, the water was calm, and we completely enjoyed the boat ride. However, I can’t help but compare it to the lagoons found in El Nido and Coron both in Palawan, where you can dock in some secret islets and swim in the clear blue waters.
Lunch at the Junk Boat
While cruising, we were also told of the many things that live in the waters and the animals and plants that grow around the isles. The bay has thriving ecosystems, with an abundance of cuttlefish, oysters, and prawns—some of which we were told to have for lunch!
Imagine eating Vietnam’s best meals against the backdrop of Vietnam’s most beautiful tourist attraction? It’s pure heaven! It is certainly a special moment if you’re sharing this meal with a partner and a unique moment of downtime when traveling with friends.
It’s definitely a fantastic way to spend a day in Vietnam. We enjoyed the breathtaking site and even learned about the rich history and thriving nature around those parts.
Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a good reason. It shows the beauty of Mother Earth and it’s worth being preserved for generations to enjoy its beauty. It’s a fun experience but surprisingly humbling as well. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest Wonders of the World as it’s one of the many examples that the planet that we live on is a beautiful one.
If you have noticed, some of the GoPro shots I posted here were already posted on my Instagram account as we explored the tourist spot. Thanks to Smart Postpaid All-Day Surf Abroad promo, for only P450 per day, I was able to update my social media accounts and check my email as we visited some of the beautiful destinations in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.
Our Ha Long Bay Cruise was sponsored by Cebu Pacific. Cebu Pacific flies from Manila to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, twice weekly every Tuesday and Saturday, leaving Manila at 10:30PM and arriving in Hanoi at 12:30am. Return flights will leave Hanoi at 1am every Wednesday and Sunday and come to Manila at 5am.
For bookings and inquiries, guests can go to www.cebupacificair.com, or call the reservation hotlines (02) 7020-888 or (032) 230-8888. The latest seat sales and promos can also be found on CEB’s official Twitter and Facebook pages.