Cruise in a Traditional Junk around beautiful Ha Long Bay

Aerial view of boats sailing in Halong Bay Vietnam

Situated close to Hanoi in the Gulf of Tonkin, the UNESCO World Heritage listed Ha Long Bay in Vietnam is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi itself. With its serene landscapes, glistening green waters and dramatic limestone karsts that rise majestically out of the waters, it is an idyllic setting miles from the madness of town. If you can think of nothing better than floating on the quiet waters in the midst of breathtaking nature all around, perhaps the best ways to discover the bay is by gliding across the water on a traditional junk boat.

The range of traditional junks and tours on offer are numerous, so it’s important to do a little research in order to find the best provider for what you are looking for. So, is adventure, relaxation, discovery, or a range of local cuisine top of your list? And how long, exactly, do you want your trip to be? Once you decide what you want out of it, discovering a tour will become a much simpler process.

An experience out into Halong Bay

Trips to Halong Bay

Trips around Ha Long Bay range from one to seven days, with the average being a two-to-three night expedition. Visits start at dawn, when you can catch the eerie mist that covers the tops of the inlets, as the sun rises the fog disperses leaving the famous landscape on full view: it’s an exhilarating start to the day. You can step off your junk boat at various points along the trip to take in the surrounding areas. Ha Long Bay has a diverse landscape which promotes activities on both land and water.

On a leisurely kayak tour, you can also explore the islands and natural caves, getting up close and personal with the karsts and finding out just how truly breathtaking they really are. Beyond the traditional boat trips, mountain biking through the stunning scenery along the Bay provides many challenging routes, whilst hiking the notorious trek routes in the surrounding area will leave you with some stunning view points around Ha Long. Cool off after your exploits with a plunging into the waters, snorkelling just below the surface to discover the vibrant sea life.

Aerial view of boats sailing in Halong Bay Vietnam

Other islands

Once you’ve discovered the magical waters of Ha Long Bay, junk cruise trip will take you to the surrounding islands, where the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation is on offer. Cat Ba is the largest of the Bay’s islands, and whether you’re looking for culture, relaxation or adventure, it’s safe to say this is a place which caters to all tastes. The sprawling national park is home to excellent hiking routes, which offer perfect spots to catch a glimpse of an array of wildlife including deer, macaques, and giant black squirrels. You certainly won’t miss the monkeys on the island as there are almost 2000 of these living on a beach called – yes, you guessed it – Monkey Beach!

Another of Ha Long’s gems is Lan Ha Bay. Relatively untouched, this island is the perfect spot for a bit of R&R after your brush with the local wildlife! Spend your day lying on the pristine sand or jump in the water for a meeting with the colourful marine life. If you don’t feel like getting in the water, though, there’s always another kayak trip. Discover all the island has to offer at a leisurely pace, and if you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the dolphins and whales living in the distance.

Cat ba island city beach in Vietnam