A Night on a Junk Boat

Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Countries, Featured, Vietnam | 4 comments

Even though nine months of travel initially sounded like an eternity, Mike and I have realized that some countries, regions, or cities are unfortunately going to get cut short. We have learned to cope with this realization by adopting the mantra, “We will be back!”  Vietnam epitomizes this sentiment.  We only had five short days to devote to this amazing country and are already talking about planning a return visit. For our short stay, we opted to visit the capital city of Hanoi and UNESCO World Heritage sight (and recently named as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature), Ha Long Bay.

There are several ways to approach a tour to Ha Long Bay but after hours of research by yours truly, we decided to spend the night on a junk boat (don’t be fooled by the term, many of the vessels are actually quite nice).  Ha Long Bay is located about 180 km from Hanoi and consists of 1,969 limestone islands jutting out of the emerald waters.  Our hotel in Hanoi arranged a tour with the company Oriental Sails. The trip included transportation between Hanoi and Ha Long Bay (despite the short distance, the ride takes four hours), a perky, knowledgeable tour guide named Trung, meals, and two days/one night on the boat.  One of the great things about touring Ha Long is actually experiencing the bay instead of just sailing around like some other tours we have been on in the past.  While we did spend a few hours cruising through the bay, we also went kayaking, hiking, swimming and explored some natural caves. We were delighted by the time we spent exploring the bay and would HIGHLY recommend it as a nice excursion from Hanoi.  Oriental Sails did a wonderful job (nice boat, comfortable room, delicious food), Trung seemed to embody Vietnamese hospitality, and the islands were even more impressive than expected. As trite as it sounds, words truly cannot express the bay’s magnificence….check out some pictures below.



  1. Kat…why did you take off the life vest? So stylish no.

  2. Halong bay is truly one of the world’s most beautiful places. I am sure it is even more beautiful than the pictures can show!!!

  3. So beautiful!

  4. This looks great ! One of the best of your adventures ! I’ve heard Vietnam is great – it is on my list !

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