Bai Tu Long Bay cruise with Indochina Junk

We originally wanted to sign up for the 3d2n cruise around Halong Bay. Unfortunately the sail schedule didn’t work with our dates. Instead, we did the Bai Tu Long Bay cruise on a newer, more luxurious boat: the Dragon Legend. Out of all the cruise companies, we chose Indochina Junk based on their reviews. It’s slightly more expensive but you get what you pay for.

It was cold and gloomy when we visited in December. While we didn’t get to swim in the bay, we got to see this beautiful UNESCO site in another light. The limestone formations were extra serene against the  breeze and drizzle.



the itinerary

Day 1: pickup from hotel – embark and check in at Hon Gai harbor – set menu lunch on board – cruise to Vung Dang / Cong Dam area – kayak (it was too cold to swim in December) – dinner – relax

Day 2: Tai Chi on the sun-deck – breakfast – explore Thien Canh Son Cave – kayak – check out – lunch – disembark – puppet show at Yen Duc village (we slept on the van) – arrive in Hanoi


Approaching the Dragon Legend from the smaller boat


Set-menu lunch with a view


Beautiful cabins with a in-suite jacuzzi tub


Delicious set-menu dinner

pho with squid we caught ourselves

Pho for breakfast of course! With squid we caught the previous night!



the verdict

the not-so-good:

  • our driver on the way there wasn’t very friendly
  • WiFi wasn’t working in our van on the way there (the cruise manager made an effort to correct this and put us on a van that does have working wifi on the way back, so kudos!)
  • the shower drain doesn’t really drain. Water collects at the opposite end and makes a little flood outside because there’s barely an edge. We had to turn the water off every few minutes (mid shower so it’s freezing!) to kick the water over to the side with the drain. That really didn’t do anything because it’d start to flood as soon as we turned the shower back on.

the good:

  • There were literally no other boats in sight on our route along Bai Tu Long Bay. This made the whole experience extra special and intimate
  • I hate long drives, but the 3hr ride to the port and back wasn’t even bad! Their luxury vans are very comfortable and are equipped with WiFi
  • Excellent service by all the crew members!
  • The cabins on the Dragon Legend are massive and beautiful, there’s even an in-suite jacuzzi tub
  • Wide variety of delicious food and drinks; everything is super fresh
  • Squid fishing wasn’t included in the itinerary but our crew invited us to do this at night. This was so much fun!

The 2d1n cruise on Indochina Junk’s Dragon Legend was an unforgettable experience. Bai Tu Long Bay is much quieter; we recommend it over the more well-known and popular Ha Long Bay. Hopefully they’ve fixed the shower drain problem by now!

Bai Tu Long Bay

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post; these are my own honest opinions:)


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Kollecting Koordinates - Bai Tu Long Bay



  1. April 14, 2016 / 4:34 am

    It’s always very tricky with these junk boats in Vietnam but your decision to go for the more expensive one is a good choice, I’ve heard horrible experiences of people who preferred the cheaper ones and the view of Halong Bay was all they get as a “positive”. 🙂

    Amazing room with a jacuzzi. You didn’t post any photos with the bed though, how big was the room? 🙂

    • Ivy
      April 14, 2016 / 5:27 pm

      I’ve heard of horror stories where the boats sank! I think a couple of people were killed back in 2011 when this happened :S
      The room was massive for a boat! So sorry, we totally should’ve taken pictures of the bed. They have a page re: their cabins here if you’re interested!

  2. April 14, 2016 / 6:02 am

    That was a nice read! Short and to the point. I’m liking how you put the pros and cons. Glad there were more pros. Too bad you couldn’t go swim and stuff.

    I always wanted to do a cruise. It’s on my bucketlist.

    • Ivy
      April 14, 2016 / 5:03 pm

      Thanks, Shayan! You should definitely do it- when it’s warm so you can swim in the bay!

  3. April 14, 2016 / 7:35 am

    The food looks fantastic and the views even more so! I would like to take a tour like this, but how much did it cost and what company was this? Sorry if you posted it and I didn’t see it, but I was so enthralled by your photos! 😀

    • Ivy
      April 14, 2016 / 5:02 pm

      Hi Gina! The company is called Indochina Junk and the boat/itinerary we signed up for is the Dragon Legend ( I believe it was around 200USD pp for 2D1N. I didn’t like the puppet show on the ride back to Hanoi but the rest of the itinerary was great! 🙂

  4. April 14, 2016 / 8:34 am

    Amazing views + a ton of food? Sign me up! That in suite jacuzzi sounds nice too. Thanks for sharing your photos.

    • Ivy
      April 14, 2016 / 4:57 pm

      Thanks, Sarah! It’d be even more awesome in the summer!

  5. April 14, 2016 / 10:50 am

    I love the dragon’s head on the boat 🙂

  6. April 14, 2016 / 9:35 pm

    Wow that Jacuzzi view looked amazing! It’s definitely a step up from the backpacker cruise we did in Halong Bay! That food also looks delicious.

  7. April 14, 2016 / 10:57 pm

    Oh wow that’s so awesome. I’ve been on the big cruises before (Carnival) and it felt so business-like and not personal and intimate at all. This on the other hand, looks incredibly intimate. The views are amazing and the food looks delicious! I also love that you’re not vying for space on the water either. I’ll have to add this to my bookmark.

  8. April 15, 2016 / 1:45 am

    What a beautiful boat! Awesome that you felt like you had the bay to yourself. I’ve heard it can get really crowded. Looks like you were pretty pampered, except maybe for the shower, but that jaccuzzi tub makes up for it.

  9. April 16, 2016 / 5:10 am

    The cruise really sounds like an amazing experience and the views of Tu_Long Bay are stunning, would love to do this cruise someday.

  10. January 16, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    I went to Halong Bay and thought it was stunning but I was disappointed at how overdeveloped and polluted it was. You did good in choosing to go to another bay and your junk boat looked amazing!

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