The best boats to explore Bai Tu Long Bay in Vietnam
Are you looking for an alternative to the touristy Halong Bay? You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we present a selection of the best junks sailing in Bai Tu Long Bay, a quieter area of Halong Bay.
Only a few boats are allowed to navigate here, and even fewer are permitted to anchor. This provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the bay in a pristine and tranquil environment.
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Why visiting Bai Tu Long bay ?
Less known than its neighbor, Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay offers equally stunning landscapes. The bay is an ideal destination for those seeking a more authentic and less crowded experience. With its pristine beaches, impressive karst mountains, and wild nature, Bai Tu Long Bay is a highly recommended area, even if it’s your first trip to Vietnam.
To this day, Bai Tu Long largely remains unexplored. In many ways, it is actually more spectacular than Halong Bay, as it is still in its early stages as a destination for travelers. Bai Tu Long offers numerous sites to visit, including the Cong Do area, the fishing village of Vung Vieng, Da Xep Park, the Cong Dam area, Thien Canh Son Cave, and Tra Gioi Beach.
There are also some inhabited islands, such as Quan Lan, Ngoc Vung, Cong Dong, and Cong Tay, which boast many beautiful beaches. Additionally, Bai Tu Long Bay’s national park is rich in biological diversity, housing many different species of flora and fauna.
Landscape of Bai Tu Long bay
How to get to Bai Tu Long bay ?
The Hon Gai port serves as the starting point for cruises to Bai Tu Long Bay. Here are the different options depending on your departure location:
From downtown Hanoi to Hon Gai port (Halong City): 3 hours and 15 minutes by bus/car, covering a distance of 136 kilometers.
From Noi Bai International Airport to Hon Gai port (Halong City): 3 hours and 20 minutes by bus/car, covering 157 kilometers.
From Cat Bi International Airport (Haiphong) to Hon Gai port (Halong City): 2 hours by car/taxi, covering 79 kilometers.
The most common option is, of course, to book a cruise that includes shuttle service from Hanoi to Bai Tu Long Bay.
Travelers also have the option to hire a private driver, but if you only plan to take a cruise, the cruise shuttles will work just fine.
The best boats for discovering Bai Tu Long bay
There are far fewer cruise options for Bai Tu Long Bay than for the main Halong Bay. We have made a selection based on several criteria: duration, private or not, and finally, the quality of the boat.
Daily cruise : La Muse
La Muse is the day boat of the Indochina Junk company, which has a total of 9 junks. The boat offers two itineraries: a full-day trip or a half-day trip.
Half-Day Group Cruise: You will board the boat at noon and have lunch. Next, you will visit Mat Quy and Teapot islets, followed by Thien Canh Son Cave. In the mid-afternoon, there will be kayaking. The cruise will conclude with relaxation and disembarkation at 5:30 PM. The price is 1,550,000 VND (60 euros) per person.
Full-Day Private Cruise: If you are with family or friends, you have the option to charter the boat for a day. The cruise begins at 8:30 AM, starting with visits to Mat Quy and Teapot islets, followed by Thien Canh Son Cave and a kayaking session. Lunch will be served on board. In the afternoon, you will visit the Vung Vieng village on a small wooden sampan. The return to the port and disembarkation will be at 4:30 PM. The company offers a price of 400 euros for the full-day rental.
La Muse, daily boat in Bay Tu Long
Private cruise : L’Amour and Prince
“L’Amour” and “Prince” are two other boats from the Indochina Junk company. Both are intended for private cruises.
L’Amour: It is a wooden boat with a single cabin and a private bathroom. The bedroom with the bathroom features a large window overlooking the sea, and the outdoor dining area is a perfect spot to observe the natural landscape during the cruise. It is the ideal junk for honeymooning couples.
L’Amour junk in Bay Tu Long bay
Prince: This is a boat with 4 cabins, each equipped with a private bathroom. The junk has been designed based on the traditional fishing boats of Halong Bay but on a slightly smaller scale with 4 cabins. It features 2 decks with dining spaces both inside and outside, as well as cabins traditionally decorated with a window overlooking the sea, providing a relaxing space to admire the wonderful view. This junk is perfect for families or groups of friends.
Prince junk in Bai Tu Long bay
Please note that these junks are unique; consequently, their prices are quite high (approximately 250 dollars per person for 2 days), and they need to be booked in advance. Please contact us at least 3 months in advance to make reservations.
Comfortable cruise : Garden Bay boats
For a quality stay at a lower price, we recommend the boats of the Garden Bay company. There are four boats in total, with 10, 12, 13, and 14 cabins respectively. The 10-cabin boat is the most luxurious and provides impeccable service highly appreciated by our customers. On the boat, there is an English-speaking guide, which facilitates the course of the cruise (activities) and interactions with the crew and people encountered during the journey.
Here is a testimonial from one of our clients on our TripAdvisor page:
“I chose to take a cruise on Bai Tu Long Bay with Parfum d’Automne, and I can only recommend it! The view was incredible, the room and bathroom were very beautiful. The boat’s crew was very attentive, funny, and welcoming. And the meals were plentiful and delicious 🙌🏼 It’s a flawless experience for us; you can go with your eyes closed.”
You can find the detailed two-day program and photos of the boats by clicking on the link below.
The 10 cabins boat from Garden Bay
Luxury cruise : Dragon Legend
Finally, here is the largest boat on this list – with 24 cabins – and also the most luxurious. Each spacious cabin features handmade traditional Vietnamese decor as well as modern amenities. A private bathroom includes a bathtub and large windows overlooking the sea. The boat has no less than 4 decks with both indoor and outdoor restaurants, a spa, a bar, and the sundeck. There are a total of 35 staff members on board to make your cruise an unforgettable experience. The itinerary has been carefully designed to take you off the beaten path.
Dragon Legend boat in Bai Tu Long bay
You now know the main boats for sailing in Bai Tu Long Bay.
Feel free to contact us to organize your stay in the bay.
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