Halong Bay was a place I had always dreamed of going to. I had very high expectations- heck I was there for my honeymoon! And you know what- it totally lived up to and exceeded them all.
It was without a doubt the most incredible place I’ve ever been to.
The surroundings of the UNSECO World Heritage Site were so ancient, magnificent and beautiful- I couldn’t take my eyes away from the towering limestone islands topped with rainforests.
Sailing through the tranquil emerald waters was surreal, it was so incredibly peaceful, which was just what we needed.
If you’re wanting to do Halong Bay- you want to do it right. There are so many options out there so it can be very difficult to narrow them down and make the best decision for which company to go with.
My now husband and I did hours and hours of research going through all the top rated cruises on Trip advisor and comparing them all.
We decided to go with Bhaya Classic Cruises on their Legend Halong Private charter vessel and we are so so thankful and happy we did because our trip was truly unforgettable.
We chose the three day, two night cruise and the whole experience from start to finish was amazing, I couldn’t recommend them more if you are wanting a more personal and exclusive tour.
Most other cruises you can choose from are packed with people. These are for the young and budget travellers and fair enough if you want to go there and are on a tight budget.
For us- Vietnam was our honeymoon trip and after first visiting Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, which was amazing but very hectic and busy- Halong Bay was our relaxing and chill time to ourselves that we wanted to spend in an incredible place.
How to get there
There is an optional shuttle transfer from Hanoi which we opted in for which was $50 US for two people. We were picked up early morning in a luxury van which was very comfortable- there was even wifi!
It took almost 4 hours to drive to Halong Bay with a 20-minute rest-stop break in the middle with facilities. You get taken straight to the Bhaya office where you meet the crew so it’s a very easy process.
Legend Halong are a private cruise tour, so there were only two other couples on board with us- one from Florida and one from Singapore.
Our deluxe cabin rooms were very authentic and comfortable, with air conditioning, a large en-suite and our own private balcony to view the amazing surroundings.
Aside from our rooms, there was a dining area with tables where we ate our meals and couches to relax on. I loved that it was decorated for Christmas and New Year since we were there mid-December.
Upstairs was a large open-top sundeck where you could relax on loungers, bean bags, couches or at a table. This was where Gareth and I spent a lot of time enjoying the scenic view with a beer in hand, especially at sunset.
|The view from our own cabin balcony|
The first afternoon we spent on a traditional bamboo boat ride around Dark and Bright Lagoon. We could choose to kayak if we wished but four of the six of us chose the bamboo ride. The local boat owner took us around through many beautiful caves and bays.
There were no sounds other than the splashing of the paddle on water. It was so pleasant and tranquil and incredible seeing the limestone islands right up close.
|Aboard the bamboo boat|
Late afternoon before anchoring for the night we visited a Pearl Farm where we learnt all about pearls and how they were grown there. I never knew how they were made before so I found it very interesting.
Gareth even bought me a pair of beautiful black pearl earrings from the store (as they were a very good price) to match my black pearl necklace I got in the Cook Islands.
|Approaching the Pearl Farm|
In the evenings we had free time to spend as we pleased but there is optional squid fishing which we were keen to try. We all gave it a go with bamboo rods but unfortunately it wasn’t squid season, however we did catch a couple of small fish.
On the second day in the morning, we had the option to wake up early for a Tai-Chi lesson on the sundeck.
I had never done Tai-Chi before, nor anything like it- but I thought this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience it surrounded by such incredible scenery.
It was very relaxing and to be honest a really nice way to start the day! I was glad I got up early to do it as it was pretty special.
After breakfast we visited Bo Hon Island to see ‘Surprise Grotto.’ It was a small hike to the top of the island where we had incredible views over the bay (see header picture) and we could enter inside to the large and protected caves.
It was absolutely stunning inside and we really enjoyed walking around and seeing all the different formations which were accentuated with colourful lights.
After lunch in the afternoon we visited Ti Top Island which has the highest point you can view over Halong Bay. We could choose to hike to the top- which was a huge mission, but so worth it for the stunning views. My legs were absolute jelly after that but I was thankful for the exercise with all the delicious food we had been eating.
Afterwards we could swim at the beach there if we wished.
|The six guests at the top!|
After we had recovered from the hike we spent the rest of the afternoon kayaking through the area Ho Ba Ham. We kayaked through caves and even pulled up onto a small beach where we could visit a temple. (Unfortunately I didn’t have a waterproof camera so there were no photos of this).
Those were the main activities we took part in and it was great being active and getting out and about in Halong Bay. The whole itinerary was very enjoyable and a perfect mixture of adventure and relaxation time.
All of these activities are optional and there are also spa services on board if you choose.
All meals are included and we ate like kings the entire time- there was so much food. There were about five courses for both lunch and dinner (three for breakfast!) and every day was different. A fusion of Vietnamese, it was all incredible.
Every dish was lovingly prepared and very tasty. They have their own chef on board so it’s made fresh daily.
There is complimentary tea and coffee whenever you please and chilled water and drinks to purchase, as well as a very nice wine selection.
There is a happy hour every evening at 5 pm with two for one drinks. We happily sat at the bar for hours in the evenings with the other guests and shared wine and stories.
On the second evening there was a cooking demonstration of traditional cuisine and fruit carving which we could take part it. We learned how to make Vietnamese spring rolls with a dipping sauce which is one of my favourites so I was thrilled about that!
|Oysters for appetisers!|
The friendly crew really made the trip extra special. Every single member of staff was so genuine and warm- you were always greeted with a smile.
Cuong and Manh especially went over and beyond in their service, they were so kind, helpful and always keen for a chat about the history of Halong Bay.
We were very impressed by the crew and how welcome we felt.
|All of us and the crew|
|Loved their motto- Yes We Smile|
If you’re a big water drinker like me then bring a couple of 1.5 litres of water with you.
There is no fridge in your room but it’s handy to have and to brush your teeth with.
There is of course water to purchase on board but they only have small bottles so I always had to grab four bottles at a time.
One thing I wish I had (but sadly don’t own yet) is a GoPro or waterproof camera. It would have been perfect for swimming and kayaking and getting more incredible shots.
It says there is free wifi- but it didn’t work for us. However, I’m actually really glad of this.
It was so nice to really switch off for a few days and be in the moment. So my final tip is for you to do that too. No TV, no internet. Just you and the epic surroundings. It’s pure bliss.
Cruise: Bhaya Legend Cruise
Location: No. 08, 09, 10, Tuan Chau International Port, Halong, Quang Ninh, Vietnam.
Price: Prices vary depending on the season but start at $224 US for 3 days, 2 nights.
Halong Bay was truly the most epic few days of my life- I didn’t want it to end when it did!
It has inspired me to venture out and see more of the incredible sites this world has to offer.
The Bhaya Legend Cruise was a little more expensive than other boats you can find- but they aren’t private and to be honest it is worth every single penny for the fantastic service you receive.
Everything from the immaculate rooms, delicious food, itinerary and activities make this cruise so enjoyable and special.
If you’re wanting to book a cruise in Halong Bay then I give my full recommendations to Bhaya. Our honeymoon was exactly what I had dreamed of and I couldn’t thank them enough for our incredible time.
Here are a few more photos from our wonderful trip below.
If you haven’t yet been to Halong Bay I hope I have inspired you to visit! We loved our time in Vietnam and we can’t wait to return again. Have you been or are wanting to go?
Let me know in the comments below.
|Pin it! 🙂|