Mysterious waters and myriads of islets and limestone formations create the spectacular seascapes of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Halong, which means “descending dragon”, refers to legendary creatures sent down from the heavens to guard against invaders approaching from the sea. To protect the Vietnamese, the dragons belched out clusters of jewels to create an impenetrable barrier, which has since turned into over 2,000 beautiful limestone islets today dotting the bay.
This classic two-day/one-night cruise named “The Dragon Passage” along the “ancient playground of dragons” offers memorable sights and sounds captured in an unforgettable journey through thousands of limestone formations.
Get acquainted with the facilities on board as we set sail for your Halong Bay experience. Savour your first hours in the bay on the sun deck and simply let your eyes wander over the breathtaking scenery during our first hours of cruising.
We arrive at Cua Van, one of the last remaining floating fishing villages in Halong Bay, and which some fishermen still use as a base for their fishing and aquacultural activities. With a small bamboo boat rowed by locals, we have a look at the floating structures in this calm and secluded area to gain some insight into village life. If you prefer to be more active, borrow a kayak (complimentary for 2-night cruises) and paddle around by yourself. This is the perfect way to freely move about and explore this part of the bay. The fishing village also hosts the Cua Van Cultural Center, operated by local residents to preserve and introduce visitors to the village’s history and culture. On display are many archaeological artifacts and photographs depicting life in Cua Van.
By tender, we transfer to the nearby Tien Ong cave. The cave shows evidence of human civilization dating back to 10,000 – 8,000 BC. Fossil evidence also proves that the cave was part of the mainland continent ages ago before Halong Bay became the marine wonder it is today. Tien Ong cave reaches a depth of 50 metres and covers a total area of roughly 1,000 square metres. Follow our guide as we loop though and learn interesting details about this cavern.
After returning to the boat, we sail to the overnight mooring area. During this the magical “blue hour”, Halong Bay reveals its magnificent beauty. Unwind on the sun deck with your favourite drink and be fully present in this moment. As we sail along, you may like to join our cooking class by our chef. You are welcome to practice these easy, but very tasty classic Vietnamese recipes for yourself – then cook them for your loved ones back at home.
After a bit of downtime, dinner is served. Passengers aboard Heritage Line’s luxurious Violet can choose from international or local favourites from a multi-course à la carte menu.
After dinner, our on-board guide offers an intriguing presentation about the bay’s unique and fascinating insights. Alternatively, give yourself a try at squid fishing together with our staff – always an entertaining experience. While away the rest of the evening and treasure this special moment amidst the magical landscapes before falling into a restful slumber in the middle of Halong Bay where, once upon a time, sparkling jewels cascaded from heavenly dragons.
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Once arriving at Ti Top, you can go for a refreshing morning swim on a sandy beach beneath towering rock formations. If you prefer to be a bit more active, climb 400 stone steps (which takes about 20 minutes) to the island’s top and be rewarded with stunning, panoramic views over the bay. There is also a viewing platform about half-way up with great vistas framed by lush greenery – perfect for photos.
Back on board, you can take a shower and freshen up. Now is the time to enjoy the final moments of sailing as we head back to the harbour while breakfast is served. Until we reach the pier, relax on the sun deck or in the dining room while savouring the last views of this iconic site.
Accommodation; daily (group) shore-excursions, sightseeing and transfers during the cruise; English speaking tour guiding on-and offshore; entertainment/activities during the cruise as mentioned in the program; welcome drink, brewed coffee, tea and mineral water; meals as mentioned in the program; passenger liability insurance; internet on the ship (subject to cellular network signal); complimentary usage of ship facilities (exclusive of spa treatments); port or anchorage fees; taxes.
Admission (entrance) fee for Halong Bay or Lan Ha Bay; crew and guide gratuities; visa fees; shuttle bus or private transfers; personal expenses; other beverages than those stated under inclusions; medical services.
We booked this tour through Trailfinders and stayed on the Violet, one of the Heritage Line boats, for one night. Our boat had a crew of 18 and only 6 guests so we were pretty spoiled!
Mr Big, the cruise manager, was superb and nothing was too much trouble, his team really gave us some very special memories of our time here. We had one of the junior suites and the room was lovely with a small balcony so we could sit outside and watch the scenery go by. The bed was large and comfortable, there was a decent bathroom, plenty of power sockets and also a tv with some downloaded films (that we didn’t get time to watch!).
The boat had a small fitness room, sauna and massage area, dining area and then a large top deck with seating and a shaded area. The food was just superb and so much of it! It was all delicious and very well presented, combined with attentive service.
There was a program of excursions but they were a pain to be honest. We really didn’t have enough time on the boat to just relax and watch the scenery, the whole reason to be there!
The wife & I boarded the Violet run by Heritage Lines out of Halong Bay. Small, luxury junk ship with only 6 cabins, more intimate & personal. We toured all over the bay sightseeing all of the massive limestone karst and attractions. Stayed over one night & returned back to shore. Food was great, staff very friendly & attentive, rooms are around a 3-4 date, but considering the locale, it was luxurious. Highly recommended.
My wife & I did a one night Halong Bay cruise on the Heritage Line’s Violet in April. We stayed in an Imperial Suite (Phoenix Cabin) which was very spacious and had a balcony facing the front of the junk. The bathroom was large with a Jacuzzi tub and a separate shower.
The food was beautifully presented and generally very good although not always to our taste. Dinner main course was poor although our dietary requirements were catered for.
The off boat excursions were varied and interesting.
The crew were pleasant, friendly and helpful.
Overall an enjoyable way to see the beauty of Halong Bay.
We did an overnight stay on Violet in Halong Bay. The whole trip was magical. The boat is beautiful. We stayed in the ‘Moon’ suite which was very spacious and had a lovely balcony. The food was very good. My husband is very fussy and doesn’t eat any seafood so they made a real effort to ensure he had something he liked at mealtimes. We didn’t get off the boat for the cave/fishing village trip. We preferred to lounge on the top deck and enjoy the scenery. In the morning we joined the Tai Chi at 7am. Though we did the excursion to the beach we wished we had stayed on the boat. The beach was quite busy and didn’t really add to our overall enjoyment.
The staff are wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Being on a small boat was great. Everyone spoke with each other and it was very relaxing.
We were lucky enough to have a 1 night cruise on the beautiful Violet during our 3 week tour of Vietnam. From start to finish everything ran like clockwork and the boat was absolutely gorgeous. Mr Big introduced himself as soon as we arrived at the departure lounge and on the dot of 12.30 we were escorted aboard. We had a welcome drink while he explained the itinerary of the cruise and shown the safety procedure. We were then shown to our Dragon suite which was beyond belief! A beautiful balcony, 4 huge Windows to enjoy the view, a huge bed and a bathroom with corner jacuzzi bath and separate shower!
After a delicious lunch it was time to board the tender to take us to explore a cave and then the fishing village by Sampan. On returning to the boat there was a cookery demonstration where we made fresh spring rolls and shortly after it was time for dinner. As it is a small boat you soon get chatting to the other guests and we had a lovely evening.
At 7am there was Tai Chi on deck and we were lucky enough to have a beautiful clear sunny morning. There was another excursion to an island after breakfast but I decided to stay on board to have a very relaxing massage instead as I’m not keen on crowds climbing steep steps all together, my husband said I made the right decision!
The only regret is that we did not have long enough on board to enjoy the luxurious facilities! This was an amazing trip that I will never forget. Thank you Mr Big!