Visiting Halong Bay, Vietnam
If you’re in the business of bucketlist check offs then a trip to Vietnam would be insufficient without a junk boat cruise through Halong Bay. Sanctioned by UNESCO as a world heritage site, the over 1600 limestone islands jutting up from crystal waters are a preserved homage to mother nature.
Indochina junk boats will have all you need to know and more. Book a private charter boat (4-10 people) or the 24 suite luxury Dragon Legend (more info below). I know it seems like a whole lot of travel time just for one night at Halong Bay, but believe me, one night is plenty. Make sure you prebook your boat in advance, as they can fill up quickly.
The welcome center: you will be herded like the countryside cattle you just saw into the appropriate holding room associated with your junk boat. You may need to pay the remainder of your balance, at which point you’ll find out that they charge an additional 5% for credit card use and the nearest ATM is a 20 minute cab ride in the direction you just came from. While you curse the credit transaction and your significant other bugs you for money so she can buy an “I slept on a junk boat” tshirt, you will second guess your decision to go on this overpriced tourist spectacle. I hear ya.
These junk boats are not all created equal. At all. Not even close. The only two viable options if you want to be comfortable and/or not sink into the abyss:
– It was cold out, and therefore we couldn’t swim or enjoy the sun deck and pool.
-Single file lines, life vests and group photos make me cringe.
-I discourage anyone from ever booking a massage aboard the Dragon Legend.
-The food was great the first lunch and got progressively worse… and there was just so much of it …and so much wasted (or, gulp, reused).