Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

Ha Long Bay Cruise

Posted by archiebaby on 27/9/2007 at 10:54

I am booked on the Bhaya Junk Boat for a 2 day 1 night cruise can anyone give me some feedback on this cruise please & what to expect.
Thank You

#1 archiebaby has been a member since 12/9/2007. Posts: 22

Posted by Skowl on 30/9/2007 at 06:42

I did this 2 years ago and it's really spectacular, thereĀ“s not much to do but sit on the boat and watch the rocks go by but given that it's so beautiful, it's enough. You will get fed a fairly basic meal and can buy beer and stuff if you want. If you're a good swimmer you can go swimming but the water is deep and I saw enough jellyfish to put me off. I think we went to some caves on an island too.

At night the boat will go to Cat Ba island and probably you will have the option of staying on the boat or staying in a hotel for the night. The boat just sits in the harbour and there's nothing to do but count the cockraches and rats that inevitably show up so my advice would be to choose the hotel on the island, which should be included in the price of the trip. The hotel we stayed in was really nice, we got dinner, and then we were able to wander around the town and have a few drinks etc.

Day 2 is really just the trip back to your starting point and nothing much happens.

Make sure you bring plent of film or a big memory card as it really is spectacular, especially the areas with the floating villages.


#2 Skowl has been a member since 10/8/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by silversnapper on 4/1/2010 at 00:01

I read a lot of good reviews for Bhaya, which is quite pricey. But you can check other tour operators that offer less cost with the same quality service. I cruised in Halong Bay recently with Columbus Adventure Travel and enjoyed their service. Happy trip!

#3 silversnapper has been a member since 5/12/2009. Posts: 24

Posted by hasherjoe34 on 7/1/2010 at 17:05

Bhaya boat? cabin with balcony, clean bedsheets, friendly crew especially with kids, meals-great seafood, separate shower room and rest room and what else not? but expensive. By the way, which boat did you go since your question was posted 2007?

#4 hasherjoe34 has been a member since 20/11/2009. Posts: 11

Posted by ethernet on 6/9/2010 at 19:44

Ha Long Bay - MINH HAI Rip Off BYO Drinks Problem.

You pay good money for a cruise eh?
Well on the Minh Hai they wanted/Demanded USD $10 to open you own bottle. You are not allowed to drink your own beer/drinks onboard.
You may buy their excessive priced drinks though.

I understand this is not the only boat pulling this number. When you pay for the tour, get an agreement you CAN drink BYO alcohol on board in writing before handing over your money.

It was my Birthday, I had brought my own Champagne, and the miserable bastards made NO exceptions. Many French on board thought this the lowest of the low. A local $4 bottle of wine became $USD 18 = you get the picture.

The next problem was that they skipped the Pagoda climb, because they wanted to beat the other boats back. The Grotto tour is Extra, stopping here, there - it is all extra.

I don't know if it was a dishonest agent for them, but when I arrived in Hanoi, the hotel they dropped me off told me I had missed the bus and must stay overnight. I found out the next morning I had an hour up my sleeve.

The boat the acommodation and even meals were fine. The Captain can't plead ignorance, as I had an interpreter and he had my passport. People were so angy, they sucked down cold beers on the landing areas, and in their cabins.

Highlight of the tour was watching three luxury junks racing to be first to the big cave, and one crashing into another junk breaking timber and multiple windows - and I thought they were all good drivers. At least our captain avoided, and gave way to the other demented captains.

Any boat that puts greed first, on Christmas deserves NO bookings.
So always check the BYO at the dinner table before handing over the money.

#5 ethernet has been a member since 6/9/2010. Posts: 4

Posted by darcon on 1/11/2010 at 12:51

Posted from within Vietnam.

We just landed in Hanoi and were looking into booking a Ha Long Bay cruise for 2day/1night. We only have until Friday here as we are flying to Laos. After reading all the negative posts about booking the cruises, I was just wondering if anyone has tried the Heritage cruises. Our hotel tour office seems to say its unreal (but of course they will say that!) Its $85 each for the night. Is this the regular price? It also includes all meals, kayaking, entrance fees and transfers etc.
Any advice? Nervous to book anything now!!

#6 darcon has been a member since 29/9/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by ethernet on 11/11/2010 at 19:34

Do your research. But to me it looked pretty much all boats operated the same.
Get the extras included and written down. Typically it did not include extra for landing anywhere, beaches extra , islands extra, traditional village extra, grotto trip extra. Kayacks extra. The worst rip-off was No BYO, and overpriced drinks/alcohol - absolutely offensive - USD $10 to open your own bottle of wine.

The big kicker is always go if the weather is good - if it is overcast you won't see much.

Also remember China has almost exactly the attraction, so no great loss if you decide Chinese is better. And when you come back they will try to heavy you to do a trip to Sapa.

#7 ethernet has been a member since 6/9/2010. Posts: 4

Posted by ethernet on 17/2/2011 at 16:10

Wow - 12 +++ USA, Canadian, others Dead - , Boad sinks, Captain and Crew jump ship letting the others drown while sleeping. Obviously the like jackets are decorations, and responsibility - well - what is that.

I think this will KILL tourism good - lost for words ...

#8 ethernet has been a member since 6/9/2010. Posts: 4

Posted by ethernet on 22/2/2011 at 17:10

Good for you - Lets get the T-shirt 'I went on "Dream Voyage" and survived Halong Bay' out. This same boat already sank once before and killed before.

The official story of a broken pipe does not match that (foreign survivors) they saw a plank floating away, and no photos of the hole published either smells of a cover up. Mathematically the size of the pipe and or /pen valve is not enough to cause it to sink in a minute. A safety coverup/whitewash is even more damaging. All boat have a bilge/flood alarm - a simple affair - so another hole in the 'story'. Spell bribe., and not wanting to scare the tourists away.

Online Dan Tri newspaper reported Monday that the boat's insurance company will pay up to 20 million dong ($950) to each of the victims' relatives. OK Your life is worth $950
but Quang Ninh provincial officials are also providing an additional 20 million dong ($950) to the victims' families. I am told $1800 for a death is too low, even by Vietnamese standards,
and it would not cover flying the body back- or even funeral costs.

Simply put - I tell my friends to visit Thailand instead, less hassle and no expensive visa and paperwork hassles. Which tour company? None of em.

#9 ethernet has been a member since 6/9/2010. Posts: 4

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