Ha Lengthy Bay Cruise: Exploring Vietnam’s Limestone Labyrinth

See a relaxed, soothing facet of Vietnam with a unprecedented cruise in Ha Lengthy Bay. The UNESCO World Heritage Website is legendary for its spectacular and mesmerizing surroundings—rugged limestone islands encircled by emerald inexperienced waters.

Situated within the Gulf of Tonkin in Northern Vietnam, Ha Lengthy Bay has greater than 1,600 karsts and islets coated with jungle vegetation.

The neighboring Lan Ha Bay sports activities about 300 limestone islets. And northeast of each is the much less visited Bai Tu Lengthy Bay, which boasts 3,000 rocky islets.

Ha Long Bay (photo by Dave Lee)
Ha Lengthy Bay (picture by Dave Lee)

These pure wonders of Southeast Asia developed over a interval of 20 million years, with the ocean sculpting the rocks.

The jagged islets and historic karsts have been notched and carved by rain and seawater, creating hole islands and caves.

Two in style caves accessible to vacationers on a Ha Lengthy Bay tour are Sung Sot Cave (“Shock Cave”) and Luon Cave.

Well-known for its vibrant inexperienced water and epic surroundings, Ha Lengthy Bay and La Ha Bay appear like scenes from a film. For those who’ve seen the 2017 movie Kong: Cranium Island, you already know it has been.

The magical surroundings grew to become the central set for the motion movie. Helicopters fly over the island mountains and finally land on one lush islet, the place a King Kong shock awaits.

Rosy Cruise

Rosy Cruise ship in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Rosy Cruise ship

We ventured to see the myriad of islets with a two-day, one-night Rosy Cruise. The boutique cruise firm operates out of Ha Lengthy Bay and Lan Ha Bay, providing sweeping views of the gorgeous surroundings.  

Inbuilt 2020, Rosy Cruise options 22 luxurious suites that meet worldwide requirements. With a most of 52 visitors, the ship gives an intimate crusing expertise, and wandering the boat by no means feels crowded. 

The spacious cabins are draped in comfortable bedding and decor with ensuite marble loos and stand-alone bathtubs with showerheads. Western-style bathrooms guarantee a snug expertise.

View from our non-public cabin (picture by Dave Lee)

Each suite options floor-to-ceiling home windows and personal balconies, providing unimaginable, up-close views of the monolithic islands and the lapping inexperienced water of the bay.

The metal vessel boasts 5 decks with an out of doors jacuzzi on the third deck, a restaurant on the fourth, and a sundeck on the fifth.

All meals are served within the spacious eating room, with bay views on three sides. On the fifth flooring, the sundeck affords a spot to calm down, get pleasure from a drink on the Skybar, and seize 360 views of the pure magnificence. 

Day 1

Boarding the Rosy Cruise tender (photo by Dave Lee)
Boarding the tender (picture by Dave Lee)

Our in a single day cruise started at Tuan Chau Worldwide Marina in Ha Lengthy Bay, situated within the Quang Ninh Province, about 100 miles east of Hanoi.

After a brief wait on the Rosy Ready Lounge in Terminal 2, we had been led by our English-speaking cruise supervisor onto the dock.

We hopped on Rosy Cruise’s tender (a small boat) and took our seats on flat benches there.

Because the tender sped away from the busy harbor and docked boats, we obtained our first glimpses of the monolithic islands coated in inexperienced vegetation. 

Our dwelling for the subsequent few days stood out among the many pure surroundings. As we approached, the crew crowded the again of the ship, enthusiastically waving at us. We transferred from the tender to start our cruise.


Lunch buffet on our Ha Long Bay Cruise in Northern Vietnam (photo by Dave Lee)
Lunch buffet (picture by Dave Lee)

After dropping baggage in our cabin, we loved a welcome buffet within the eating room, with numerous cold and warm dishes, together with recent fruit, pumpkin soup, stir-fried greens, rice, potatoes, and barbecue hen breast.

With home windows on three sides of the restaurant, we may admire the sweetness and isolation as we passed by limestone cliffs.

After lunch, we dropped anchor on the east facet of Cat Ba Island, permitting passengers their first alternative to enterprise out independently.

Kayaking in Ha Long Bay (photo by Dave Lee)
Kayaking in Ha Lengthy Bay (picture by Dave Lee)

A couple of hopped into kayaks, having fun with close-up views of the rugged islets surrounding us. We took the free time to get pleasure from our non-public balcony and the beautiful surroundings.

Within the early night, we ventured as much as the sundeck for the primary time, taking within the full-circle views. We loved tropical cocktails, recent fruit, and rice crisps, an area snack.

View from the top deck of Rosy Cruise
Happy Hour on our Rosy Cruise ship
Blissful Hour

Observe the cocktails weren’t included in our cruise worth, however they did provide a 2-for-1 comfortable hour worth. Mocktails, tender drinks, and iced tea had been out there as nicely.

The chaise lounge chairs had been optimum for taking within the view, the limestone islands jutting up from the calming waters.

Cooking Demo

Guests preparing Vietnamese spring rolls before dinner.
Friends put together spring rolls
Fried spring rolls
Fried spring rolls

Within the early night, we obtained a style of the native tradition with a cooking demo for spring rolls, a traditional Vietnamese dish. We discovered the way to pack the spring roll paper and correctly roll it, laughing at our messy makes an attempt.

Neatly, a Rosy Cruise worker deep-fried the rolls for us. However we obtained to benefit from the spoils of our labor, dipping the rolls right into a spicy, tangy sauce.


Shrimp cocktail and fried squid cakes
Shrimp and squid desserts

We ventured again down a flooring for a five-course connoisseur dinner. We began with a seafood soup and a inexperienced mango salad topped with shrimp.

A 3rd course featured a steamed shrimp cocktail and a fried squid cake. The entree included grilled sea bass with ardour fruit sauce and greens. Dessert was a spongy cake with bananas and a caramel sauce.

After dinner, visitors may get pleasure from further cocktails on the bar and check out their hand at squid fishing. Drained, we skipped the distinctive expertise of squid fishing. The subsequent day, we heard they did not have a lot luck.

Day 2

Friends awake at dawn had the chance to get pleasure from tai chi on the sundeck.

A beautiful breakfast awaited us within the eating room, with recent fruit, croissants, pastries, and pho. We took benefit of the native availability to savor dragon fruit, a dear tropical candy in the USA.

After tai chi and breakfast, visitors may board a young to go to close by caves and karsts, a famous space for a number of the Cranium Island filming.

The small vessels allowed individuals to come back nearer to the islets, venturing additional into the bay. The crisp air and calm water made it a stunning approach to spend the afternoon. 

Warned we would get moist, we opted to skip the journey due to the chilly climate. We took benefit of the time to calm down and benefit from the quiet of the boat and environment. 

Kel takes a selfie in Ha Long Bay

Nonetheless, we regretted the choice after seeing the cool photos our buddies took. In bamboo boats, locals rowed the visitors into the Mild Cave, letting them see the limestone panorama hollowed out by the water. 

A slight chill saved us from swimming, however a number of passengers opted to kayak round Lan Ha Bay.


A closing five-course brunch was served within the eating room earlier than we disembarked for the mainland.

We started with potato and beetroot soup. A inexperienced papaya salad with beef adopted, a refreshing dish. Slivers of smoked duck breast with orange sauce got here subsequent.

Sliced duck at brunch on Day 2
Sliced duck

And the primary course was a cordon bleu-like hen dish with a tacky sauce, rice, and bok choy.

A candy, scrumptious mousse with slices of watermelon and dragon fruit wrapped-up lunch on our final day.

Then, we headed again to the marina, taking closing glances at our floating dwelling flanked by the small islands manufactured from limestone.

The journey time for our return shuttle experience to Hanoi was about two hours. Our roundtrip shuttles to/from Hanoi had been organized via Rosy Cruise.

Cruising Notes

We met a couple of different individuals who selected the two-day journey, however the three-day cruise looks like a greater worth in phrases of time and money.

Nonetheless, we beloved the relaxed, leisurely journey. Sitting on our balcony as we sailed round Ha Lengthy Bay, lounging on the sundeck with a cocktail—on a regular basis worries and the frantic cacophony of town noise washed away. All of it made for an unforgettable expertise in Vietnam.

The cruise itinerary can change due to climate and water circumstances. Within the hotter months, swimming is extra extensively out there.

Dave with a drink in hand on the rooftop deck of Rosy Cruise ship
Dave on the rooftop deck

The cruise line additionally generally visits Three Peaches Seaside and Viet Hai village, a distant fishing village within the jungle of Cat Ba Nationwide Park. 

Lower than three % of the islets are inhabited, with individuals residing on 40 of the bigger islands. Lower than 2,000 Vietnamese residents dwell within the Ha Lengthy Bay space, making it a haven for remoted magnificence. 

Regardless of the seclusion, wasps of every day life are seen. Different cruise ships sail previous, and smaller fishing boats weave via the waters.

At one level throughout our journey, a girl in a small canoe paddled alongside our ship, promoting water and snacks. We marveled at her transferring items to balconies on a better deck.

When To Go to

A cruise ship in Ha Long Bay
A cruise ship in Ha Lengthy Bay

Our two-day cruise was a part of a five-day group tour of Vietnam deliberate by buddies. Concerning cruise choices, we suggest the three-day cruise in Ha Lengthy Bay for $345. 

This gives you one full day on the cruise ship to get pleasure from this distinctive atmosphere.

The most effective time for a Ha Lengthy Bay cruise is April and Could when there’s loads of sunshine and blue skies. That is additionally peak season, so cruise boats will possible be full.

September to November affords cool, clear skies. It is grey and misty in winter, from December to March.

Our February journey was clear, however the sky was a flat, muted grey. We loved our first cruise however would like to return for good blue skies in late spring.

We extremely suggest avoiding June via August, which is monsoon season, making the climate unpredictable.

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