Ha Long Bay Cruise with Dragonfly

While you plan your trip to Vietnam, schedule some time to experience the country’s incredible natural wonders. Vietnam features striking rice terraces and thick, majestic jungles, but few places can match the overwhelming beauty of Ha Long Bay. And the best way to experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site is during a Ha Long Bay cruise.

About Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is a beautiful section of Vietnam with towering, limestone islands and gorgeous water. Take a Ha Long Bay cruise to get the most of it.

Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay is a two and half hour drive east of the lively metropolis of Hanoi. The bay features thousands of limestone islands. Over millions of years, the tropical climate has shaped them into towering, green pillars. In a similar way, time has allowed for the development of dramatic cave systems. I highly recommend exploring them on your Ha Long Bay cruise.

Ha Long means “descending dragon.” According to legend, the gods sent a family of dragons to defend Vietnam from invaders. These dragons spat out jewels and jade, which grew into the islands you see today. These islands rose up like a wall that the invaders crashed upon. With the battle won, the dragons decided to stay and enjoy the scenic vistas. Who can blame them?

Dragonfly Cruise Tours and Stays

To truly experience the beauty and majesty of Ha Long's towering, stone isles, book yourself a Ha Long Bay Cruise.

There are a variety of companies to choose from in Ha Long Bay, but my recommendation is Dragonfly Cruise. Whether you want a short day tour, a full day with water sports, or a few days aboard a luxury ship, Dragonfly gives you options. No matter which option you choose, you are sure to get a friendly and knowledgeable guide. They make it their duty to ensure you learn and enjoy as much as you can from the trip.

Ha Long Bay Cruise Itinerary

Ha Long Bay features thousands of limestone islands that have developed into towering pillars over the course of millions of years. Take a Ha Long Bay cruise to truly experience it all.

Having selected a private tour with Dragonfly, my day started with a pickup at my hotel in Hanoi. The drive to Ha Long Bay in the Hai Phong Province is a quick two and a half hour drive. So it’s a perfect day trip for anyone staying in Hanoi like me.

Since we made great time on the road, we had time to stop at a pearl farm. There we learned the secret to reliably farming pearls and what makes them so special. This stop also provided a great opportunity to purchase authentic pearls. Although high-quality jewelry is always expensive, the prices at the pearl farm were far below anything you’d find at a store in America.

At noon, the actual cruise began. We set off into the sea and watched as the massive isles of stone rose before us. Our tour guide told us about the local legends and the geological history. However, it was hard to focus with such stunning sights all around.

Before long, a small boat with an adorable puppy pulled up next to our own. They sold fresh seafood, including mantis shrimp, oysters, squid, and more. We bought a small selection from the fisherman, and the cruise incorporated it into a Vietnamese fusion lunch. Although I had some amazing food in Hanoi, the fresh seafood made for one of my absolute favorite meals in Vietnam.

With the towering pillars of Ha Long Bay all around us, the guide pointed out some of his favorite formations. He seemed to have a story for every rock. This one was a dog, that one was two chickens kissing, and so on. Maybe I lack the imagination, but to me they all just looked like rocks. Even so, it’s refreshing to spend time with someone that sees a story in every little thing.

Around this time, the cruise usually plans for a trip on the water in kayaks or bamboo boats. On one of these, you can explore Ha Long Bay’s hidden sea caves and lagoons. Although my tour group opted out of this, getting out there in a kayak is a great way to experience the bay’s unique ecosystem. You might even see some local coral reefs and sea creatures.

An absolute must on the Ha Long Bay Cruise is a guided tour of Thien Cung Cave. Thien Cung means “heavenly palace,” and you’ll see why. Over the course of millions of years, the cave developed breathtaking stalagmite and stalactite formations. It’s one thing to see a photo, but it’s another thing in person when you can see the scale of the place yourself. The limestone creations are so grand and so old. It really makes you feel small, but in a good way!

Thien Cung means heavenly palace. The cave is called this way because of its dramatic limestone formations and massive size, which developed over millions of years.

As the boat brought us back to the docks, we took our final photos and said our goodbyes to the majestic, stone islands. Ha Long Bay is an incredible location with plenty to see. If you want to explore more, Dragonfly Cruise offers longer tours with stops like Titop Beach or Supring Cave, the largest cave in Ha Long Bay. But whatever you choose to do, you should definitely make the journey.

More Adventures in Vietnam

The Huc Bridge, also known as the Red Bridge, is an iconic sight to see in Vietnam. It connects the bank of Hoan Kiem Lake to the sacred Buddhist Ngoc Son Temple.

If you’re thinking about a Ha Long Bay cruise, you may want to explore the other attractions in the area. Hanoi is the best place to start. As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is full of history, culture, and exciting things to do. And if you’re a food lover, you won’t be disappointed by Hanoi’s culinary scene.


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