Ha Long Bay traditional junks
The last few years have seen a rapid increase of the number of 'traditional' wooden junks on Ha Long Bay. Most are modified cruise boats with two non-functional triangular sails added, but a few are purpose-built with comfortable cabins offering visitors the option of spending a night on board.
The best of these boats are as good as hotel accommodation on the mainland. At Haivenu, we use only good quality boats that comply with safety regulations and are fully licensed (many are not!)
There are two types. One is built on the lines of the ancient vessels of the Imperial Court. They have a wide beam with elaborate Chinese-style superstructure and a splayed stern. The other is more conventional, but has a sun deck. Both types are equipped with working sails, but the means of propulsion is a diesel engine.
The Court junk has two decks, the lower for accommodation and the upper floor taken up by a restaurant and kitchen. The more conventional junk is similar apart from the sun deck instead of the traditional superstructure.
Each type has between 8 to 12 cabins, each with air-conditioning, fans and an en-suite toilet and shower. Beds are comfortable rattan divans.
The restaurant also has rattan furniture. All meals - two lunches, a dinner and a breakfast - are served on board as a set menu, mostly based on seafood. Drinks are not included, but can be bought on board - prices are sensible.
The junks have a shallow draft, enabling them to approach and dock at the islands. A typical cruise will begin at noon, visit two or three islands and/or caves, stop for swimming, fishing, kayaking (at extra cost), etc., and return to the tourist wharf at lunchtime the following day.
If customers have a particular preference for a different course (time permitting and fellow-passengers agreeing), the captain is usually amenable to changing direction.