Ha Long’s wooden junks
Five years ago, traditional wooden boats had all but disappeared from Ha Long Bay. In their place, a flotilla of converted fishing boats ferried the growing number of visitors attracted by Bay’s recently acquired World Heritage status. Since then, Vietnamese entrepreneurs have invested in recreating traditional wooden junks based on the model of the old Vietnamese court vessels, with sails, a wide transom and rectangular superstructure. Today, the number of such vessels has increased to several dozen.
Although it is doubtful that junks ever sailed on the waters of Ha Long Bay in the past, they complement the striking scenery perfectly and provide a comfortable, largely eco-friendly mode of transport for visitors.
The itineraries are chosen carefully to combine the best elements from the busy World Heritage Area with the equally beautiful, but much less visited, islands, caves and beaches to the south and east.
There will be opportunities to swim, fish, and explore some of the islands. Kayaking can be arranged for people that wish to get closer views of the islands. For the more adventurous, a trip in a small ‘basket’ boat through a series of low sea-level caves into an inland lake is both exciting and fascinating.
An overnight stay on the Bay is often the highlight of the tour for many of our customers. The Bay at night takes on a magical quality – sitting under the stars with only the gentle lapping of the waves and the occasional cry of an owl to break the silence creates a feeling of oneness with nature. If the weather is kind, the Ha Long sunsets and sunrises are a sublime experience.
For your two-day Ha Long excursion, you'll board one of the best quality boats on the Bay. They vary in size, accommodating between ten and eighteen people, so you're likely to be joining other travellers for this part of your holiday. It is possible to charter the entire vessel and crew, but this would only be economically viable for sizeable groups.
Your cabin will be about six metres square, and furnished with twin bunks, two fans, an air-conditioner, pillows, white cotton sheets, and an en suite toilet and shower. All your meals, usually based on fresh seafood, will be provided on board.
We only use licensed boats, because they have to meet stringent standards of safety and security. Some operators use unlicensed, and therefore cheaper, craft. This is risky not only from the safety issue, but also because they have to moor away from the official area patrolled by waterborne patrols during the night.