With thousands of limestone islands as far as the eyes can see, visiting Ha Long Bay is a must do activity in Vietnam! I was so excited about this portion of my trip and this blog post will be a review of the Dragon Legend Ha Long Bay Cruise. There are numerous operators to choose from, from the cheapest budget day trip option, to multi day luxury cruises. I wanted this to be a relaxing experience so I went with one of the most luxurious providers – Dragon Legend by Indochina Junk.
I picked a 3 day 2 night cruise but this same ship also does a 2 day 1 night option if you are in more of a time crunch. Unfortunately on the second day after lunch, my boat had to head back to port due to a storm so the trip was cut short. I would highly recommend though to pick the 3 day 2 night option as it gives you time to relax on board and enjoy the gorgeous scenery!
You can immediately spot the Dragon Legend in the Halong Bay waters due to its large size and modern exterior. I didn’t realize that many of the boats that go out are only day boats so there are no cabins and much smaller. On the Dragon Legend, there are two levels for sleeping, both above the water with generous size windows. On the third floor, there is an indoor dining area as well as an outdoor dining area.
Towards the front of the boat you’ll find a small pool with a few lounge chairs. But if you go up to the highest level, it’s a sundeck with over 20 lounge chairs! I wish I got to spend more time up here but I only discovered it on the second morning. All of the lounge chairs have umbrellas so you can be shaded from the sun. Overall, the decor felt upscale and modern.
The most impressive part about the Dragon Legend cruise are the cabins! There are 24 spacious cabins on board. Each of them has a king size bed, a sitting area, and bathroom worthy of Pinterest goals. I like that the decor draws from traditional Vietnamese art and culture but updated with modern furnishing.
You have a full size window from the bedroom AND the bathroom. So you can enjoy the beautiful views while soaking in the bathtub or enjoying the rainfall shower head. The bottom of the shower is also made out of this wood material that feels unique and elevates the experience.
Okay, I backtrack on my statement as I think the food might be the most impressive part about the Dragon Legend cruise! I took a look at the lunch menu and had a hard time deciding which main course I wanted. Little did I know, you don’t have to choose and you get EVERYTHING! There were so many delicious courses and best of all, I felt like I could eat raw veggies which I was really craving!
Drinks are not included in the price of the cruise and is about 63,000 VND (or $3 USD) per beer. Dinner was again, beyond my expectations! For both the lunch and dinner, I ate on the outdoor dining area. It was just magical to be among the islands enjoying wonderful food.
For breakfast on the 2nd day, it was a buffet style with a few live stations such as noodle soup and omelettes. Of course, you should try some Vietnamese coffee too! Lastly, there was a BBQ lunch on the beach. I was actually only okay with the grilled meat but they served the yummiest fried rice. Unfortunately I did not get to experience the second dinner or breakfast on the 3rd day as the boat headed back to port.
I love the variety of activities that are planned for the Dragon Legend cruise. If you are the type of traveler that do not like to follow the crowd, this is the perfect itinerary for you.
- Kayaking or Sightseeing on Tugboat: The first activity was kayaking in the Bai Tu Long Bay. It was really enjoyable for the first 15 minutes but then it was hot and hard work! Still very beautiful though to cruise through the emerald waters and enjoy the scenery close up! There were no other tour groups paddling nearby.
- Spring Roll Cooking Class: My favorite activity on the cruise was the spring roll cooking class! It wasn’t long but it was so well prepared! The ingredients looked fresh and making it was a fun group activity. Most of all, it tasted delicious!
- Squid Fishing: I honestly passed out after the 8 course dinner! But you can try your luck at squid fishing at night if you still have energy.
- Fishing Village Tour: The next morning, I went out to visit Vung Vieng Fishing Village. I really enjoyed this tour which had us seated in row boats guided and muscled by local women. It was really nice to see a small community living in and thriving in the natural environment.
- BBQ Lunch on the Beach: The last activity before turning back to port was enjoying a BBQ lunch on the beach. There is a short hike (not difficult at all) to a view point on the island, and a walk through a pretty impressive cave before we headed down to the beach.
I got picked up by the luxury van at 7:40am at my hotel in the Old Quarter in Hanoi. The van was very comfortable and spacious. On the way there, the van made a 30 minute stop at a large souvenir shop. I don’t really enjoy these types of stops as it’s produced by large scale, touristy, and often a rip off. However, there was no pressure to buy so at least you can just stretch your legs for a little.
A second thing that could be improved is that the transfer takes about 4 hours but there is actually a highway that will get you there in 2 hours. But since it charges tolls, the driver did not take the highway. Once you get dropped off at the port, you wait in the waiting area until all the other passengers on your cruise arrive and you’ll take a small boat to the actual Dragon Legend boat.
On the way home, the transfer was less than ideal as we had to wait for all of the Indochina Junk boats to return. We were taken taken back to the Old Quarters on a large bus. It was definitely not ideal but hopefully you’ll have better luck with the weather on your trip!
The cost of the cruise includes the transfers to Hanoi old quarters, all the meals on board, all the activities (except a tip we had to give to the fishing village), and the accommodation.
2 Days 1 Night cruise is $249 USD per person but $215 USD if booking <10 days or > 45 days
3 Days 2 Night cruise is $420 USD per person but $350 USD if booking <10 days or > 45 days
You can also visit Indochina Junk to view other cruising options.
Overall, I had a wonderful time and this was definitely the highlight of my Vietnam trip! I wish I could have stayed on board for longer but you can’t control weather! I’m really happy with the quality of all the services and food on board. I would highly recommend this cruise for anyone looking for a relaxing luxurious time in this UNESCO treasure.
I received a media discount for this cruise in exchange for media coverage