Ha Long Bay Cruises Vietnam

A great natural wonder in the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam, Ha Long Bay means `descending dragon’ according to Vietnamese legend. It is also part of the legend that the incredible landscape was created by that dragon spitting out jewels and jade into the sea which formed the islands that now make Ha Long Bay justifiably famous.

By any definition Ha Long Bay is a spectacular place. Formed as early as 500 million years ago, the craggy karst limestone islets were carved by wind and water, but for most of their history these steep hills were located solidly on land. It has only been during the past few thousand years, particularly since the end of the last ice age, that the sea has risen to make it watery wonderland as we know it today.

There are 1600 limestone islands and islands dotting the bay today in clusters called fengcong, which are conical peaks, and fenclin, the isolated tower features. Because of their height and steep sides, most of the islands are, leaving them in pristine condition and virtually unchanged by human use.

To fully appreciate and enjoy Ha Long Bay you need to be out on the water sailing between the islands.

Indochina travel specialist Trails of Indochina has three wooden junks which gently cruise the waters of the Bay allowing passengers to enjoy the experience with a tinge of luxury.

Built in traditional style but with modern amenities, the vessels ply the waters at a gentle speed. One of the vessels, Ginger, has three decks and 10 luxurious cabins and embarks on a regular 2day/1 night cruise which includes a visit to Cua Van floating village, which is the largest community of the bay where even the school and the museum float.

The larger boat, Jasmine, does a similar cruise to Ginger. This vessel has 24 cabins and a spa. It is decorated in 1930s Indochine chic and makes for a glorious image once it’s two magnificent sails are full of breeze and gliding the boat around the bay.

The third boat in the fleet is Violet which has just six cabins and is the most luxurious of the three boats. Its voyage is longer than its compatriots and ventures further out into the bay, exploring some of the lesser visited islands.
All three cruises allow passengers plenty of time to admire the gorgeous scenery and the tranquillity of such a breath-taking place.

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