This post was written by Lauren, one of our Travel Expert Contributors!
There’s no better way to see the stunning islands of Bai Tu Long Bay than on a cruise. Far off the beaten path of the typical tourist traps of Southeast Asia, these Vietnamese landscapes are indescribably beautiful.
Making my way through its fishing villages, caves, and dramatic shorelines, I explored this corner of Vietnam with a local, luxury cruise.
Here’s my experience cruising Bai Tu Long Bay on Dragon Legend Cruise.
Cruising Bai Tu Long Bay
While some cruises feel touristy and disconnected from the local culture, the Dragon Legend Cruise was the total opposite. Less traveled than the main Ha Long Bay, this Bai Tu Long Bay cruise shows off hidden gems we would have never stumbled across on our own.
We opted for the 3 days, 2 nights cruise!
At the start of our adventure, they picked us up from the Hanoi Old Quarter in a luxury van and took us over to Hon Gai Harbor. The first order of business was kayaking through the breathtaking Karst Mountains then making our way back to the ship to spend the night at Bai Tu Long Bay.
The next morning, we arrived at the Vung Vieng fishing village and explored by rowboat before heading over to the Thien Canh Son cave system. That night, the Dragon Legend Cruise wound back through the Karst Mountains and onward to the Dong Trieu province to visit a traditional Vietnamese agricultural village.
Dragon Legend Luxury Boats
Luxurious yet featuring a totally distinct Vietnamese style, each Dragon Legend boat has four decks with both inside and outside restaurants, a spa, fitness center, bar, and sundeck area.
While this intimate ship is dwarfed by the oversized liners of the Mediterranean and Caribbean, it has everything that you need for a comfortable stay.
Each Dragon Legend boat features 24 luxury cabins. While the pics looked nice online, I was blown away by how impressive they were in person. With handmade art from different regions of Vietnam, these oversized rooms are full of luxe touches.
The bathrooms are perfect for long, vacation night baths. Fill them up, grab a drink, and watch the world pass by the window while you soak.
It’s impossible to be bored on a Dragon Legend Cruise. They have a range of activities available so you can just pick and choose what you like to do, all at your own pace.
You can start the day with Tai Chi or just relax with a cup of coffee on the deck while you take in the view. One of the unforgettable aspects of the trip for us was the daily kayaking excursions. We explored the amazing bay and surrounding caves for some extraordinary sights.
Another thing we loved was learning about the local culture at Vung Vieng fishing village and a local pearl farm. As the final adventure, we got to watch a renowned water puppet show, which is a Vietnamese tradition.
Helpful Tip: Be sure to bring a waterproof camera for kayaking! The views are truly once-in-a-lifetime and you’ll definitely want to snap some shots.
The Food & Drink
It’s authentic Vietnamese cuisine all day, every day- need I say more? The food was ultra-fresh and they offer a good variety. Always important, the Dragon Legend Cruise is good at accommodating dietary restrictions so just let them know what you need and they’ll make sure you’re well-fed.
On day two, we had a great beach BBQ with fresh seafood, veggie treats, and other classic grilled dishes.
About Dragon Legend
The Dragon Legend Cruise is part of the famous Indochina Junk company. These guys are seriously dedicated to conservation and eco-travel, which has become more and more important as the bay sees more tourism.
Indochina Junk works with locals to preserve the environment and educates their guests throughout the cruise.
While we were out in our kayaks, they encouraged us to pick up any trash that we saw. We loved it, and it was cool to see a company that was going above and beyond to keep Vietnam gorgeous.