My husband and I booked the Princess Junk IV– a single cabin junk — for a 3 night cruise that was probably the best experience we had during our trip through Asia. The boat was in good condition and our room was comfortable with a/c and a modern ensuite bathroom. Our guide and crew were amazing, putting a lot of care into the excursions, meals, and overall experience. Since we were the only guests on the boat, they really tailored the trip to our needs and also gave us a lot of privacy.

Our fishing trip with a few locals from the Cong Dam village was very memorable. The locals from this village are genuine and hospitable, and at no time did we feel uncomfortable or obliged to do/buy anything. We also really enjoyed BBQ lunch on the beach and candle-lit dinner in the cave. Our chef was talented, and we were always spoiled with a five course meal. Overall, the experience was excellent. Bai Tu Long Bay is definitely cleaner and less touristy than other parts of Ha Long Bay, and unless you are dying to see the caves, it is a far more pleasant area.

Our only complaint was the drive from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay. We requested a private car rather than use the company shuttle and ended up with a driver who was very unprofessional and aggressive about stopping off for lunch at an obvious tourist trap. It didn’t ruin our trip, but it was definitely an unpleasant start. (Note: if you do stop at this place, there are at least nice, clean facilities for use)

By Kimly – New York City, New York