Your Guide To Sleeping On A Junk Boat in Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam

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Looking for a great experience that lets you go to sleep and wake up in one of the most iconic settings in the world? We have your guide to sleeping on a junk boat in Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam.

For us, this is an item we consider a not to miss experience while in Vietnam.

How To Get To Lan Ha Bay (Cat Ba Island)

From Hanoi, you can arrange transportation to Cat Ba, the largest island in Ha Long Bay. A bus will pick you up at 7am and take you to a ferry terminal. From a bus to a ferry to another bus, you’ll arrive in the “city center” of Cat Ba.

All in all, expect it to take 5-6 hours to get from Hanoi to Cat Ba island.

Booking Your Overnight Trip In Lan Ha Bay

An outdoor adventure company called Asia Outdoors is located on the island of Cat Ba and that is who you should book your “sleeping on a junk boat in Lan Ha Bay” experience with.

Asia Outdoors is located right in the center of town close to the main ferry terminal. They offer a lot of other tours like kayaking and deep soloing if you’d like to add another activity onto your overnight experience in Lan Ha Bay.

Asia Outdoors only operate the overnight trip from April – December. The pricing structure is as follows…

  • 1 person = 2,300,000 VND each
  • 2 people = 1,300,000 VND each
  • 3+ People: 990,000 VND each

What To Pack For Your Overnight Stay On A Junk Boat

Now, you may be curious what to pack when you spend the night on a Junk Boat in the bay?

Well, here is what we had in our bags. We only brought a small day bag with us and stored our larger bag back at the Asia Outdoors office.

In our small bag we had packed…

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Toilet paper
  • Eye mask
  • Long sleeve shirt and pants (pajamas)
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Headlamp
  • Jacket
  • Face Wash
  • Bug Repellent

About The Overnight Stay On A Junk Boat In Lan Ha Bay

We met at Asia Outdoors office, located in the city center of Cat Ba around 5:00pm. From here, we were taken by taxi to the docks where our Junk Boat was waiting! What is a Junk Boat you ask? Well, take a look below. That’s the babe in all her glory.

Once we boarded the boat, we met the captain and headed off into the Bay to catch the sunset. You know the moment when you’ve looked at pictures long enough and then the picture turns into real life and how overwhelming and amazing that feeling is? Well, yeah, all of that and more for this boat ride.

We’ll never forget the moment we sat top deck, cruising straight into the bay seeing those limestone Karst erupt for the sea. Something so insanely beautiful should be seen by everyone.

The sunsets, and we head below deck to grab some dinner. The captain cooked us a delicious meal of fish, rice, tofu, and morning glory. After meal, we all had a few beers and talked with the other fellow travelers that were on the boat with us.

While we were all talking, a girl that was on the boat with us noticed the captain was fishing off the side of the boat.

We get up to see what he is fishing for, and he was fishing for squid! All of us thinking this is so cool and were memorized by watching him, he offered us a try! “Hell yes”, we all said!

We’re not joking when we say we spent the rest of the night determined to catch as many squid as possible. Each of us taking turns to see who could catch the most squid in a few minutes. Something so simple and so memorable, especially for Jesse when he got inked on his face!

After we had our fill of fishing, we headed to the top deck to settle in for the night. We grabbed padded mats, a pillow and a blanket and laid them out.

Laying down for the night seeing the silhouettes of the karsts and listening to the sounds of the was the best lullaby you could have given us.

Waking Up in Lan Ha Bay

We wake up to sunrise in the bay and drifted in and out of sleep until it was time for breakfast. A really slow and welcomed morning. For breakfast, we had some eggs, fruit and bread as well as coffee and tea.

We pack up our sleeping areas and head back into port to drop off the folks that aren’t spending the day kayaking with us in Lan Ha Bay and picking up those who are. After we dropped off our old crew, we pick up the others and off we go again, back into the beautiful Bay.

How Was Sleeping On A Junk Boat in Lan Ha Bay

Now, a junk boat may not sound super comfortable and there are far more comfortable and luxurious options, but for us, the junk boat was perfect.

We never went hungry, the food was tasty, the sleeping arrangements were actually extremely pleasant with soft mats laid out on the top deck giving us a great view.

The captain was very kind and tried to make us as comfortable as possible. As for our guide from Asia Outdoors, he was great! Overall, we’d recommend this to anyone. It was such a great and memorable experience!

How often can you say you slept on a boat in Vietnam?


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For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstus and on Facebook. Oh and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!

Happy Travels,

– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)

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One Comment

  1. The Ha Long Bay Area is a large area in South East Asia that’s a UNESCO heritage site for its limestone hills in the waters.

    The limestone hills, like the hills of Guilin in China, are the main attraction of the area that are best observed from the waters.

    I can’t imagining spending a whole night outdoors, on a boat, without electrical charge slots – cameras, phones, laptop gear. However, when done efficiently, I think you can save enough battery charge for night, charge via battery power bank at night, and in time for the new day, in the morning!

    I’d say carry a battery power bank along, just in case you need to re-charge your devices at sea!

    Is there any way to climb those limestone hills, can you land there? I’ve never heard people write about that before.

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