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As travel enthusiasts, we’re always in search of unique and captivating destinations that offer a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness and luxury experiences. My recent trip to Vietnam checked off all those boxes and more. Among a myriad of colorful adventures, I had the opportunity to cruise Lan Ha Bay, a hidden paradise just waiting to be discovered by the discerning traveler, on the most authentic luxury ship in the area—the Heritage Line’s Ylang.

Lan Ha Bay
The author and family member enjoying the scenery. (Photo credit: Mayra Bazavilvazo)

Why Lan Ha Bay?
Nestled in the Gulf of Tonkin, Lan Ha Bay is the lesser-known part of the three bays in the area. Renowned for its pristine emerald waters, towering limestone karsts and secluded sandy beaches, it offers a serene alternative to the busier neighboring Halong Bay. Halong Bay has been a UNESCO World Heritage site for over 30 years and is recognized as one of the new seven wonders of the world, and as such is home to a total of 500 vessels that carry tourists to explore its wonders. Meanwhile, Lan Ha Bay, which shares a practically imaginary border with Halong has the good fortune of hosting only 60 vessels. Unlike the bustling crowds of Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay exudes a sense of tranquility and seclusion, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the unspoiled beauty of this natural paradise. Cruising through the calm waters surrounded by towering limestone cliffs covered in lush greenery, one feels a sense of peace and wonder that is hard to find in today’s fast-paced world.

The Unforgettable Ylang
My journey to this enchanting destination was made even more unforgettable aboard Heritage Line’s exquisite Ylang ship. As my family and I stepped on board this luxurious vessel, we were immediately struck by its elegant design, blending traditional Indochine Vietnamese elements with modern amenities to create a sophisticated and comfortable ambiance. Most newer ships in the area are modern mega-yachts that can easily be found anywhere in the world, yet the Ylang is truly unique and speaks to a bygone era of Vietnamese style and beauty. Its design and décor transports guests to a time when travel was an art form. The Ylang is not just a means of transportation; it is a destination in itself, offering unique and unforgettable experiences for those seeking a truly exceptional voyage.

Lan Ha Bay
Stateroom décor transports guests to a time when travel was an art form. (Photo credit: Mayra Bazavilvazo)

The attention to detail and impeccable service on board the Ylang are second to none. Every aspect of our stay was thoughtfully curated to ensure maximum comfort and delight. The food is not only delicious and authentic but also beautifully presented, offering a true taste of Vietnamese culinary excellence. Each meal is a feast for the senses, with flavors that are rich, vibrant and deeply satisfying.

Lan Ha Bay
Enjoying the onboard cuisine. (Photo credit: Mayra Bazavilvazo)

The Ylang hosts 1- and 2-night itineraries, although I highly recommend two nights if the itinerary allows. The experience is simply too unique to rush. Heritage Line will organize direct roundtrip tranfers from your client’s hotel in Hanoi and/or the Hanoi airport in a luxury limousine vehicle or minivan. You can rest assured that your clients will be treated to a true five-star adventure from start to finish. For those traveling with children, rest assured that Heritage Line demonstrates a profound consideration for families, offering connecting rooms and various amenities and activities tailored for children. This thoughtful approach ensures that every member of the family, regardless of age, can enjoy a memorable and enriching experience.

Culture, Fun & Relaxation While Sailing Lan Ha Bay

Are your clients interested in immersing themselves in the local culture? The Ylang offers a range of enriching experiences that showcase the traditions and heritage of Vietnam. From cooking classes where guests can learn to prepare authentic Vietnamese dishes to tea-tasting ceremonies where one can dive deeper into Vietnamese traditions. Every moment on board the Ylang is an opportunity to further understand this fascinating destination, and all experiences are included.

Lan Ha Bay
Kayaking in the bay is one of many adventure options. (Photo credit: Mayra Bazavilvazo)

The area of Lan Ha Bay also offers a wealth of activities for adventurous souls. Kayaking through the hidden caves and lagoons of the bay allowed us to get up close and personal with the unique rock formations and diverse marine life that call this place home. Additionally, the ship organizes tours to explore Cat Ba Island, home to the critically endangered Cat Ba Langur, providing a deeper dive into the local landscape. For even more of a thrill, your clients can choose to swim and jump from the ship into the clear, warm waters of the bay.

For relaxation, the Ylang provides a perfect vantage point to take in the breathtaking scenery of Lan Ha Bay. From the spacious sun deck or your private balcony, you can watch the sun dip below the horizon, painting the sky in a palette of vibrant colors and casting a magical glow over the limestone formations. It’s simply magical to witness such natural beauty in all its splendor. Oh, and make sure to tell your clients to have the staff draw them an herbal bath one night; there’s nothing like enjoying a relaxing bath with a floor-to-ceiling view, as the ship sails off at the end of the day. The ship also boasts an onboard spa, which is a haven of tranquility. The skilled therapists provide a range of treatments designed to rejuvenate both body and mind, making it the perfect retreat after a day of exploration.

Passionate About Conservation
Moreover, the Ylang’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its operations. The ship employs eco-friendly practices for their waste management, elimination of single-use plastics on board, and a state-of-the-art water treatment technology to minimize its environmental impact, ensuring that the pristine beauty of Lan Ha Bay remains unspoiled for future generations. This dedication to preserving the natural environment adds a layer of conscientiousness to the luxurious experience, allowing guests to enjoy their voyage with peace of mind.

As a brand, Heritage Line considers itself more of an artisan and curator of remarkable journeys, rather than a simple provider of cruises, and it’s evident throughout every minute of one’s journey with them. The combination of stunning landscapes, luxurious accommodations, impeccable service and a commitment to sustainability makes a trip aboard the Ylang an unforgettable adventure. Whether your clients are seeking relaxation, cultural enrichment or family-friendly activities, Lan Ha Bay and the Ylang will offer them an unparalleled travel experience.

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This story originally appeared in, a family travel website created to inspire families with kids to expand their idea of adventures. You can follow the adventures of the Bazavilvazo family @worldstompers on Instagram and The Worldstompers on Facebook.

For more of @worldstompers’ travels to far-flung destinations, click here.