Vietnam plays host to two very different main cruising locations, the most famous of which is Ha Long Bay, one of the world’s most visually stunning ocean topographies, a vast and beautiful chain of towering islets rising from the sea, presenting a unique oceanographic habitat reflected in some of its rare plant and animal species.

There are a host of vessels which cruise this extraordinary seascape, ranging from colonial style paddle steamers to a variety of modern and sometimes luxurious twists upon the traditional teakwood junk style of craft, which lend themselves well to enhancing the fantasy feel of the whole experience. Some of these vessels are quite large, capable of carrying many passengers, whilst others offer a more intimate or even wholly private cruise.

Most cruises to Ha Long Bay are of 2-3 days in duration, but private vessels can be obtained for longer journeys. Those seeking a luxury alternative to the usual overland transfer can take a seaplane flight from Hanoi, for an overflight of the bay to enhance the experience before embarking on their cruise.

Vietnam’s other cruising highlight is the Mekong River Delta, where a variety of variously sized, but typically long river vessels, explore the floating markets and villages of this abundant teeming agricultural marvel. This is iconic Vietnam, resplendent with the archetypal conical hats, full of sampans, farmers, numerous crafts and fisher folk, all busily mingling in colourful swirls upon the shoreline and complex waterways.

The typical duration of cruises in the Delta area range from 1-3 days but, with its origins in the high Tibetan Plateau this vast river system also offers the opportunity for longer river cruises, for a week or more upriver into Cambodia to Phnom Penh and further still via its tributary, the Tonle Sap River, to Siem Reap and the amazing monuments of Angkor, making it a leisurely alternative in either direction to air travel for those visiting both countries.