Ha Long Bay.
After our two day hike in Sapa and the busy streets of Hanoi, we were ready to sit back and relax in the beautiful waters of Ha Long Bay. Having arranged to store our bags at our cruise’s offices while we were away on the hike, we arrived into the train station of Hanoi in the early morning. Hanoi at 6am is a whole different world, the usually busy streets are pretty much empty and only a handful of truly local places were open. Looking for a place for breakfast was a bit of a challenge but we managed to find an incredible Bahn Mi, being cooked in a portable stove on the side of the pavement. It was delicious, especially at that time of the morning.
When the time came, we boarded the mini bus and made our four hour journey to the coast. There was a short break in the middle for a quick toilet stop and souvenirs, but in no time, you will be at the sunny bay of Ha Long. We booked the Treasure Junk, an old school wooden boat that serves a small group of tourists mainly. On arrival, you are warmly welcomed with a cold refreshing beverage and a safety demonstration before heading off with the sails down. The room was luxurious and large with plenty of space and a great sea view.
Lunch was served shortly, a large menu of food – plenty of delicious seafood!
The optional activity in the afternoon was a bit of kayaking and swimming. The kayak journey was long but nothing like the one we did at Dubrovnik. The waters were much calmer and the scenery just as beautiful! Before you know it, you will arrive at the hidden beach, where you park your kayaks and dip into the refreshing waters for a nice swim. It was a secluded beach just for us!
Back on board and a quick shower before we were given a cooking demonstration and offered to make our own spring rolls! Dinner was served shortly after – another large meal of incredibly fresh food!
The post dinner activity was squid fishing! We were lucky enough to have caught one in the darkness! It was such a nice and relaxing way to wind down to the long day!
Early risers will love seeing the sunrise from the decks while doing a bit of group yoga! A perfect way to start the day. Sunshine and exercise!
We had a light breakfast before jumping on a little boat to visit the pearl farms. This was quite an adventure as we boarded these little wooden boats and were paddled onto the calm waters. Very Jurassic park like! It was pretty cool seeing the water villages and how people live.
Our final event before heading back to the shore was a feast of a lunch! They definitely over feed you but the food was just so fresh and yum! You will be snoozing away in your bus ride back to Hanoi!
All in all
Ha Long Bay is a definite must for anyone visiting Northern Vietnam. It’s just such a beautiful area and so relaxing to enjoy the views and gorgeous waters. The staff looks after you so well, it’s a real pleasure! Well worth the extra bit of cash to splurge on this. You will probably only do it once! This cruise gave us the much needed rest for the last leg of our Vietnam adventure to Hoi An (blog to come!)
Also published on Medium.