Ah, beautiful Halong Bay! One of the most popular destinations in Vietnam. And with merit. Its beauty and majestic looks are undeniable.
We couldn’t have crossed Vietnam from South to North without visiting it, so that’s what we did. We jumped on board (sorry the pun) and started our trip at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World!
First off, we bought our cruise deal in Hanoi and were picked up at our hotel in the morning. After catching everyone on the way and with a full minibus, we made our way to Halong Bay, which takes approximately 4 hours.
NOTE: there are plenty (and we mean it) of options when it comes to these cruises. It all depends on how much you can afford and what exactly do you want to do. We chose for a low-medium range 3 day (2 nights) cruise. All inclusive (but drinks) we paid AU$179 each. We had 2-3 star accommodation with all meals paid for plus transfers.
As we arrived at the port, you can see how crazy busy this destination is, no wonder. Even from the port you can catch a glimpse of the stunning sandstone cliffs and rocks that seem to emerge from the bottom of the ocean.
As our guide calls us to board, we take our luggage and are made to wait before getting the keys to our rooms. We sit and get familiarised with the other fellow passengers as we already seamlessly merge into the scenery.
As we sit waiting for lunch, we struggle to believe our eyes. The cliffs seems to float mindlessly and we can’t see anything but clusters of rock.
After lunch, we are quickly moved to a smaller boat which takes us to the Surprising Cave. We get an introduction not believing much what could be so surprising inside a rock. How naïve… We proceed to enter a cave which at first seems small and not any different for any other, however when we move inside, a jaw-dropping area opens up in front of us. Lit up with colourful lights and with a careful way sealed in front of us, we proceed to walk through the ‘rock’ and admire its grandeur. No pics could make justice, so I guess, you’ll have to check it with your own eyes.
Off to the little boat again which this time takes us to a kayaking tour. We get our own kayak and set to explore around. It’s cold but the views surely make it worth. The water turns from green to blue and back to green all the time as we go around a gigantic rock. It’s a beautiful way to see the bay in a different perspective.
It’s almost dark and the clouds block the sun from presenting us with a sunset, but it’s fine. We’ve seen enough beauty today.
On the early morning of the next day, we are greeted and asked to join the crew for breakfast. Half of us will continue the journey and some will leave. We prepare to leave our room but before, we visit a pearl farm where we can see all the process of growing and harvesting a pearl.
We now, leave the main boat and are taken to a smaller one which will takes us for the rest of the journey. Our destination is Cat Ba Island. A small islet that belongs to the Halong province. Before however, we cruise along the ocean for an hour before we reach close to a deserted beach. A few of us jump in the freezing water to explore the golden spot. The sun finally comes out and we can relax and enjoy the peaceful spot. But first, a pic:
Next off, we head to Monkey Island. And as we approach we can definitely feel we are not alone. Plenty of residents await us eager for treats. Some are actually quite aggressive so we stay away and decide to explore. Heading east there’s a hill where we climb without too much care and find a beautiful spot to snap a photo of the awe-inspiring views.
It’s close to 3pm and we now head to Cat Ba island. As we near our destination, we spy the floating village where the locals live peacefully. Even the dogs seem to enjoy the life on a bamboo raft.
Already in Cat Ba, we are settled for another night and head off to explore the Canon Viewpoint, an advantageous area at the top of the hill where Vietnamese soldiers offered resistance to the cause. Even this piece of paradise suffered the horrors of war.
The views once again don’t disappoint and we take some time to admire the beauty nature took so long to build. The sun sets shy behind the clouds leaving us wishing we could stay just a little longer.
Our last night in Halong Bay goes smooth and quickly and once again we are back at the boat to return to land. First, we change boats and get back on the bigger cruise ‘ship’. Back at the table for a quick class on how to make and savour fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
Full from lunch and already nostalgic our time in Halong Bay seemed shorter than we expected, we return to shore.
TL;DR? Watch our video and let us know what you think! Have you visited Halong Bay? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!
Larissa & Jean