Halong Bay is another one of those picture perfect, ‘must visit’ destinations in Vietnam. About a 3 hour drive out of Hanoi, Halong Bay is known for it’s vast spread of thousands of limestone islands, topped with rainforest. It really is quite something once you’re out on the water and that’s all you can see around you. Very Pirates of the Caribbean!
We definitely splurged a little bit on this part of trip. Mostly due to the horror stories I’d heard about some of the cheaper operators. But it was so worth it, the trip was perfect from start to finish.
On the morning that we were due to embark on our cruise, we were told we were going to be picked up in a luxury minibus. But if there’s one thing we learnt after travelling Asia for a couple of months, it’s that you take the word ‘luxury’ with a pinch of salt. Their standards are just totally different than what we are used to. But this minibus was luxury! We were laughing because it was the most unnecessarily plush thing we’d ever seen. And so off we went, in our reclining armchairs, for our 3 hour drive out to the bay. Leaving the wonderful chaos of Hanoi behind.
We weren’t blessed with bright blue sunny skies for our Halong Bay trip. But the overcast skies and mist brought a eery and mysterious feel that was still an experience. Two days were spent cruising around and taking in the scenery, with our night in between spent tucked away in a sheltered cove of the bay.
We ventured into caves and participated in late night squid fishing. Which let me tell you, is nearly impossible! Took a light night dip in the salt water pool on the top deck. Which doesn’t close, because, it’s Vietnam! (Read: regulations don’t exist). We were surrounded by the lights of other boats twinkling in the distance, which was just magical. And finally slept in the most marshmallow-like bed I’ve ever come across. Seriously! I wanted to stay another night, just for the bed!
If you’re wondering, we opted to travel with Indochina Junk, on their Dragon Legend 2 boat. And we were so pleased with our choice. The most wonderful staff made our stay so enjoyable. Not to mention the seemingly endless set menus for dinner. And although my pictures are all a bit grey and gloomy, I still had the most amazing time in Halong Bay. The area is so surreal and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Let me know if you’ve ever been to Halong Bay, or if you plan to! I would love to know if you enjoyed it (and if you managed to get sunny skies for your trip!).