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My Cruise to Halong Bay

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Table of contents

  1. Day 1
  2. Day 2
  3. Day 3

Halong Bay, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site is a popular tourist destination Vietnam. Being one of the most breathtaking travel destinations and a must travel place in my bucket list, I finally toured the Halong Bay last week.

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For my Halong Bay Dream Cruise, I booked the 3 days – 2 nights tour package. The cost of the all-inclusive trip was $250 for meals, entry fees, accommodation and hotel transfers. Although there are cheap cruise options for as low as $100 for a 3-day tour, I opted for a more costly trip because I have heard stories of how some cruise passengers didn’t get food and had to share beds after booking a budget cruise. After booking for my trip at Hanoi Airport, I headed to my hotel room for an overnight rest.

Day 1

I left my hotel room around 8 AM to Tuan Chau Port where my cruise was to depart from. I arrived at the port after about four hours and after checking in, I was offered some refreshments by the cruise’s staff as we waited to board. I was anxious and excited because the Halong Bay Dream Cruise is something that I had always wanted to experience. After around 15 minutes, the cruise’s staff welcomed everybody on board. The boarding ceremony was one exciting experience which involved traditional drums and flags. This was one of those first-time experiences for me and I found myself nodding to the drum beats! After being shown our suites, we gathered back for a safety briefing which was followed by an early lunch. I sat next to a couple from South Africa who were on honeymoon and interacted with them as we enjoyed our five course meal.

Overall, we were 30 passengers and 5 members of staff including the boat’s director. Our first stop was at Sung Sot Cave in Bo-Hon Island. We all had to disembark from our boat into smaller boats in order to explore the cave. Note that I didn’t have to pay for an entry ticket since all the tour expenses are included while booking. The Sung Sot cave is a world renowned cave and it’s the most popular cave in Halong Bay. One of the members of the cruise team served as our guide. The cave is a spectacular geographical site thanks to its formation and large limestones, stalagmites and stalactites. We spent around 30 minutes inside the cave and although I wish we could stay in for a bit longer, there were other tour groups awaiting in line. We got back to our cruise, relaxed and enjoyed some refreshments before I changed into my swimwear and went to Kayak. While other passengers opted for a boat ride to Soi Sim beach or chose to remain inside, the honeymoon couple and I opted to Kayak ride to the beach. It was fun and thrilling and we spotted several monkeys playing with each other on the sandy beach. I love monkeys but I was too scared to get close to them so I just took some snaps of them. By the time we got back to our cruise, it was late in the afternoon and after an hour of refreshments we were served dinner. I mingled with a few more passengers before heading to my room.

One of the things I loved about this Halong Bay Dream Cruise is not only was it a relaxing, exploring and learning tour for me, it was also an interactive place where I engaged with people from various walks of life. The boat’s cabins are well furnished and each passenger had a private hot tub, DVD Player, hot water, sugar, coffee as well as comfy beddings. I took a hot shower and because I was too tired from the day’s activity, I decided to sleep while playing some cool refreshing RnBs.

Day 2

I woke up at 7.00 AM took a quick shower and headed upstairs for breakfast buffet which consisted of milk, yogurt, white tea, coffee, scrambled eggs, oranges, hot rice, bread, meat among others. My Halong Bay Dream Cruise continued after breakfast as we got into small boats and headed into the fishing village of Vung Vieng. The village consists of about 200 fishing families who reside in the about 50 residences. The fishing villages in Halong bay are about four and the fishing communities who reside here make a living through fishing, government aid as well as tourism. After getting out of our boats, we were split into groups of five people and each group got into a traditional row-boat. We paddled around Vung Vieng village as we explored the nearby limestone islands while learning the daily lives the village inhabitants. After two hours of rowing around, we got back to our cruise. Note that the Halong Bay Dream Cruise comes in multiple packages and different passengers had booked different packages. Apart from the 3-day/2-nights tour that I had booked, some passengers had booked the 2-day/ 1-night tour and they therefore had to start packing while they waited for another boat that would take them back to the port. We were served another five-course meal for lunch. Thereafter, we prepared for the Cat Ba Island trip while the other passengers (around ten) left.

Cat Ba Island is a busy tourist Island with beautiful spectacular views. For some fun adventures, I rented a bike and enjoyed some morning biking around the Cat Ba National Park before we all went for a cave trek in the jungle. Although we didn’t get to see the rarely sighted and endangered Cat Ba Langur, we came across bats, horses, goats, birds, water buffalo and even spiders! We headed back to our boat thereafter and I opted to relax in my cabin for the rest of the afternoon while taking some photos of the island and other cruising boats from the cabin window. Since this was going to be the last dinner during the trip, the cruise staff prepared an amazing dinner and all the dining tables were filled with mouthwatering sea food, salads, fruits, vegetables, rice, meat, fruit drinks and desserts. After dinner, we had a happy hour during which I had a little chat with the honeymoon couple. Thereafter, I went for some Spa massage before I headed to bed. Although my trip had be fun, relaxing and engaging, I was also sad that my Halong Bay Dream Cruise was almost coming to an end.

Day 3

I woke up around 6:00 am and went for the morning Tai Chi session. After finishing the session I headed back to my cabin for a long relaxed bath before going for breakfast at 7:30 am. Day three’s breakfast time was fun because the staff taught us how to prepare different types of tea, who to serve them and what to serve them with. We were also shown how to steer the boat and what to do in case the boat fails in the middle of a cruise. As much as I wanted to extend my trip, it had now come to an end. We cruised through the remaining part of Halong Bay before heading back to the port. We arrive at Tuan Chau Pier at around midday.

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My Halong Bay Dream Cruise had come to an end and I had to say goodbye to this spectacular bay. The sights and Islands around the bay, the activities and the fishing villages are the best experiences I’ve had in my life and if you are thinking of a place to tour, then take a trip to the Halong Bay.

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