30.06.2016 – 02.07.2016
Magic. There is no other way to describe life on Halong Bay in your own private boat. We both think it will be hard to go back to backpacking once our 10 days with Nathan’s family is finished. A 3 hour drive from Hanoi, Halong Bay is filled with rocky islands, covered with lush, green foliage. Very few have beaches or places to pull up, so your time on the bay is spent staring in awe at the number and beauty of the “islands” aboard your boat. The bay is so calm, and is extremely relaxing! Beware this story involves Gary and Rechelle actually relaxing!
We stayed on the boat for two nights and had a few activities planned for us by our crew (6 crew for 5 people; tough life). It also included 5 course meals for lunch and dinner and cocktail hour every afternoon; served by the resident Bartender. Our chef even gave us a cooking demonstration (fried spring rolls) on the last night before dinner. The best part of each day was sitting together on the top deck, with a drink in hand, watching the islands float by as we cruised to our anchor point for the night. Our Bartender turned into a Tai Chi instructor on the last morning. This was a challenge for everyone. Gary turned into a human pretzel on many occasions as he struggled to grasp some of the movements. Hilarious!
The activities during our stay included:
- Tour of a floating village, one of the last in Halong Bay as the government make efforts to move them back onshore for “a better lifestyle”.
- Walk through a huge cave inside that was extremely impressive.
- Hike to a pagoda at the top of one of the islands.
- Kayaking around the bay and swimming off the boat.
- Having a local row a large wooden boat through a naturally formed tunnel that opened up to a volcano-like view of the inside of one of the bays’ islands.
Our three days-two nights on Halong Bay was relaxing and rejuvenating, backpacking can get very stressful at times. It’s nice to have a planned itinerary and not have to make so many decisions every day. We would highly recommend spending at least a night on the bay. Be aware that weather impacts heavily on plans and they are very safety conscious. Halong Bay will sit safely inside our Top 10 destinations for this trip for a little while yet.
OUR FAVOURITE BITS
- Visiting the floating village.
- Swimming off the boat and kayaking around the many islands that make up the bay.
- Having a private boat. Thanks Gary and Rechelle!
- Spending a night in the bay. As Halong Bay is 3 hours from Hanoi, a day trip would be exhausting. The bay is beautiful and worth the money to stay overnight.
- Booking ahead with your trip, but don’t be disappointed if things change. Due to weather and the exposure of the bay to the ocean, some trips can be changed or cancelled quickly. It is clear that safety is a huge priority here.