Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Halong Bay (1)


I did my home work well before we visited the place. Comparing prices and itineraries and read lots of reviews from Tripadvisor. In the end I opted for Vega Travel because I liked the itinerary more compare to many other bigger players! Also, very importantly, the price is only 110USD/pax for 2 days 1 night fullboard.

We woke up at 6am, got ready and had breakfast in the hotel. The guide appeared promptly at the lobby at about 7.30am.

Simple breakfast at the hotel.
We were directed to the mini bus with another couple from the same hotel. Then we drove to their office to settle for the balance payment and at the same time to pick up other guests.

Early morning scene of old quarter.

From the hotel to the mini bus to the office. The weather was a little cold in the morning.
Taken from the window while waiting. Love the sight of these bamboos.
14 of us, in the mini bus.
When everything was settled, it was already about 8.30am when we finally started the long drive to Ha Long Bay.

At about 12++, we arrived at the wharf. It was quite a sight to see many cruisers and junks and the place was flooded with westerners.

Very busy wharf.

Impressive junks lining on the wharf. According to the guide, it's the government's order to paint all the junks in white.

Flooded with tourist.
After waited for about 20 mins, we were being transferred from a small boat to the not very big Vega Cruise. It started to move shortly.
Transferring to our junk.
Our Vega Junks. The balcony on the left is our room.

A small brief was given and we were then directed to our cabins. When we entered the small room, we saw that the toilet is missing its door! The father immediately enquired with the captain.
It is very small but it's clean and comfortable enough.

The triple room is actually a double room plus a roller bed. The shower stall is directly opposite the doorless toilet. At the rear is the balcony.

The balcony looks quite romantic.
And the junk started to sail!
We changed into light clothes as the weather was getting hot and explored around while waiting for the lunch to be served.
At the bow. The water was extremely calm that we could hardly feel any movement at all..

Outside the living and dinning room.

Lunching with the moving view outside the window was really blissful.
After lunch, we rested in the room and enjoyed the view in our tiny balcony as we cruise further to the center of the bay.

Forever changing seascape.
At the sundeck. It was a sunny day.
At the pole, took one after another, different backdrop.
At 3pm, we changed into our swim suit to prepare for the first activity which was kayaking.

I received  the first class service from the guide by being paddled by him while my girl and the father paddled away.

The father and daughter team.
The guide directed the group to a hidden circular lagoon through a very narrow passage in the cave. It was wonderfully peaceful and serene and we saw monkeys on the cliff.

At about 4pm  we were directed back to the small boat and being brought to the largest cave called Surprising Cave about 15 mins away.

First, we had to climb some steep stone steps to reach the cave.

Certain stretch is quite steep.
The limestone cave is really huge and the stalactites and stalagmites are similar to those we had seen before but in a much larger scale.

Huge cave.
The passage in the cave. Overheard a tourist asked the guide is it 100% natural! And the answer was yes!
And the view of the bay from the top is stunningly beautiful!

Fantastic pinkish glow at the horizon.
Getting dark in seconds!

At about 6.30pm, we were back in the small boat again transferring back to the big boat.

The color of the sun setting and the afterglow was just so amazing!
Our camera and smartphone couldn't do justice to the actual color we witness. It was magical!

Fascinating and mesmerising! I truly enjoyed the ride back to the big boat.

We took turns to have our showers in the tiny shower stall.

At about 8pm, we were being called for a cooking demonstration which was Vietnamese spring rolls.

The living and dinning room.
Very normal ingredients in rice paper. The trick is to dip it into the incredible source!
This of course is not new to us and we had no problem to make our own at all.

We had also ate this in Vietnamese restaurant in our homeland before but somehow it was really tasty when it was rolled by our own hands !

After that, seafood dinner was served and it was really good!

Nice presentation of prawn cocktail and fried squid after oysters and many others.
After dinner, we were being entertainment by the tour guide of some tricks that we could try on our own.
 A short glass of normal white uncooked rice was lifted by a single chopstick The young Columbia girl is smart enough to understand the trick and one of the tour mates from Portugal managed to get it right.
We had wonderful moments chatting and exchanging infos with the young couple from Columbia.

After which we walked to the bow and saw the fishing rods for squid fishing and tried for a short while. The temperature was quite low and we felt cold.

The water under the illumination of the light from the boat appeared to be eerily green!

We retreated to our room since there wasn't much to do and it was just darkness outside.


  1. You did a fantastic homework and got a good deal for $110 that included everything. My friend paid a big bomb to get similar package like yours.

    I love those exotic islands that line the whole Ha Long Bay. So spectacular!

    1. I believe there are the luxury packages. As you can see, our is a very small boat. I personally prefer small group.