Our final adventure in Vietnam was the Halong Bay cruise, the one thing that everyone would tell you to do when in Hanoi. It is in northeast Vietnam, is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. There are over 600 companies that offer this tour, so it was hard for me to choose from. At the end, I went with the top-rated luxury Indochina Junk legend 2 two days one night cruise. And I’m very happy with my choice.
After a short ride from Viet Village to the boating area, we were greeted by our guide Kenny. He took our luggage, gave us an ID and asked us to wait.
half hour later we got into a boat with 12 others
and saw our boat! It was really nice 24 cabin 4 floor boat with Asian décor and comfortable amenities including a small pool and gym
then we got into the restaurant where Kenny and his team gave us a short presentation of the boat, plan for the 2 days 1 night cruise, overview of the activities. All meanwhile cruise members delivered our luggage to the room.
then we got into our room (#314). We were surprised by how large is the room for a cruise standard. I’d say it’s the size of a standard hotel room
girls were happy to just jump around
even a Jacuzzi!!!
truly impressive and luxurious
then we were asked to join for lunch. Since the weather was really nice (rare in Hanoi because of the pollution) we were asked to sit outside and enjoy the amazing view of Halong Bay
it felt surreal to be surrounded by nature beauty while being so comfortable and ready to eat good food
while we waited for the food to come, we explored the boat a little bit
family’s first course: a spicy shrimp soup
and I had the tofu version of it
second course was a fresh cucumber salad, very refreshing
Lizzy was happy getting up and down from the chair
third course was shrimp with a lemon grass garlic sauce. Sofia had 4 of them.
for me, they simply brought fries as substitute 😦
fourth course: curry chicken with some steamed vegetables
mine had potato and carrot, not impressed but I cleaned the plate (4 in total) for the steamed veggies
fifth course: steamed fish in soy sauce
mine was steamed fried tofu, again, not impressed
dessert was fruits.
After we were done with lunch (around 2:45), we changed and departed for kayaking around 3:20. It was our first time kayaking and it was a lot of fun although a bit scary at the time.
Sofia got to sit on the guide’s boat. I told her it’s the safest boat of all and she happily jumped on. Then I’d hold Lizzy on my lap while Tony peddled.
very quickly we were the last boat. At some point we had the turn around the island and then we saw no boat in front of us, basically we were there alone. What if we get lost here?
fortunately after a while and a turn, we saw the rest of the group, already in the island. Sofia was playing in the water.
we spent 20 min or so on the tiny island. The water was too cold to swim so we just relaxed and enjoyed the pre-sunset
then we got back to the boat and it was the perfect time to watch sunset. Tony and Lizzy got into the Jacuzzi while Sofia went to the mini pool. I got to the deck to enjoy the view
it was soooo beautiful, serene, immense, surreal
then we got back to the room, showered, watched some “frozen”
before going for dinner
Lizzy is so cute with that bunny hat
first course; daikon salad with seashell
my salad paired with friend pumpkin, didn’t touch it 😦
second course: Vietnamese spring roll
hot stone fish for the family
and grilled vegetable for me. They were delicious despite how simple it is
third course: sticky rice with fried jumbo squid
mine was paired with a sweet potato cake which was super yummy (finally!)
fourth course: pork with mango sauce. Tony said it was great!
mine was mushroom fillet in a tomato sauce with steamed veggies, scrumptious!!! So they know how to make good vegan food!!! 🙂
fifth course: coconut flan and I had fruits.
with a full belly we went to sleep. I got to share the bed with Sofia while Tony slept on the floor. I’d say it was not fun to be kicked on the face in the middle of the night but I survived 🙂
The next morning the early risers started with Tai Chi on the deck together with the sunrise. how lucky I was to be there!!!
having this view as background. too good to be true, right?
breakfast selection was limited for me
then we got into explore one of thousands caves in the Bay
and that concluded our activities at Halong Bay
Our departing time was 11:20 so we had an early brunch around 10:30. Fortunately breakfast left me hungry so I was super happy to see corn and sweet potato
and I had seconds of corn… so good
then we got into the van, 4 hours on the road and got to our temporary hotel in Hanoi since our flight was 1:15am, we didn’t spend the night in Hanoi, although needed a place to spend few hours. After a failed attempt to nap we went out for dinner. I found a vegan restaurant close by
this place was filled by ONLY westerners
I ordered vegan Pho, which tasted just like real beef pho, which I didn’t like. I went vegan because I don’t like the taste of meat and how greasy it feels, so what’s the point of making a vegan version of the exactly same thing?
and a lotus stir fry brown rice… supposedly for Sofia but she didn’t like it so i ate it. Again, flavors were too strong for my palate.
we all slept from 8pm to 10:50pm before we check-out and got to the airport. Red eye flight is not fun for the adults but at least the girls slept most of the 3 hours.
That concluded our 12 days 11 nights trip in Vietnam. I’d say this was the trip with most varieties we had so far. Really enjoyed it.
Now… into a travel/vacation break. We’ve been traveling somewhere almost every month and I think the whole family needs some rest. 🙂