Family Trip to Vietnam - Ha Long Bay
Part 1: Hanoi, Part 2: Ha Long Bay, Part 3: Sapa
Tour guide of the day: Minh ‘Mike’
Stay: V’Spirit Classic Cruise
Ha Long Bay, aka 下龙湾, aka the Bay of Descending Dragon -- The new 7 wonders of the world.
A van picked us up at the hotel at around 8am and started a 3 hours bumpy road journey along with some 20 tourists to Halong Bay.
We embarked on V’Spirit Classic Cruise, and it’s not the straightforward easy way. A small boat will pick you up from the port and transferred you to the big cruise parked some distance away from the port.
This was my first experience staying on a cruise and it was amazing! Of course, it would be better if Hon was with me!!!
The baby and parents stayed at the connected rooms on the first floor while us the youngsters stayed a floor above them. The design of the washroom door in the room was pretty speechless – they have glass window on it that the people in the room can get a ‘free show’ when someone is in the washroom. The layout of our room placed the beds pointing towards the washroom, and it was exactly like a TV box with a free censored show!
All our meals were included in the package, and they served a course of 6-7 dishes for lunch and dinner.
The view was magnificent. Cruising along the limestone island, the weather was cloudy but it didn’t spoil my mood, the breeze was soothing. It was good. Laid-back trip is one of my favorite.
There’s an exploration activity of Sung Sot Cave on the evening.
According to the leaflet the cruise gave us, it is the nicest cave in Halong Bay. The cave expedition is textbook-style – seeing the stalactites and stalagmites in the cave, “that one’s shaped like an elephant head”, “that one looks like a Buddha sitting on a rock can you see?”, and so forth. Our tour guide was nowhere to be seen so we either eavesdrop other group or made our own assumption. If that’s what you see, THAT’s what it is, right?
Next, we dumped dad on the cruise to babysit and dragged mom for another activity of the evening – Soi Sim island. It has a small beach for swimming and relaxing, and a trekking path to the top of the island for the panoramic view of Halong Bay. We headed for the trekking first. The path is not really a proper path. You had to go through bushes and there’s no concrete path to walk on and it was rather steep. Mom made it to the top with us and it was amazing!! We descended, took a dip in the water and off we went back to the cruise.
Dinner was served, a food preparation demonstration was made (scared the crap out of baby!), and the evening was kinda boring. They installed a few fishing rods for squid fishing experience, other guests were socializing with each other (ermm, well, it’s more like the angmohs hang out with the angmohs, the Asians hang out with their own group and us hang out with our group).
Predicting the boredom to occur, Minh suggested us to play a game, the 7 pieces puzzle thingy, and there’s a prize on stake. Every table had one puzzle and we were required to solve/complete it. We begged Mike to give us a hint, placing one piece in the block. What do you know? Er Jie solved it!! And we won 5 cans of drinks thanks to her!! Hehe… We called it a night and went to bed.
The next morning, we woke up at 5.30am to catch the sunrise. The sun was hidden behind the limestone islands though, so we could only get the rays and nice sunrising shades of clouds. They arranged a Tai Chi session for us (so did other cruises; you can see all the people on the deck of other cruises did the same thing).
After breakfast, we had two activities to choose at a place called Luon Cave – kayak or taking the boat around the cave. Mom wanted to join the kayak team! Fun fun fun!!
Baby didn’t like wearing the life jacket AT ALL. She put up a grumpy pouty face and protested with a high pitch scream. She only got quiet when an angmoh lady told her: “everyone has to wear it, you have to wear it anyway”. I bet she was stunned by the English as she kept quiet and stared at the sweet lady haha!
Back to the kayak team: I teamed up with mom and Chen with Keong. I didn’t know mom has so many ideas in her mind! I was very tired paddling the way around, Chen was weird and curious about the things mom wanna do/go, but it was great fun!
Back to the cruise, we freshen ourselves and took loads of pictures around the cruise, up and down.
They arranged a food preparation demo for us, and it was the traditional Vietnamese spring rolls. Our table was the most enthusiasts; we literally finished up all the ingredients on the table and ate like hungry ghosts.
We had our last lunch on the cruise, and headed back to Hanoi city.
Throughout the cruise trip, I couldn’t stop thinking about Hon being beside me looking over this wonderful view, and we definitely would opt for more days staying on the cruise lalala~