Thursday October 19, 2017 – Saturday October 21, 2017
After a couple of days enjoying Hanoi, we set out for Ha Long Bay. Our timing was really lucky given the typhoon in the area – most of the cruises earlier in the week had been cancelled, so our fingers were crossed that that wouldn’t happen to us. Fortunately, skies looked clear so early on Thursday morning we hopped on a very Vietnamese-sized bus (maybe 20cm of leg room?) and by mid-day we’d reached the sunny shores of Ha Long Bay – with it’s amazing, Avatar-esque mountain/islands in the distance. All the ships are actually anchored further from shore in deeper water, so, like the hundreds of other tourists across the many different cruise lines, we boarded a small tender to reach our ‘Royal Palace’ cruise ship.
Once we had made it into the bay, we stopped to climb Titop mountain so we could get a great view of the Bay, which was swarmed with all the cruise ships of different shapes and sizes. It’s pretty amazing that these cruises take off and run this same cycle on a daily basis – the logistics have been pretty amazingly worked out.
We then went to our ‘night-anchorage’ site to watch the sunset, and though we had an opportunity to kayak, we preferred the quiet of the empty boat to read and watch the sunset (Maddie, being the adventurer, opted for the kayak). Below are some of the incredible shots we managed to take over the course of our two days here.
On our first evening, our tour group leader insisted on engaging every guest in karaoke, which led to quite the sing-a-long, with favourites as Celine Dion and Moulin Rouge rearing their heads.
The next two days were about relaxing, and visiting some of the caves in Ha Long Bay, given our undeniable (but not actual) need to see caves all around the world. We also enjoyed a brief spring-roll making class as our tour wrapped up, and then it was back to Hanoi to catch our flight to Da Nang/Hoi An.