I was a bit reluctant on going on the cruise in Halong Bay, especially after all the bad stories I read and heard about: boats there are so shittily made that sometimes they sank, even killing a couple of dozen tourists in the past.
For this reason we carefully picked our boat, chosing it from a very wide array of choices in Hanoi… I preferred spending a little more and feeling safe, than stay cheap and freaking out all night, so we bought a 3 days/2 nights tour on Cristina boat for $130 – including all our expenses besides drinks.
The thing is that when you look at the brochures they all seem fantastic luxurious boats, but don’t get your expectations too high, as they will never be matched.
Not bad anyway ha
As soon as we arrived at Halong Bay harbour, we got on a smaller boat which took us to Cristina, docked in the sea together with many other cruises. And so you pass them all, anxious – which one of these pieces of junk is gonna be ours?! They all look like they’re gonna sink in any moment. Oh no, if it’s that one over there, the only one leaning on one side, I’m not stepping into it, I swear. Shit, why’s our boat going in that direction?! It can’t be that one, camon.
It was Cristina indeed. And so I freaked out, trying not to show it to the others too much, but complaining to Alle that if I died that night it would have been his fault for making me stay.
Turned out I was wrong, as besides surviving, I also had lots of fun.
The first day we were taken to see one of the many unbelievable caves around Halong Bay: Sung Sot Cave, aka Amazing Cave. After that we did some kayaking by the fishing village, something I had never done before so I was quite afraid to flipside… Especially after seeing those huge beasts that were the jellyfishes in the water!
Then we were taken to Titov beach, where we could enjoy some time relaxing on the sand as well as a hike up hundreds of steps which led to an amazing view of the bay!
The day ended back on the boat, where our guide Huy taught us how to make delicious spring rolls…
Finally, what’s the best way to end a trip to Asia? Karaoke, of course! I’m really shy when it comes to speaking at a microphone in front of a group of people, so you can image singing! But I threw myself in it (well, Alle did…) and sang I Will Survive – luckily, no one became deaf after hearing my awful canonic skills.
The day after we were taken hiking in Cat Ba National Park. It was hard, real hard! I almost gave up half way, then realized that going back in the forest alone I would have probably got lost, so had to follow everyone up to the top of the hill… Not good to climb rocks in flip flops – never again!
Says it all…
After a sweaty lunch on the island, me, Alle, Chris and Lisa (The two couples staying at the bungalows) were taken to paradise. Sandy Beach Bungalow Resort, on Nam Cat island, with nothing else but it and a private beach. We kayaked alone in the middle of the sea surrounded by rocks and some fishermen (and jellyfishes!) and had a barbecue dinner with the other guests, all included in the price.
It was a wonderful experience that everyone who’s around Hanoi should do!
However, we met other people that had really bad ones, paying a little less and having incredibly bad service all the way through, so we were happy to have spent a bit more but got so much out of it.
Did you do it? How was it for you?