Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful and sort after tourist destinations in Vietnam, the 180km bumpy drive from Hanoi is not.
As our bus bounced along the high way reaching the astronomic sped of 60km per hour, I wondered what we had signed up for. I hadn’t realised we were going to be treated to a free roller coaster ride on our tour. After a long four hour drive, jolting over pot holes, honking horns and trying to avoid scooter and oncoming traffic, we arrived, completely bedraggled.
It wasn’t exactly the relaxed and serene start to a romantic two day, one night cruise that I expected.
We climbed onto the tender (a shuttle boat for the cruise ship), and glided over to our “Junk”. A junk is a traditional and ancient style of Chinese ship, they can be anything from a bamboo raft to a pleasure cruiser. One of their defining features is the beautiful battened sails they use to sail with.
We arrived on our home for the next two days and were greeted with white uniformed men handing us moist towelettes and a welcome drink. We were led up to the dining room, all dark wood and nautically themed decorations. Old ship wheels adorned the ceiling and wide windows illustrated the view from every angle of the ship. Lunch was served. Seafood was the meal of choice along with fresh papaya salad and fruit. Energy would be required for our kayaking excursion in the afternoon.
After an hour or so, we reached a secluded beach where the pure white sand leads you into the crystal clear water. We beached our kayaks and jumped into the cool water. It was a welcome relief after the hot kayak ride.
We arrived back at the boat, hot and tired. Showers were on the cards, before we tried our hand at spring roll making. Here are our efforts:
As we ambled past, small children would row past you using their feet or hands, controlling the large boat with little effort. Dogs frolicked and barked on the decks that connected the houses to their fish farms and buoys bobbed peacefully in the emerald green water. It is a totally different world out here.
After being in the chaos of Ho Chi Minh city and the wet blanket air of Hanoi, I could’ve stayed and enjoyed the peace for a while longer. But unfortunately our time was up.
We climbed off our tender and stole one more glance at the junk. It was farewell serenity and hello to bouncing buses and chaotic chatter.
Ginga musings out.
2 Comments Add yours
I loved my visit to Ha Long Bay while traveling through Vietnam, it is such an amazing place and I agree, a welcome break from the chaos of Ho Chi Minh City!!
Yes. It was amazing! Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂