Halong Bay, Vietnams’ biggest tourist attraction- and I can sure see why! This place will BLOW YOUR MIND. 2696 islands separated by turquoise waters, secret beaches, ancient caves and little fishing villages- Halong should be on every single bucket list!
My adventure to Halong began in Hanoi, where we met our guide, Tiger. Tiger is hilarious- his humour was strange, unruly and unexpected; but was a breath of fresh air to the usually reserved personalities of the Vietnamese people. Trekking travel (who own and run White Dolphin and Monkey Island Resort) met us in Old Quarter Hanoi, were we then greeted the other 17 travellers (19 people on tour total) on our tour. Off we went on our four hour bus ride to the mythical sea of dragons in our couch. Suprisngly (for Vietnam) it was comfy, air conditioned (a MUST in 40 degree humidity!) and after meeting the other young travellers- went very quickly! Our group was perfect- all in our twenties, adventurous and from every angle of the globe- we hit it off right away.
After a short stop mid-journey, and another two hours, we arrived in Halong Bay Harbour. This isn’t the nicest place in the world, heaps of tourists all looking very confused trying to find their guides- so keep your belongings close, stay where your guide instructs and you will be fine!
We were then herded to our little speed boat which would connect us to our Cruiser- The White Dolphin. Everyone was so excited, big smiles and camera’s in hand. As soon as you depart the bay- there it is… hundreds of little pillars reaching out of the sea, murky waters and a mist in the air that adds to the magic that is- Halong Bay.
We arrived at our ship, checked in and had our second draw-dropping moment, Our rooms! Luxurious bedding, wooden accents and of course- the view. I think I instantly lost ten years on my age and started jumping on the bed- its not every day you are on a cruise ship surrounded by a wonder of the world! Equipped with balcony, private bathroom and waterfall shower- I was in heaven!!!
After a DELICIOUS buffet style lunch (I have shellfish, gluten and lactose intolerances- they made me separate meals and were so accommodating!) we heading out for the first adventure- Exploring Heavens Cave. This ancient cave has been lit up with colourful lights so you get to see every single curve and crevice. It is stunning, plus there are little stories that go with each of the largest formations- such as the sleeping dragon and heavens door, Tiger even added his own – Morning Glory…guess the shape of that formation! 🙂
From caving, to kayaking. The day was no where near over yet! Out we went on the water, paddling our way through the karts into secret tunnels, bays and lagoons. Kayaking is by far the best way to see Halong Bay’s islands up close as eagles swirl the sky and the sun glistens on the water around you.
Exhausted and hungry – we headed back to the White Dolphin for a swim, dinner and drinks on the sun deck. Little did we know we were about to see Halong Bay come alive. We decided that swimming in the bay wasn’t enough- we wanted a thrill. So a few of the boys and I ran to the rooftop and jumped! You only live once right?
Dinner, cocktails and a sunset that could only be described as breath taking. A moment of silence is needed for this.
Next- a early night for me (I was a little sea sick!!) while the others stayed up listening to music, drinking and enjoying the warmth of the evening… Only to awaken to the best part of our adventure… Monkey Island!