I heard from people that this place was a must see when visiting Vietnam. I especially wanted to go because I never got to El Nido in Palawan (in the Philippines) which also has limestone jutting out of the water. Our tour company booked us on a gorgeous boat which we did an overnight cruise on to sail out to see the awesome rock formations. My only requests were that Coco and I not share a room with anyone and that the boat be high quality with life jackets and a well-trained staff. I read a story on a blog about a woman whose boat capsized in the middle of the night in Thailand. I was not trying to have that happen!! Our tour company, Absolute Vietnam Travel, did not disappoint. I was very impressed!
Halong Bay is about two hours from Hanoi. The drive there was very interesting. I was really impressed at what Vietnamese people can carry on their motorcycles!
Like most of Asia, Vietnamese women are obsessed with keeping their skin white. I saw people covered completely from head to foot and it was over 100 degrees. Insane!The houses also interested me. They were so tall and skinny! Makes sense if real estate is expensive and if you could get a view of the bay that way. They all had gorgeous wooden doors and windows and they all had balconies, too. I thought they were so pretty!
Other sites on the drive there:
One thing that I really loved about Vietnam was the mixture of old and new. Highrises and rice fields, airplanes and cyclos, cell phones and phở.
We got to the boat, Indochina Sails, and boarded. Look how gorgeous our boat was!First thing we did after settling in our room was have lunch. Here is our room. So nice!Next up, lunch. The food was so good! My little adventurous eater tasted many things. Then we sailed off to see the limestones. The boat had an upper deck where we had a panoramic unobstructed views. So beautiful!We got out at a beach and walked up 400+ steps to capture this amazing view. Coco ran ahead of me and, unlike her old out of shape mother, was not winded at all at the top!
Later that evening we went to see the floating village. It was so quiet and peaceful!
We got back to the boat shortly before dinner was ready. There was time to go up on the top deck for before dinner drinks. I had a glass of white wine and some peanuts while I got a foot & leg massage and Coco drew pictures on the deck. So relaxing I tell ya! We slept very well that night.
The next day we slept in and then went with the group for a hike to see bats in a cave.
Coco thought the bats were really interesting. And then we had a delicious breakfast. I loved, loved, loved Halong Bay and Indochina Sails. If you are booking a trip there I highly recommend them. I will say, though, it was quite romantic and personally I feel it’s probably better suited for honeymooners than single mommas! Still loved it though! 😉