One place that was often suggested at the mention of Vietnam was Halong Bay. I set forth on some research and discovered the best way to see the bay was not to get a room on the coast, but to take a boat cruise and sleep on the bay itself. One night, two day or two nights, three day tours are available from many different companies but we chose the one night trip with Halong Legacy Cruises. We were picked up early in the morning and driven almost four hours from Hanoi out to the coast of Halong Bay.
Once on our cruise ship, we had a wonderful spread of food for lunch, then got checked into our rooms and given time to relax. After that we took off to the Cave of Surprise, also known as Hang Sung Sot to do some exploring.
Once back onboard the Halong Legacy Cruise 2, we got a lesson on making traditional fresh Vietnamese spring rolls from Kevin.
After an amazing dinner fit for a king, we were treated to some more cultural lessons from our team leader.
The next morning we woke up early for some Tai Chi and got to enjoy the view of Halong Bay as the sun rose on the water.
After breakfast we were escorted via rowboats to see a village built on water. These villages used to be more common in Halong Bay and surrounding areas but over time the government has persuaded most villagers to move inland for better jobs and education. The water village we observed was one of the last.
Eventually we docked at a pearl harvesting building where we learned about the world of clams and other aquatic money-makers that the water village people have perfected over time.
Back to the cruise ship, it was time for lunch and checking out while the ship pushed towards the mainland. On the bus ride back we were discussing the famous Vietnamese hot pot meal (similar to shabu shabu in Korea) when Kevin suggested a place that made some of the best in town. We talked with some other shipmates and those who had the time were able to join us for one last meal back on solid ground.
On our way out to the ship our tour guide Kevin said wanted us to be like a family. By the end of the 48 hours, I think he got his wish. It was a wonderful adventure packed into two days and one so amazing that we kept it going even after the tour was over. We made friends from Germany, France, England, Australia, New York and Brazil. Considering our shipmate assignments were pretty much a random draw, we all felt lucky to have been paired up with the folks on our ship.
The captain, crew and chefs were all amazing so I highly recommend Halong Legacy Cruise if you’re looking for a trip out to Halong Bay. We booked with their company and had a wonderful, knowledgable tour guide who took fantastic care of us for the entire two days. Ask for Kevin and tell him Karli in Korea sent you!