Halong Bay

This has been the most anticipated part of Vietnam, we paid extra a few month back to make sure we got one of the best cruises available and didn’t get stitched up with a terrible boat from the street tour operators. It didn’t disappoint when we got picked up from the hotel by a luxury minibus all kitted out in brown leather marble and double arm rests.

We arrived at our own separate waiting area for people on our cruise and then took a small boat across to the main boat. The first port wasn’t really what I was expecting and was more of an industrial shipping port, I was expecting to see the mountains straight away. But we held on and boarded the first boat to the big boat.

When we got to the big boat we were greeted by staff waving, stepped on the boat and we were given a nice cold towel to freshen off and directed straight up for lunch in a massive windowed cabin. We then went and checked into our room which had a massive window and bath facing out into Halong Bay with our own private balcony. This was some top draw stuff.

When you leave the room to go up and down stairs it is l marble and glass so you still don’t miss out on the views.

Then after lunch it was lotions on and straight upto the top deck to catch a few rays on the roof. There was only me up there top off, beer belly out as the day is long, taking in the incredible scenery. Proper Brit abroad. I would have fit right in somewhere in Benidorm.

One of the hardest things to get across which you don’t really see on tele is the actual size of Halong bay it’s literally miles and miles of limestone rocks coming out of the sea. The place is probably bigger than most countries. And it is chocker block with boats everywhere.

Then we went on a bamboo boat to some caves near Cat Ba Island ๐Ÿ and to a little floating village with fish farms. Floating villagers live there on boats, with little kids running wild. It seemed like a nice chilled place to live but I wouldn’t fancy that. Then it was back on the boat for a spot of swimming.

It’s pretty intense because they have swimming then straight after swimming it’s happy hour and Cooking demonstrations. Basically we don’t have time to wash n get ready for the night, and I definitely wasn’t missing happy hour so I just literally had the quickest swim ever then ran back for a bath with a view and get kitted up.

Well as I tried to get in the bath what happened but me stood there stark naked and a woman comes rowing past on a boat and burst out laughing ๐Ÿ˜‚. As I was chilling in he bath she started whipping cans out of a cooler trying to sell me them ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚. She had a kid with her and I had nothing on I wasn’t getting up again. Honestly hilarious stuff just keeps happening can’t even get naked for a bath in your own room without peeping tom tryna sell you a can over here ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ›€.

So after the bath it was up to the top deck for sunset and cooking demonstration (more spring rolls). It was also happy hour so I sank 4 beers in 40 minutes. Don’t really like paying double ๐Ÿป. Honestly one of the best nights ever up until this point and I still had a 5 course meal coming up!

Our waiter had a very funny Vietnamese name (forging me if I spell it wrong) it was Tony. What a lovely man after much hard work persuaded us into a bottle of white. The 5 courses were lovely it was a terrine of foie gras with dry fig jam (dno), cream seafood soup with black bread, pan fried seabass fish with mushroom sauce, grilled lamb and veg and finally baked mango with chocolate cake. The lamb come out in the end of 2 bones and I ruined the ambiance after a few attempts and just picked the bone up and scanned it. Kayleigh said”God they will be able to tell we aren’t rich.” I said “No they won’t, they are Vietnamese.” Much to our surprise it was announced unbeknownst to us that a second happy hour was taking place 9:30 until 10:30 on the top deck. So we dragged out our bottle of wine out until 9 (tbf it was nearly finished at it was 9 o clock) then we went squid fishing on the boat. I only nearly caught a jellyfish. Couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, even though it got away, it just wasn’t meant to be.

That night we had a good few discussions with family’s and Tony the barman before going down to bed. As it’s not a normal night not on a normal place I decided to sleep naked in the window with the curtains open. You don’t get many chances to wake up for a naked pre Thai Chi sunrise so I wasn’t wasting it.

The following morning at 6:15am it was up to the top deck for a spot of early morning Thai Chi. At home I do get up early occasionally to run 10k before work so it is not something I am too averse too. On weekends/holdays though the only chance of getting up at that hour is an away match. This is supposed to be a holiday! So I got up and went, but it was raining and nobody else was there not even the Thai Chi instructor. So I went back to bed until breakfast at 7.

After breakfast it was still raining and we had the option to go kayaking. Our check out time from the boat was 9:30 but because it was raining I though bail Kayaking. So went n got another bath for an hour ๐Ÿ˜‚. I managed to get away with not having a woman coming past trying to sell cans then at 10 past 8 in the morning just as Kayleigh was going to get in the bath another one actually does come past trying to sell us shell fish through the window ๐Ÿ˜‚. Offit.

Overall this was probably one of the best parts of the trip upto now, if I could pick one fault it would be that I didn’t get to go to that floating pub Clarkson, May and Hammond went to on Top Gear. I really wanted to go there. If anyone is coming this way I would definitely recommend Orchid Cruises, might be more expensive but worth it just for the bath.

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