From Hanoi, we took a 3.5 hour tour bus with A Class Tours (aclasscruise.com) to Ha Long Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin. We booked this through our hotel in Saigon, so I did zero research and was keeping my fingers crossed that things would turn out ok. We were on a boat called Opera, named after one of the nearby caves.
After leaving our luggage in our rooms, we took a smaller boat to a floating village. We kayaked around some nearby coves and grottos.
In the evening, we went to a tiny island and climbed to the top, rewarding our effort with a swim when we got back down. As the sun set, the clouds around the moon turned pink. Watching the moon glow brighter and brighter above the limestone peaks while floating on the bath-warm salt water was one of the highlights of this trip, for sure. No camera in the water with me, so that one will just have to stay in my memory.
Ha Long is the bay of the ‘descending dragon’ with 2000 peaks. It is really beautiful here and I wish we could have spent more time kayaking.
When the boat wasn’t moving and there was no wind, even my dad couldn’t tolerate the stifling heat. If you know him and his great love of 90 temperatures, it is probably surprising to hear. Everyone was covered in sweat, literally. And with about 100% humidity, none of it ever evaporated from our skin, it just accumulated into puddles on our skin. We could wipe the sweat from our brow and shake the water from our hand – just like a cartoon or something! The Surprising Caves – they were cool. It seemed like it would literally be cool, but with no air circulation, even being in the caves was crazy sweaty!
There was a ton of good food and way overpriced drinks. Well, not way overpriced for Western standards or cruise ship standards, but about 3 times what we are used to paying on this trip. I tried a Singapore sling and realized that I really don’t like gin, even if its with something other than tonic. Also, a mojito with fake lime juice is yucky! It was fun to talk to people on the boat. As with the entirety of this trip so far, we haven’t met any traveling Americans! Some fellow cruisers participated in squid fishing off the back of the boat at night. We only saw one caught before we retired.