Halong Bay had been on our Bucket list for a while and was our main reason for starting in the north of Vietnam, we chose to book a 3 day 2 night Trip via our hotel, the advantage of booking via hotel was that we could personalize the room options to fit our budget (and make a few savings by paying half price for Jenny and with Lucie being free) and and organising the bus transfers leaving us stress free for the trip.
After a 4 hour bus ride (with a group of great people) we arrived at the port of Halong Bay, Just before boarding we were split up into two groups and as the first half of our group were transferred to their boat, our guid took us off to one side and we realised that we were going on a separate boat ,and that the great atmosphere and laughs on the bus were over!!!!
But to our delight we were told that we were being upgraded and that we would join the others on the Luxurie cruise boat… Yeeeeeahhhhh!!! So of we went armed with big smiles and boarded our beautiful boat, we were a dozen “Couples” in total with a great mix of travelers from different countries , and the atmosphere that had started on the bus continued throughout the cruise..
The weather was foggy as we set sail, and it was with this “mysterious” side that we discovered the towering limestone karst and emerald waters for the first time, as we made our way deeper into the bay the view changed constantly, and you can’t help but feel that you are entering a land that time forgot ( scenes for King Kong 2 were recently filmed here). After a hour or so of cruising we stopped in among the islands for a spot of kayaking, and a chance to discover the Karst’s up close and personal while having a bit of fun with the girls. The evening ended with a very hearty and refined meal, topped off with a few beers and karaoke in good humor ;-)…
The next day, at dawn (6am) the bravest (That would be Sev, while i slept 😉 ) where able to try their hand at Tai Chi on the bridge and take in the sunrise behind this magical landscape .
After an breakfast as we sailed we stopped off to visit the “Amazing Cave” getting there early was a bonus and allowed us to visit before hundreds of other tour boats arrived ! From there we cruised a little further into the bay and said our newly made friends staying on the boat for a 2nd night, and set off towards Cat Ba island were we would spend a Day and night at a resort on one of the small island in Lan ha Bay.. the bungalows and quiet beach were perfect for the girls to let off some steam after being cooped up on the boat, and a welcome break after the city of Hanoi 😉
After the spectacular Halong Bay Lan ha showed us another romantic side of the area,and it was fabulous … The small resort of 12 or so bungalows and its private beach was a little piece of paradise… the resort provided free kayaks to anyone wanting to set off and explore but we chose to relax on the beach, and as the tide changed we found that it was possible to walk out and explore one of the islands and the many shell covered sand banks kept the kids happy for hours, the water are clear and take on beautiful colours throughout the day and into an explosion of stars at night adding to the beauty of this spectacular landscape…
The Next morning the magic continued as we all woke early to watch the sunrise, with little pang of sadness to be leaving so soon set off for one last cruise through the island back to the mainland, where we said our last few goodbyes before boarding our bus back to Hanoi our heads and hearts full of beautiful souvenirs.
In short, we were all enraptured by the Magic of Halong bay and its Island … which was made even more beautiful by the people we met on the trip !
Pour visiter Halong Bay, nous avions choisi la formule proposée par notre hotel, à savoir petit séjour de 3 jours et Aller-Retour en bus (durée 4 heures).
Arrivés au port d’Halong Bay, nous avons embarqué ensuite sur un très joli bateau, nous étions une douzaine de personnes à bord (sans le personnel), ambiance très conviviale et tous heureux car nous venions d’apprendre que nous étions surclassés en bateau de luxe 🙂
Le temps était brumeux, et c’est avec ce coté “mystérieux” que nous avons découvert les pitons karstiques pour la première fois, ils sont vraiment impressionnants et gigantesques! Nous avons pu rapidement nous en approcher grace à une sortie kayak et découvrir les petites huitres à leurs bases. La soirée s’est achevée avec un repas très copieux et raffiné, et un karaoké dans la bonne humeur 😉
Le lendemain, à l’aube, les plus courageux ont pu s’initier au Tai Chi à 6h00 sur le pont et ainsi assister au spectacle du lever du soleil dans ce paysage magique (I did it!).
Nous sommes allés visiter la grotte « Amazing Cave », heureusement de bonne heure car les bateaux affluaient déjà de partout! Puis après, nous avons quitté la “zone touristique” pour passer la journée et dormir sur l’Ile Cat Ba, dans un resort avec bungalows et petite plage tranquille, au calme, çà fait du bien après Hanoi 😉
Et là, le rideau est tombé, cette Baie d’halong nous a montré un autre côté romanesque et c’était fabuleux … Avec le changement de marée, on a pu découvrir des petits bancs de coquillages donnant office de plage au pied de certains pitons, l’eau est claire et prend de belles couleurs, le paysage prend une autre dimension.. La nuit étoilée a aussi beaucoup de charme!
Bref, nous avons tous étés emballés par cette escapade sur l’Ile Cat Ba…Quelle belle découverte cette baie!
Le retour vers le port d’Halong Bay s’est ensuite agréablement passé, un bus nous attendait à 13h00 pour nous transporter à Hanoi…
Bye Bye Halong Bay!!………………………………………………