Saturday, June 18, 2016

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam




Ha Long Bay is literally one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. If you ever visit Vietnam, this place MUST be on your list.

We decided to do a 2-day, 2-night cruise throughout the bay. The boat was on the smaller side (compared to a cruise ship) with about 15 cabins. It had a dining room, bar and upper deck for cocktail hour.

It was the most beautiful, most luxurious place we've ever stayed. Our cabin was spacious, with an oh so comfortable king bed, french doors leading to the bathroom and a giant window with some spectacular views!

Phone service was atrocious out in the bay which was really nice to unplug for a few days and just exist. And to just exist and take in the sites and the air and think about life and that we are there was so so relaxing.

Once we boarded the ship we were offered a buffet lunch with a lot of seafood. (Yum!) We were then able to check into our rooms and freshen up a bit before heading out to the Pearl Farm and the bay neighborhood. Like people living through the bay, it was very cool. There were 5 of us per coconut boat peacefully floating through the hood.

Next they took us to a beach for swimming. We all eagerly jumped in taking in the beauty surrounding us. Someone had a GoPro, so we turned that on and threw it between the 10 of us for about twenty minutes for some pretty hysterical footage.

After returning to our ship, we enjoyed free wine on the deck as the sun went down. Talk about magical!

That night we enjoyed a 11 course meal in the ships dining room. They were small courses, but still.. eleven! It was really cool to try some of their "delicacies".

Not the primary, but one of the small reasons we chose that particular ship to book our stay on was because they offered Karaoke at night. While I am no Karaoke lover, per se, it sounded like a really cool way to end the night with our large group.

All throughout dinner we kept exchanging excitement about the Karaoke that would ensue following dinner. The staff kept avoiding the topic while eventually telling us it "was broken". Which part we asked? The actual song disk, the TV, the audio? "All of it."

A group of ten 30-somethings super stoked about Karaoke on our vacay were not about to take no for an answer. We'll figure it out- especially when the group consisted of engineers, analysts and operators.

And that.we.did.

The actual Karaoke disk and lyrics did not work. The microphone however did. All we had to do was  plug in our own music and bam! Karaoke dance party! We were given a time limit of 3 hours- until 10pm as the boat was not big and we were not quite.  No probs. We danced and sang the shit out of our make shift Karaoke bar for the full 3 hours, ending with a group ballad of Plage. It was amazing and we were all obsessed with it and couldn't wait for round 2 the next night.

***

The next morning we were treated to a buffet breakfast. After that, the whole group along with some other travelers boarded our day boat. We were taken further into the bay and got into double Kayaks that the boat was towing and rowed into a few different caves.

After that we were free to explore on kayak on our own. It was once of the most peaceful experiences I've ever had. This tiny kayak holding Dan and I among these massive, beautiful boulder, the misty air surrounding us.

The rest of the day we enjoyed a BBQ lunch on the boat deck, we jumped off the top of the boat, we drank beers and suntanned. It was fantastic.

Heading back to the main boat that night, we were able to enjoy another sunset cocktail hour before dinner. Dinner was again delicious, followed by another 3 hours of dance party Karaoke.

***

On our last morning we had to check out of our gorgeous cabin to go see one last cave and a spring roll tutorial before saying so long to Ha Long Bay.

That place is not one I will soon forget. The sites themselves were breathtaking, but being there with all my best friends and being able to experience it together was what I will really remember.


























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