Thursday, May 21, 2015 to Saturday, May 23, 2015
Since the moment I knew I was going to Vietnam I knew I would do everything in my power to visit Ha Long Bay.
The bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site AND one of the new 7 wonders of the world. Google “Ha Long Bay” and you will see why it was a MUST SEE on my list.
Since the chances of me ever returning to Hanoi let alone Ha Long Bay were are slim to none, I wanted to do my experience “right”. I wasn’t interested in the booze cruises, so I leaned towards the activity cruises. I also knew one day was too short for a 6-hour drive from Hanoi, so I was looking for a two night cruise. With this criteria in mind I found…
The Treasure Junk, and specifically the tour organized by Handspan Travels.
Here is my amazing experience!
Thursday morning I arrived at the Handspan Office for the bus to Ha Long Bay. I had booked the trip back in March, and I had totally forgotten how long the ride from Hanoi to the bay was 🙁
Anyway, after leaving the office around 7 am we arrived at the boat port around 12:30 PM. After getting off the bus, we were immediately shown to the tender boat that was going to take us to Treasure Junk.
We were greeted in the dining room with fresh juice 🙂
Since it was low season, there were ONLY 7 OF US on the boat!!!!! I had paid for a room with the agreement that I would share a room, but since there were so few people I GOT A ROOM AND A BATHROOM TO MYSELF!
SO FREAKING EXCITED!!!
While waiting for lunch I checked out the boat:
At 1:15 PM lunch was served, our menu was:
- Hot and Sour Seafood Soup, wasn’t a huge fan…
- Vegetable Salad, DELICOUS
- Sautéed Squid with Chinese Celery, not a huge fan of squid so I didn’t eat much of this one
- Shrimp Steamed in Beer, DELICIOUS
- Bun Cha and Spring Rolls, this was the table favorite! You would dip the noodles in the broth and eat them with the fresh herbs, so good!
- Fresh Fruit
Meet Dang Thai Hoa, our tour guide. His English was excellent and he was so informative, from the basic questions about the tour to more complex questions regarding the country in general. If you are ever in Vietnam and in need of a guide, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We had a little bit of time to rest and get ready, because at 3:15 IT WAS TIME TO KAYAK! Views as we motor to the kayaking site…
I went to lay out on the upper deck, it was SO HARD picking a chaise lounge lol
Time to KAYAK!
Thai and I shared a boat, so out of the 4 boats, we were the power team 😉 The views….
**Note I was being a daredevil and switching between my waterproof camera and my DSLR, I know, I am crazy!
Let me take a moment to introduce the couple that took me under their wing, Aureliano and Gail 🙂 Once upon a time they met in London and then they lived all over the world! They now split their time between Italy, where Aureliano is from, and New Zealand, where Gail is from. I had so much fun spending time with them and getting to know them! 🙂
Post kayaking and showering, a Long Island Iced Tea,
and a sunset.
Once the sun set it was time for out first cooking demonstration! Not going to lie, TOTALLY forgot the name the dish, but essentially it is pork/mushroom mixture wrapped in this leaf that is like a grape leaf but isn’t a grape leaf 🙂 It was slowly getting dark, and then BAM I needed my flash 🙂
The dinner! Our menu was:
- Cream of Pumpkin Soup, really good, on the sweet side
- Yam Bean Salad (not sure on that translation), delicious!
- BBQ Mackerel with Passion Fruit Sauce, very good!
- BBQ Prawns with Tamarind sauce, excellent!
- BBQ Pork Ribs, really good, needed to use my fingers 🙂
- Caramel Flan, sorry guys, my grandmother’s flan kicks your flan’s a**.
Overall, I was a little disappointed with my food photos, but when sharing my table with other people I always feel awkward taking photos for an extended period of time. They may not be my best, but they get the job done!
After dinner I was exhausted, but I stopped in to check out the SQUID FISHING!
Guess what did on Day 2?!? MORE KAYAKING!
We had lunch on our Day Boat Bai Tho 🙂
Check out our lunch!
We spent the afternoon motoring back to the Treasure Junk. I was SO excited for a shower!
With my camera all set up for the sunset I decided to snap some shots of myself 🙂 This is the ONLY one I liked 🙂
Here is the sunset…
Another cooking demonstration, this time fresh spring rolls. I impressed the chef with my rolling abilities 😉
We had another amazing dinner, which I failed to capture, and then I was off to bed! I was exhausted 🙂
Our last morning onboard we spent at the fishing village and pearl farm.
WOW. WHAT A TRIP!
I was sad to leave my beautiful room and the amazing food, but I was ready to come back to the real world and continue my adventure!
Ha Long Bay tour is the perfect time to SPLURGE! 🙂
Love always, Arianna the Wandering Pipette