After visiting the wonderful Perfume Pagoda, I spent another night in Hanoi and next morning headed out to Halong Bay for the much anticipated 2 days 1 night cruise around the famous World Heritage site. The weather was not picture perfect, with grey and hazy sky – it’s good that I decided to go on a splurge here and booked myself a luxury boat: small, cozy, with nice interiors and attentive personnel, so my experience overall was very satisfying.
The tour operator (Bhaya Cruises) picked me up from my hotel in Hanoi in the morning, and after a couple of hours we arrived to where the cruise boats depart from – Tuan Chau wharf. The company has its own pier with its own guest lounge where you can wait for departure in comfort, sipping a drink.
Then they invited us on board – 6 passengers in total. The boat (ours was Bhaya Legend) was absolutely wonderful inside out. I felt like my trip was made just by being able to spend the night there. Of course, the itinerary was good too – all the places they took us, all the scenery we saw along the way. The sky was grey, but it didn’t rain and it was warm enough. Had the weather been nicer, my pictures would’ve turned out better, but this is just one tiny thing that doesn’t overshadow the joy of the trip.
Our first stop was at a sea grotto, where they take you in a small rowboat through a water cave. Some people kayak here. Larger boats arrive, everyone gets off and goes for their respective activities, so the place has a little bit of a traffic hub feel to it.
After we got back from the sea grotto to our main boat they took us to a pearl farm. I love pearls, and it was interesting for me to see how they are being cultivated.
When we got back to the boat again it started getting darker, and it was time for dinner (food was delicious throughout the whole cruise), and then the boat stopped and anchored for the night. Thus ended day 1.
Day 2 started with a visit to a limestone cave – there’s many of them in Halong Bay, and tour operators will pick one for the itinerary. By the way, itineraries, apparently, change – I’ve checked Bhaya Cruises website and now for the same cruise they offer a totally different set of sightseeing points than 2 years ago. At the time of my visit the cave on our itinerary was Sung Sot Cave.