Crusin’ at Ha Long Bay was one of my travel goals or should I say a wish came true. I actually voted for Ha Long Bay as one of the Natural Wonders of the World!
My enthusiasm to travel in Ha Long Bay started when I watched one of Samantha Browns’ episodes in Vietnam. Indeed, I am a fan of the girl with the best job in the world. As Sam mentioned in Samantha Brown’s Asia, Ha Long Bay came from the Vietnamese words Ha means descending and Long means dragon. It literally translates to Descending Dragon.
Some rock formations are like the same with the dragon’s head and body.
As arriving in Hanoi, I immediately asked my hostel owners if they can help me to book a cruise at Ha Long bay. Same with my Cu Chi Tunnel tour, my Ha Long Bay tour is pre-arranged before I arrived in Vietnam. Since I want to explore Hanoi as well, I opted for a day cruise.
Before the cruise, please make sure to follow some guidelines:
- Passport with valid visa
- Some cash in Vietnamese Dong / USD for personal expenses
- Sun block or insect repellent, sport shoes
- Bring something warm to wear [From Dec till March]
- Cash only, no credit card payment on board
- Travel light, as you can please arrange to keep big luggage at your hotel
This guideline was provided by the travel agency. I paid for $35 for this whole day tour.
Finally, Ha Long Bay cruise!!!!
Same with my Cu Chi Tour, a shuttle arrived to pick me up from my hostel. We also picked up some tourists who will be my companions for this day. I was joined by other 30 travelers from different parts of the world. #unitedcolorsofbenneton
We had a stopover in a local souvenir shop to pee or eat some. After more than 2 hours on the road, we reached Ha Long Bay! Wohooooo!!!
I was very cheerful, kinda teary eye! Finally, it’s no more part of a dream. It is no more an imagination from watching it on our TV set.
We started cruising on an old double-decker boat. Upon arrival, we were treated for a simple lunch, this includes on the one day tour I paid. Sakto, gutom na ko nun eh! 🙂 It was also past 11AM when we arrived. Gladly, I shared my table with two Filipinas, an Aussie named Anita and two other well-mannered tourists.
After lunch, we had the time to witness the beauty of Ha Long Bay. Picture-picture!
Our boat stopped for about an hour to allow tourists for some activities like Kayaking. I thought as well that I can swim, so I brought some clothes (akala mo naman marunong akong lumangoy..lols). But our guide mentioned that we can no longer swim at the Bay since this place is now a protected sanctuary. Nag-agree na lang ako, tutal mukhang malumot na yung area.
To be brief, I stayed at the boat decked to soak everything my eyes can see. It was a good time to relax, chat with other travelers and just be thankful.
After an hour, our boat sailed again. More rock formations were revealed.
Part of the tour is to enter a cave called Thien Cung Grotto or Heaven Palace cave. The cave is about 3,000 square meters. It is been said it was formed 700,000 years ago. The cave is richly ornamented with stalactites and stalagmites. Ang sosyal ko lang, hindi pa ako nakakapasok sa mga kweba ng Pilipinas pero sa Vietnam nakapasok ako. WTF for me!
Note: You have to climb more than 100 steps to reach and leave the cave.
Different kinds of figures were formed like of animals, structures, men, and the Virgin Mary. The cave is preserved well and beautified to be visited.
Nearly an hour, we finished the cave tour. It’s time to go back to our boat and head back home.
While cruising for the last time in Ha Long Bay, I was really astonished how traveling can change one’s perspective. It is not just a pleasure, it should be an individual right.
It will be really better to stay for more than a day at Ha Long Bay. But of course, this day is a day to be more grateful.
My tour guide is one of the stories behind the Bay. I would like to commend him for being extra patient since some tourists walk slower (including me). I heard from other Filipinas that I met on the cruise that his lunch is not prepared when we arrived in the boat. That is why I felt that he is not feeling well by that afternoon. He mentioned while we are on the road, that he left home to support her wife and new born child. He was open to tell everybody how much he misses his family.
At that time, I felt that this is the true story of tourism in Vietnam. It can be a story of other places as well. Yet, this is my tour guide’s story. After hearing this from him, I bowed my head and silently pray for him and his family.
Some compared Ha Long Bay with Coron, Palawan from us, Philippines. From that time, I haven’t been to Coron yet, so idk exactly if it is the same. Well, for me, Ha Long Bay has its own beauty. It has a different story.
If only my tour guide, whom I forgot his name can read this, I want to say THANK YOU AGAIN AND GOD BLESS YOU MORE.
Again, travel proved me that it was never just the place I have been to but also the people I met along the way. They are the true face of traveling.
It was a pleasure to see you, Ha Long Bay! Until we meet again!