Ha Long Bay – a cruise that made us amazing

Our second stop on our tour through Vietnam was Ha Long Bay, in the North of the country. It’s an incredibly beautiful bay with thousands of limestone mini islands dotted around.

We had a 24 hour cruise booked on a small boat with 10 or so rooms.

A stripy couple on the small boat that took us to the cruise ship.

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And this was our boat where we stayed over night.

Halong Bay

Matt’s favourite position on deck, especially during the midday heat when everyone else was seeking the shade and air con.S0259025

And these were the views that we had from the boat most of the time. Really stunning.Halong Bay Halong Bay

We arrived on the boat at about noon and then had a really nice lunch. Actually, I have to say that the food on the boat was very good! Even though the maid of the Singaporean family who shared our table whispered that she could cook these dishes much better.

We were only 11 people on the boat and did all the activities together, like for example visiting the Amazing Cave in the afternoon.

We were collected by another one of those little boats where they make you wear mouldy life vests and taken to a cave which our guide said was called “The Amazing Cave” and he promised us that “it will make you amazing” – just like most things that he showed us on this cruise.

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Amazing cave

So yes, pretty good cave! Our guide did the usual thing that all cave guides seem to do which is pointing out shapes of stalactites and stalagmites which look like an animal or a boat or a whatever. Same old hat. But then he said he will now show us THE main thing which “will really make you amazing” and which is where the Amazing Cave got its name from.

Here it is.

Amazing cave

Yes, we all see what you see. It’s not your dirty mind. There is no room for interpretation. The guide spent about 10 minutes talking about this “amazing” formation which apparently had several names including “cannon” and newlyweds often go to pray to the cannon if they want to have boys and the slight indentation on the wall opposite the cannon is the ying to the yang and so on. The whole time all I could think about was what we were really looking at (and others in our group felt the same – I did a survey after). But our guide managed to tip-toe around it and not mention any x-rated words at all. And we all listened to his explanations like grown ups. Not a single comment or even a giggle.

Amazing.

Upon exiting the cave we were promised some more amazing views – this time completely innocent.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

We were then taken to this small beach for some swimming and relaxing before getting back on our cruise ship.

Halong Bay

This guy came rowing up to our little taxi boat to offer his goods. Unfortunately I didn’t have any money on me, otherwise I would have bought something. I was quite impressed by his floating corner shop!

Floating shop

Floating shop
Then it was dinner time on the boat with some fancy illuminated pineapple. It turned out that it was one couple’s wedding anniversary and the staff had prepared a cake for them which we all shared for dessert. Win!

DinnerThe next day we got up at 5:30am to watch the sunrise – turns out it was too cloudy to really make us amazing, so I just took some quick photos and we went back to bed.Halong Bay

After breakfast we took another boat to a little bay for kayaking. (Photo courtesy of a fellow amazing cruiser from Malta). And we saw monkeys jumping around in the trees high up on the rocks. So cute! Of course the mouldy life vests were back in action too.

Ha long bay kayaking

Then it was time to go back to our cruise ship and have lunch. And that concluded our amazing tour of Ha Long Bay.

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