I must admit that I wasn’t really aware of Halong Bay until recently. It is listed as a world heritage site and as one of the modern wonders of the world but it probably got more publicity from an episode of Top Gear! We booked up as an excursion from Hanoi, 2 days and one night aboard a boat in the bay. Unfortunately for all the beauty and natural majesty of the limestone monoliths in the bay it has become a bit of a tourist conveyor belt. There are countless boats following similar routes and stopping off at the same cave complex, kayaking in the same lagoon and hiking the same island. However it doesn’t detract fully from the experience and it does demonstrate that the Vietnamese certainly know how to exploit their natural resources.
Our boat slept around a dozen people which was quite a decent number, we had managed to avoid being booked on a party boat with 2 or 3 times that number who were half our age and spent all day drinking!
Waking up on the boat with the views across the bay is truly wonderful. As well as the activities listed above we had an onboard cooking class making spring rolls. I had misunderstood and thought this was our lunch so filled up on them only to then be told lunch was being served – still managed to eat more though😀.