Halong Bay, Vietnam, you have to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site at least once in your life time. It is really beautiful, with over 1600 limestone karst islands and islets to form a spectacular, breathtaking sea scene. Read more about this tourist attraction on our previous post: Bai Tu Long Bay Vietnam, Halong Bay Less Travelled Thoroughfare.
If you visited Hanoi, Vietnam and plan to experience Halong Bay, we suggest to you to have a 2 days 1 night trip there, as Halong Bay is about 4 hours drive from the city. It will be too hectic to join 1 day itinerary. For travellers who have more time, some Halong Bay Cruises also offer 3D2N itinerary.
We felt grateful to join Huong Hai Sealife Cruise to Halong Bay, a 5 star luxury cruise arranged by Hanoi Morgans Hotel. Albeit a little expensive, everything was perfect from activities arrangement, food, service, cabins and cleanliness. Another plus point is, Huong Hai Sealife Ha Long Cruise sailed along Bai Tu Long Bay, which is less crowded (*there was only two cruises overnight with us), ideal for travellers who look for more quiet, less touristy area like Ha Long Bay. Just, we miss the chance to see Fighting Cock, one of the most iconic karst in Halong Bay.
Halong Bay DAY 1
7.30AM Shuttle Van pick up from hotel
Our 2D1N trip to Halong Bay begin early in the morning, at 7.30AM, where a luxury van came over to Hanoi Morgans Hotel to pick us up. Halfway, the van stopped at a handicapped art and craft centre, where we could have a rest, buy some drinks and made purchase on souvenirs handmade by handicapped.
11.30AM Arrived at Vinashin Tourist Harbour
We then continued our bumpy journey and reached Vinashin Tourist Harbour at around 11.30AM. A lively harbour with many boats, busy workers, restaurant, cafes, mini market and stalls. Weather was so hot like summer, even though it was already end of November.
12.30PM Embark on Huong Hai Sealife Ha Long Cruise
Around noon, we embarked on Huong Hai Sealife Cruise, enjoyed welcome drinks while Cruise Manager giving short speech on the itinerary, important safety guideline on boat. Finally get to check in to our cabin (Just like normal hotel Deluxe Room, but they call it as cabin) and have some rest.
Lovely cabin with comfortable bed. So excited that we had a small outdoor balcony to ourselves. We can enjoy the beauty of the bay any we want. Not all cruises in Halong Bay offer this!
Each cabin is equipped with basic amenities like drinking water, hair dryer, towel, toiletries. With limited space, Huong Hai Sealife place a jacuzzi in the bathroom! So nice.
1.00PM Sailed across famous islets and have delicious lunch
We moved to cruise’s restaurant to have lunch, while it sailed among famous Islets including Indochine Studio, Am Islets, etc. of Bai Tu Long Bay, which has wildest beauty with panoramic natural views. Lunch was served in buffet style, not splendid spread as in a premium 5-star hotel (*remember, you are on a boat) but everything was good. We especially like the steamed fish with soy sauce, and of course, Vietnamese spring roll.
2.30PM Explore Co Cave and swimming at Hon Co Island
Time flies. By 2.30PM, we were in Co Cave, which is also known as Thien Canh Son Cave. It is a well-hidden, huge cave helmed with mysterious beauty. Countless stalactites and stalagmites, forming impressive, untouched natural beauty.
We took about 30 minutes exploring the cave, then switched to Hon Co Island for leisure walk and swimming. It was scorching hot, so we just hide behind a big stone and rest. Asking the tour guide whether it is normal for November weather in Halong Bay, he answered : No. Haha. We were told that by this time, it should be early of winter, suppose colder. Maybe due to change of weather, Halong Bay is still hot in November this year.
4.30PM Kayaking at Cong Do or relaxed on cruise
The itinerary was followed with kayaking at 4.30PM but since both of us can’t swim (So we always have “if I fell into the sea I will die straight away” that kind of feeling), we choose to stay on boat, relax, soak away aches and pain in jacuzzi whirlpool. LOL
6.00PM Vietnamese Spring Roll Cooking Demonstration
We attended chef’s cooking demonstration and tried our skills in wrapping traditional Vietnamese spring roll in the evening. Had few deep fried spring rolls too. Awesome Vietnamese staple, enveloping minced meat, vegetables and traditional dressing within pipping hot, crispy deep fried rice paper.
7.15PM Dinner Set Menu
An hour later, we proceeded to restaurant at first deck to enjoy our dinner. A set menu that covered deep fried squid ball, salad, baked mussels, baked fish with rice, and round up with sweet crepe as dessert. Definitely well fed. NOTE: drinks are not included in all meals, whether you are ordering mineral water, beer, wine, coffee, tea or fruit juice. Only coffee and tea will be provided in second day breakfast and brunch.
9.00PM Free & Easy
Since we were “in the middle of the sea”, wifi signal is generally bad. If we want to watch movie, we need to ask from receptionist and choose the movie we like, which are stored in USB. Board games, squid fishing activities are interesting too. We saw some guests going for Massage & Spa service (not included in package). For us, we went to the upper deck, sit back and admiring a starry night.
Halong Bay Day 2
6.30AM Tai Chi Session
Yes, we skipped this. Hahahaha. It was too early for us (or just we were too lazy to wake up for a healthy activity?).
7.30AM Visit Vung Vieng Village
Visited Vung Vieng Village, a floating fishing village located in the heart of Bai Tu Long Bay. Here, we got into mini bamboo boat, sailed across some islets. We managed to get close with these limestone towers, formed after million years. Impressive, yet filled with peace. Activity we love the most!! Sadly, not sure why we were back to vessel without having the chance to observe the process of pearl feeding.
9.00AM Check out from cabin, had brunch and back to Vinashin Harbour
There’s only one activity on the second day, back to vessel, packed our things and checked out. Brunch was served while the cruise sailed back to Vinashin Tourist Harbour. Brunch selections was great too- fluffy omelette, tummy warming pho, healthy salads, bread, fruits, cakes, coffee and tea.
12.00PM Back to Hanoi, Vietnam
We were back to Vinashin Tourist Harbour around noon. 24 hours in Halong Bay was officially ended. Tiring, but fruitful.
More information on Huong Hai Sealife Cruise HERE.