You, Me & Friends “Amazing Places” ***Ha Long Bay***

Day 4 of our ‘Vietnam and The Lost City of Angkor’ Tour saw us head for Ha Long Bay, nestled along the northeastern coast of Vietnam. Renowned for its emerald waters, towering limestone pillars, and lush green islands, Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a must visit destination for travellers seeing awe-inspiring natural beauty.

We arrived at Cat Bai, checked in for our cruise and were directed to the tender which took us out to our ship anchored in the Bay. “Era 1” was a lovely ship, with quite a luxurious feel about her. Most impressive though, were the cabins. 53sqm of cabin – the largest in Ha Long Bay.

Featuring a king bed that was positioned to look directly out through the floor-to-ceiling windows for the gorgeous views, our own generous veranda, a huge bathroom with a freestanding bath that looked out across the bay, and a huge shower that could comfortably accommodate 5! Amazing!!!

As we cruised through the tranquil waters of Ha Long Bay, we were mesmerised by the sheer majesty of its landscape. Thousands of limestone karsts and isles rose dramatically from the sea, creating a surreal seascape that seemed straight out of a fairytale. Legend has it that these karsts were formed by dragons descending from the heavens, their tails carving out the valleys and crevices that now define the bay.

In the afternoon, we got into our swimwear and took kayaks from the back of the boat and paddled to a sandy beach some 300m away. There we swam around the rock formations, before paddling back, and readying ourselves for happy hour on the open-air bar deck, then dinner – another sumptuous set menu.

On day 5, we arose early for the dawn Tai Chi class to see the sun rise quickly between the islands of the Bay, followed by an ample buffet breakfast. The group had decided to do the shore excursion to the beach village, where they were educated on village life, including a show by the local snake charmer!

Back on board there was time for the complimentary massage, then around 6pm we meet again for happy hour, and then another lovely buffet dinner on board.

We arose early again on day 6, ready to start the day with a cup of coffee, then off on the tender to visit the “Light Cave”. The tender took us to a floating pontoon (a former fish farm, that now served as a point for tourists to disembark the modern tender and board traditional wooden row boats). With 6 or 7 to a boat, our “oar-lady” rowed us, with her standing in the stern on a raised platform, while we sat on benches in the hull.

She took us to a tall cliff, then toward a low gap at the base, just big enough for the low boat to go through. After a few moments of stalagmites above the watery darkness, we appeared through the other side to a secluded amphitheatre, some 500m in diameter. All around us, dense jungle covered the steep cliffs. The whole scene was utterly primeval. This was one of the settings that they had used in the movie “King Kong – Skull Island”.

For those seeking adventure, Ha Long Bay offers ample opportunities for rock climbing, hiking, and even scuba diving to discover the vibrant marine life below. Whether you’re cruising on a luxury boat, or exploring the hidden gems of the bay, a visit to Ha Long Bay promises an unforgettable journey through one of Vietnams most spectacular natural wonders.

Oh my gosh, we all had a fantastic day out. Thank you so much. I really didn’t expect to like all those weird and wonderful snacks during the "Curious Food Train" activity, and didn’t think they would all participate. The staff all keep thanking us for such a great day. Looking forward to next years event!