During my travels around Vietnam a few months ago I spent 2 days and 1 night aboard a much smaller boat than I am used to with cruising. This is a fantastic way to experience the beautiful scenery and there are one day options available if you are lucky enough to docking up in Ha Long Bay from a cruise.
We boarded a shuttle which was included from Hanoi to Ha Long bay which took about 4 hours. We arrived at our boat at around midday and were taken on a small tender boat to our home for the night on ‘Rosa Cruise’. The boat holds just 21 passengers and the cabins were tiny. Luckily there was lovely deck space and a restaurant/bar, so we didn’t have to spend too much time in there!
We had full board included and as this was such a small ship, we were easily able to chat and get to know the other passengers (a lot of whom were English). We had lunch when we boarded which consisted of mostly sea food, meat and salads as we sailed into beautiful Ha Long bay. The scenery is truly breath-taking, and you can sit and just watch the views for ages (with a cocktail in hand of course!)
We visited the pearl farm first. I’ll be honest, this wasn’t a highlight for me as I felt like they were just trying to sell me something and I don’t have much interest in pearls. After that short stop we were able to have some time kayaking and swimming in the bay which was a fantastic experience!
We enjoyed happy hour cocktails before dinner in the evening which was delicious. Followed by trying my hand at squid fishing. I’m not sure why but the squids didn’t seem to like me. Some of the other passengers managed to catch them though! We had an early night as we had early start in the morning at 6:30 for Tai Chi on deck. This was a nice, relaxing way to start the day. Followed by breakfast and then a visit to Sum Sot Cave. These caves are beautiful, and you can get some amazing views from the top. This is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties however as a lot of steps.
After this we took part in a cookery class making our own spring rolls and then enjoyed eating them (along with many other delicious dishes) for lunch). After lunch we reluctantly disembarked for our coach journey back to Hanoi.
I will blog about some of the other amazing places I visited on my Vietnam adventure in the future.