I am so behind with the blog posts, but hey, ‘Shit happens’ so they say. After a serious Motherboard failure on my PC which couldn’t be repaired and bootstrapping my other business, Phythian Limited, both time & technical resources seemed to be working against me.
After two months The PC got fixed, after no DELL service in Cambodia, DELL agreed to a free under-warranty repair in Malaysia, which I’ve just got back. I have so many things to write about.
Here is the final blog post on our visit to Vietnam. The very popular & beautiful Ha Long Bay.
With the excellent assistance of Tony, from aptly named ‘Tony’s tours’, a small shop on the north side of Hoan Kiem lake (details below) we chose Cristina Diamond cruises.
What to expect
As a family of four, two young children aged one and three, travel is not always easy. We have a lot of luggage. Originally two large suitcases, easily weighing 30Kg plus, has now been split into three. A changing bag, stroller and two PC equipment rucsacs mean we don’t do boat cruises easily.
We get around this by staying when possible for extended periods in apartments for a month or so at a time. We did that in Hanoi in a great new-build 2-bed apartment (AirBnB) where we could leave our stuff and just take the essentials to Ha Long Bay, meaning one bag for us to share for the one night, two-day cruise.
The coach pick up from Hanoi centre takes approximately three hours to reach the Hon Gai port for embarking. Once arrived we wait for the cruise ship to arrive and we’re on board one hour later via small ferry boats. We sailed off at about 1 pm with the necessary safety briefings over a buffet lunch.
There are a number of excursions during the cruise, which allows you to see more of the area which makes up Ha Long Bay.
The first day after lunch is a visit to Vung Vieng floating village and Pearl farm.
We heard there were many more people who originally lived in the floating villages but were re-settled in Hanoi and the surrounding regions to conserve and beautify the area. The remaining farmers live in the huts for months at a time.
Pearl farming has been a staple industry here for hundreds of years. Because of the previously closed business environment, it was little known in the West. A tour of a Pearl farm and (obligatory) shop finalise the tour.
Beach and Kayak
After the Pearl farm, the boat takes you to Ban Chan beach for a swim and optional kayak session. This is a nice relaxing finish to the day’s activities before returning to the cruise ship.
Thienh Can Sonh Cave
After an early rise to view the sunrise, breakfast and a visit to Thienh Can Son cave. Up a steep and slippy walkway, the views were brilliant of the boats moored in the area.
Once returned and for the return back to port the on-board chef does a demo of some food preparation and the group take part in making fresh spring rolls.
We were lucky with the weather as it made for a beautiful view. As we arrived back in the port, the heavens opened and the squall meant you could barely see 20metres ahead.
We would definitely do this again and recommend this as an essential part of a Hanoi trip. We were concerned from reports beforehand that the area was overcrowded, but that was never the case. We were moored at night with only 3 other boats so felt relatively isolated.
We booked with Tony’s Tours: 116 Cau Go (Next to Cong Caphe), Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Www.halongtripadvisor.com / tonystour.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We sailed with http://cristinadiamondcruise.com/
Next stop: Cambodia, Siem Reap and the gateway to the Angkor temple complex.