About three weeks ago, my aunt and uncle came to visit for a week. Our first visitors! We had a lot of fun showing them around the city. We decided to spend the weekend on a cruise in Bai Tu Long Bay, which is in the greater Halong Bay area. Halong bay is more well known, and also more crowded, so we opted for the quieter three day cruise.
The package included transportation from Hanoi to the ship, which was nice and saved us from having to worry about getting there on time. However, our driver was a stickler for timeliness and hovered around us during the rest stop reminding us of the time.
Our ship, the Dragon Legend, was really nice and spacious, especially considering the cruise was only half full. It’s a more popular destination when the weather is nice enough to swim, although I’m not sure how much swimming I’d do in the bay. The food was really tasty, and included a lot of fish (not shocking since we’re on the ocean). Our waiter, known to us as Tom Cruise, was very friendly and made sure we were taken care of the whole time. The rooms easily accommodated us, including the crib for Oliver, and had beautiful views of the karsts as we sailed past.
The first day I went kayaking with my aunt and uncle while hubby stayed with Oliver on the boat. We thought about taking him kayaking, but we weren’t feeling adventurous enough to jump in after him if he went for a swim. Kayaking gave me an up close view of the karsts at sunset, which was amazing. The guide said if we looked close we could see monkeys, but I’m pretty sure he was just saying that. There are monkeys but they aren’t usually visible during the winter months.
Our second day was action packed. We started the morning visiting floating fishing villages. Our family was rowed in a small rowboat by a local fisher woman through the karsts and different floating homes. We stopped at a floating community area that housed lots of fisheries and a school for the children. I was surprised to see quite a few dogs who lived on these floating homes. Oliver was super excited and hugged one of them. Next, we rowed to another community area that specialized in pearl farming. They explained how they implanted pearls into oysters to create larger pearls, and showed us the different kind of oysters. And, of course, there was a large show room where we could purchase the pearls. (Hubby secretly bought a pair of earrings and gave them to me for Christmas).
After the fisher woman rowed us back, we had lunch on a beach close to the ship. First, we climbed some stone steps to explore a cave which was cool to see. Then the crew served us a BBQ lunch feast on the beach. Oliver was able to go for a swim and play in the ocean a bit, which was a first for him.
The rest of the night was relaxing, and hubby was able to go kayaking this time, while Oliver and I napped and explored the ship. The following day was mostly packing up, and enjoying the view of the karsts in the morning as we sailed back to the harbor.
The trip was a perfect mix of relaxation, adventure and fruity tropical drinks. It was definitely a trip I would do again, and again.