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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beautiful boat for a great tour

This is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been! Halong Bay was breathtaking and a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget. It is no wonder why this place is a UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

We arrived at the pier mid-day and were taken by boat out onto Halong Bay for our 2 day/1night on the Indochina Sails cruise.

This boat was so beautiful! Heavenly. Our stateroom had nice big windows looking out onto the bay, a big comfortable bed and a surprisingly large bathroom for being on a boat and of course it was a place we could crank up the AC. The boat was all dark wood and elegant. The top of the boat was the best part with comfy lounge chairs and umbrellas to escape the mind numbing heat.

We arrived on the boat and were served "welcome drinks" and then sat down to an amazing 7 course lunch (and of course the accommodated my food issues making me special dishes!). The food was ahhh-mazing.

We headed out past Head Island, Turtle Island, Heaven's Gate Island and arrived at Luon Cave. We got to go kayaking in the bay to explore the cave and coves. This was my favorite part of the whole trip!

Then we got back on the boat and sailed over to Tiptop Island where we hiked to the top of the mountain for fantastic views of the bay and then went swimming and relaxed on the beach.

We had a delish dinner buffet on the boat and anchored in the Luon Bo area for the night. After dinner Brad got out his ipad with this cool astronomy app and we sat up on the deck looking at the starts and identifying them with the ipad. You point the ipad at the sky and somehow it knows what you're looking at and it tells you what's up there... my dad would love this.

We slept comfortably on the boat, but I woke up really early and quickly got up on deck so I could enjoy the quiet early morning. I got some coffee and sat up on the boat deck, watching boats and islands pass and I don't think it could have been more peaceful. Brad joined me after awhile and we participated in morning Tai Chi on the sundeck.

Our last excursion was Surprise Cave. I am not a fan of caves, but did not want to miss out on this opportunity. It was a million degrees of tropical heat as we set off for this cave and climbed the stairs with massive amounts of other people.

It was time to go back to the harbor and on our way we enjoyed a big breakfast on board, as well as some breakfast beverages and then went up on the sundeck where we hovered in the shade under the deck umbrellas and enjoyed one last tropical drink.

Of course we had our exciting 4 hour drive back to Hanoi where we saw the same crazy drivers, animals and rice fields, but in reverse. I was sad to leave Halong Bay, I would have loved some more time on the boat and beautiful bay!

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