Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

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To see my other Vietnam Travel Series posts please check out how to pack light for VietnamHanoi, and Sapa Valley, Vietnam.

This post will mostly contain photos. Unfortunately at this part of our trip, the lens broke on my Lumix GM1, so most of these photos are from my iPhone and the quality is not the best. It was also quite cloudy and overcast on this part of the trip. Nevertheless, Ha Long Bay is quite beautiful and was a sight for sore eyes after the hectic vibe of Hanoi and the intense hiking in Sapa Valley.

We boarded our ship on the Bhaya Cruise line shortly after getting off the overnight train in Hanoi. To say we were exhausted and ready to relax was quite the understatement. I now understand why this part of our itinerary was at the end leg of the trip.

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Map of Ha Long Bay and the area we cruised around.

The cruise lasted a total of 24 hours. We were served lunch, cooked dinner together, then had an amazing brunch the following morning. Our dinner was a Vietnamese cooking lesson – we rolled spring rolls and made all sorts of seafood that was caught off the ship. While we weren’t off the boat on small excursions, Elaine and I were sipping mojitos on the deck and enjoying the gorgeous views.

Some of many photos I took on the cruise:

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Flag of Vietnam on our ship
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Misty views

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View at mealtimes 

Elaine and I had the option to go kayaking, which was a blast. It was truly amazing to see the parts of the bay up close. However, you also see the insane amount of trash that people throw off their boats, littering the water almost as if it were a street in Korea. I was not impressed in the slightest, and no doubt this is due to the increase in tourism around the area.

The next morning we went on a tiny excursion to see the Secret Caves. Formed by the water, these caves have played an integral part during the Vietnam War as a hiding spot. It was fascinating to hear the history of it all, not to also mention they were stunning.

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Our cruise ship was lovely. We’ve had many friends go on the “junk boats” around Ha Long Bay, but we paid the extra money to have a nice boat. It was worth it. There were only 8 passengers on board (us being the only Americans, the rest were French) and it was an intimate experience. We were well taken care of and enjoyed every bit of it.

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All of the passengers plus our guide

Although I wish we had more sunshine, Ha Long Bay was stunning, and far more so in person than these photos could ever convey. It was a quick jaunt to that side of Vietnam, but I am so glad we went. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of our entire trip.

Once the cruise was over, our guide Tintin picked us up and took us back to Hanoi. We had one more night in the city and spent our time getting egg coffee, last minute gifts, had a massage, and ate an amazing dinner at our hotel. We flew out the next day, exhausted and ready to go home but thankful for the adventure we had together. Until next time, Vietnam! ❤

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Ha Long Bay is most certainly worth your time ❤

Kisses & Kimchi,

Elizabeth

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