My job allows me to visit a lot of Alaska on a yearly basis. I wanted to capture the trips in one location!

Ha Long Bay Cruise

on January 6, 2020

Dec. 14-16, 2019

We opted for the 2 night 3 day (though it is only 48 hours) cruise as there was more optional day trips with this, and we were not let down.IMG_3162

Again ride picked us up at 9:30 and we had about a 2 hour ride to the bay. By noon we were loaded on a small boat that took us out to our larger boat. The small boat was tied to the back of the larger boat the entire time and what was used to get us back and forth to our day trips.

Everyone on our boat (14 of us) had been upgraded from a 4 Star to a 5 Star cruise. Did any of us now what that meant, nope but we sure did like the small numbers. There were more staff than there were guests.IMG_3049IMG_3054

Our room was so nice, we were a bit taken aback. But we enjoyed it a lot. We laughed at the first meal however as the dining hall has room for 52 people to eat and again there were 14 of us, so the tables were set per group. Every long table with seating for 8 had 2 placemats and that was it. By day 2 we asked if we could move over with a mom/son from England that we had enjoyed chatting with, and of course it was no problem, but the segregation to start with was funny.

There are 1970 Islands in Ha Long Bay. On afternoon #1 we took small boat over to land where we were able to hike up about 100 steps and go into some caves.IMG_3072DSCN6760DSCN6778IMG_2991IMG_2901DSCN6958.JPG

Afterwards Happy Hour had 2:1 drinks (still high for Vietnam rates) and got demonstration on how to make fresh spring rolls, followed by dinner.

After breakfast on day 2 we went back on small boat to shore then rode bicycles for about 2 miles to a small rural village. The similarities to Rural Alaska were quite amazing. There is a lot of subsistence living and they do all they can to live off the land. The folks could (and some do) move to the bigger cities but the CHOSE to remain (or return) to the community where they were born and raised and where their families are located. There is a K-6 school in the community but after that if folks want schooling they need to go to the bigger community and live there to attend school, it is hard for them.

Families have small plots of land that they farm. We saw a demonstration on how to make rice wine and sampled a few different versions. Hibiscus, banana, honey, cobra (as in snake) but they all taste like pure raw alcohol.OFIT9021IMG_3097IMG_3117IMG_3119

After riding back to boat we then had a chance to go swimming…wasn’t too warm outside and the water wasn’t that warm but we went anyways. Once we were in it felt good. Kayaking was an option for the afternoon, but we opted to sit on our deck and read/enjoy the scenery. Food demonstration that night was fried egg rolls.IMG_3148

The last day morning was basically breakfast and packing before disembarking at noonish.   Our van then took us back to Hanoi but since we were flying out that evening we had them drop us at a mall (I know odd ) that was not too far from airport, but a place we could waste a few hours of time.

All in all the cruise was a nice time and we enjoyed the folks on the boat with us, especially Tina who was the staff member who took care of us.

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