For some of us, there are places that we never would have thought we would be lucky enough to come across. But when inspired, you may find yourself within a little part of the world that a few years ago felt like galaxies away. Ha Long Bay was one of those places for me, until now.
I’d seen pictures, articles, and images about what this slice of heaven was going to be like, but nothing compared to actually taking a junk boat through the limestone mountains. The mountains are endless, one after the other, big and small, it seemed to be a jungle full. Not as I imagined it would be with just a few mountains here and there, it was a maze full. 1969 different limestone mountains to be exact!
I went with a tour called Majestic Cruises, as there are a million and one junk boats around the bay, there is an oodle of cruises to pick from. But Majestic Cruises fed you huge feasts fit for a King (breakfast, lunch and dinner), entertained you with karaoke and had the friendliest staff at your service 24/7.
Most of the tours are overnight tours, however you are able to do a few nights jumping from boat to boat if you wish to extend your stay. For those who suffer from sea sickness, I assure you this is the sort of cruise that can be enjoyed. On the boat, sleeping and walking around when you are somewhere amongst the abundance of mountains, it is calm and does not feel like a boat at all. I remember lying in bed, forgetting that I was on a boat. Sea sickness is not a possibility in Ha Long Bay.
Majestic Cruises (and every other cruise) takes you to a little Island called Ti Tôp Island. Here, up 400 steps you win a breathtaking view of Ha Long Bay.
Not only can you walk up the mountain to possibly the best view you will ever see, but you can also swim, sun bake and enjoy an ice cream or two. But watch out for the jelly fish, they tend to creep up on people on a daily basis.
Dong Thiên Cung
This cave within a mountain has been recently discovered. Everyday tourists can not walk all the way to the top, but when you do get as high up as you can, there is a pretty awesome view.
Walking through the mountain is just as mystical as the view that sits right outside. Our Majestic tour guide pointed out figures made out of the rock such as a laughing Buddha, a crocodile, a monkey and Romeo and Juliet. He urged us to use our imagination and see what else we could spot.
As you could imagine, with all these mountains and bays there’s bound to be a canoeing spot right? Enjoy canoeing around the mountains and through secret (not so secret) caves as you engulf the natural smells of the ocean. Your tour guide will guide you on which one is the best to do depending on where you are situated around Ha Long Bay, and canoeing all depends on the weather.
When it comes to jumping off the boat into the water of Ha Long Bay, be careful as the water is filled with thousands of jelly fish. It’s safer to wait and go to an island where it is safe to swim, where you will only come across a few jellyfish.
Why Majestic Cruises?
Majestic Cruises pick you up and drop you off from your hotel in Hanoi. The trip is roughly a four hour drive to Ha Long Bay from Hanoi, with a toilet stop along the way. The food at the rest stops is expensive, so I advise bringing some of your own snacks.
The staff on Majestic Cruises are extremely approachable and willing to help you out with whatever it may be. They interact with you and also allow you to have your down time. Also the food was a heap, and you will not be leaving your time in Ha Long Bay on an empty stomach. They cater for everyone, from vegetarians to meet lovers, so the array of food is endless.
Ha Long Bay is something every traveller, mountain enthusiast and globe trotter lover needs to visit. It will continue to amaze you from sunrise to sunset, as you sit on the balcony looking out at the calmness of the water and the lights from other junk boats near by.
If you have been to Ha Long Bay, I would love you to comment your experience. Mine was definitely one to remember.