Our journey started on a bus from Hanoi to Halong Bay harbour where we got on an iconic junk boat (no longer brown but white, thanks to the government). The journey took about 3 hours, but the drive was very scenic and gave us a touch of what rural life in Vietnam is like.
Upon arriving at the harbour (heads up, the bathrooms are not in a good state), we were transferred to our junk boat via a small ferry. All the while getting a sneak peak of the famous 775 limestone islands of Halong Bay.
Finally we get onto our junkboat, and it simply took our breath away. Dark wood filled the inside, our rooms where perfect for one-night, and the deck was more than we could have imagined. Our tour group used Halong Sails.
We were ready to relax, but then the food started coming. If you go on a junk boat overnight, make sure to go hungry. We had dish after dish after dish of seafood (so a heads up for those true red meat lovers). Everything was out of this world, the only downside is that we got so used to prawns it was hard to adjust to their price back home.
After lunch, we had time to chill on the deck followed by a visit to the well-known Sung Sot Caves (careful for the big crowds), then kayaks to see some monkeys. The next morning (after a big night) we were awoken with more food including fish, and even a post-breakfast snack. We were stuffed!
Everything was as beautiful and unique as the pictures you’ve seen. I have to admit that it was sad to see a fair amount of litter in the water. Other than that we had an experience that will stay with us forever.
If you are about to travel to Halong Bay, then remember to take in every second and focus on being present. One night goes by so quickly and this tranquil part of the world deserves your full attention.