Halong Bay

After a night in Hanoi, we caught a seaplane Monday morning for a 3-day, 2-night cruise in Halong Bay.

The flight from Hanoi took us over bustling Haiphong harbor and out into the Gulf of Tonkin, then over the 2,000 islands peppering Halong Bay, yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Halong harbor, we boarded Bhaya Cruise’s premiere boat, the 55m (180 ft.), 32 cabin, M/V Au Co, then departed. Bhaya had graciously upgraded us to the vessel’s top cabin deck.

We enjoyed lunch while cruising the islands to Cua Van floating fishing village where we kayaked for a while…

… before returning to the ship to steam to Lan Ha Bay, our overnight anchorage. There was a beautiful sunset that first night.

The next morning, we motored along through narrow passages of incredible karst towers and picturesque fishing boats,…

… finally stopping for lunch at the Ho Ba Ham anchorage.

Dale and I opted to stay on board while all the other passengers, including our travel mates, went kayaking again.

It was nice to have the entire ship to ourselves for a couple hours.

After lunch, we motored to a private lagoon operated by Bhaya on Cat Ba Island…

… where we were ferried ashore to ride bicycles to Viet Hai village. After visiting the village and returning to the Au Co, we lounged on our room’s balcony, watching the islands slip by as the boat returned to our first night’s mooring for a second night.

I could have spent the entire day doing this.

Another gorgeous sunset, a tour of the engine room and bridge, and then a barbecue on the top deck for the final night. We returned to port the next morning as the day’s tourist boats headed out:

Relaxed, refreshed and surfeited, we were greeted by Loc at the Bhaya dock with a plan for the afternoon and evening in Hanoi before our overnight train to Sapa.

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