“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.”
Travel date: Dec 2014
When I booked my Hanoi Vietnam trip, HALONG BAY was really the main destination I wanted to go to. The Halong Bay Cruise I went on is one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had. I learned so much and this cruise is something that I will always be grateful for.
CHOOSING A HALONG BAY CRUISE
Planning a Halong bay trip is really hard. You have A LOT of tours to choose from, I mean literally a lot! If you could have seen the links that I consolidated, it would exceed half a page or so. You can choose from 1 to 3 day tours, so many types of cruises, and so many kinds of boats! It was so hard to choose just one given all the itineraries, pictures, and reviews. I had to read a lot of those “How to choose the best Halong bay cruise” articles and blogs. There are cruises for backpackers, mid-range budget travellers, and luxurious tourists. There are for those who want to relax, those who want to do tai-chi exercises, those who want to hike & climb mountains, those who want to party, those who want to do cooking classes, and many more.
I decided to choose the PARTY CRUISE that my hostel was offering. I really wanted to meet a lot of foreigners that were my age and I knew this cruise was the one I was meant to go on. My booking dates were Dec 1 -2, I knew I had to kick off my December 2014 with a bang and I knew a party cruise was the best activity to do to achieve that!
I availed the 2 days/1 night party cruise and here is the link to the itinerary hanoisportshotel.com/en/daily-tours/daily-tours/halong-bay-cruises/42-halong-party-cruises.htm (USD85)
FROM HANOI TO HALONG BAY
From my hostel, I was picked up by a tour guide along with other tourists and was led to our bus. From Hanoi to Halong Bay, it takes about 3-4 hours which includes a 30 minute stop over at a souvenirs shop. Arriving at the harbor, we had to wait for others who would be on the cruise with us.
At the harbor, I already made some conversations with really cool girls from Chile and Brazil.
ACCOMMODATION: THE BOAT
Our tour guide, ZOOM ZOOM, led us to a speed boat (we were 23) that took us to our PARTY CRUISE.
The boat was big! Not titanic big but big! You can’t really feel it rocking. The deck was great. It had sun bathing chairs, a foosball table, flags, and a platform wherein people can jump from. The rooms and bathrooms were really clean too. The food was good – some Vietnamese dishes, and a typical breakfast of toast, jams, and eggs.
Since it was December, IT WAS VERY COLD. It was drizzling most of the time and the wind was strong too. It was not the weather I expected to have on this cruise but it was still such a good experience. I’m just glad the tour wasn’t cancelled. Everyone just made the most out of the cruise. One of the best moments I had with the cold weather was when I drank very hot coffee during breakfast overlooking the bay on the deck, appreciating, and just feeling the cold wind on my face. The moment was irreplaceable.
THE PARTY/BOOZE CRUISE EXPERIENCE
I am not a party girl. I don’t drink a lot or smoke. I just like making conversations and learning a lot from people and that is what I did. For the whole trip, I tried to talk to as much people as I can just trying to get to know them and their culture more. There were people from Brazil, Scotland, Italy, Germany, Colombia, Chile, Singapore, Australia, UK and others. I met a nurse, a sex therapist, people who just quit their jobs & travelled, a person who has a lot of jobs and many others.
I have to say that this was such a learning experience. These are experiences that I know I will never get to come across in school and day to day work life. Travel does make you richer, rich in experience and knowledge. I am very inspired by everyone’s stories & experiences.
During my conversations, I would ask this one question to them: IF YOU COULD SHARE AN ADVICE TO A STRANGER LIKE ME, JUST ONE ADVICE, ANY ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
These are some of the answers that I got in summary:
1. Make compromises
2. Just smile. If you’re nice to people, they’ll be nice back. If they’re not, you still have to be nice.
3. Be grateful (This one I really love!). Just be grateful because if you are, great things will come into your life.
4. Be content with the things that you have. You have a lot more blessings than you think.
5. Never give too much of yourself in a relationship.
6. Just be yourself.
7. Just say it! If you feel something, just say it. If it is something risky, then it should be a risk that you are willing to take. Just say it! Are you really better off not saying it and just keeping the feelings to yourself rather than getting the things out of your chest and revealing a real part of yourself to someone?
8. Have fun! Enjoy life! Drink!
9. Sex is something that you should share with someone that you are comfortable with. Have it with someone you’ve enjoyed talking to.
10. Travel a lot. It may be expensive and is something that you really have to work hard for, but all the hard work will reap great benefits if you travel.
These are just some of the advices I remember. I know there are more. But after talking to a lot of people and having so many conversations, these are just the ones that stuck.
A lot of activities happened during this cruise. We ate. We went to a paradise cave which was extremely touristy but nice. People drank & smoked. Some jumped off the deck to the sea. I didn’t try this because it was TOO cold and I didn’t want to risk getting sick (I know, KJ. Haha). While some were swimming, I played foosball with others and the guides on the boat deck which was really great.
After afternoon activities, conversations, and dinner, the night was getting young and the party started. We all danced, drank, played card games, and sang our hearts out. It was really such a great experience to see everything – different cultures coming together in the middle of such a beautiful place.
I’M TRULY GRATEFUL FOR THIS EXPERIENCE. I really recommend YOU to try this travel experience. It’s meaningful. It’s bucket list worthy. It’s a learning experience and so much more. THANK YOU TO ALL MY NEW FOUND FRIENDS. IF YOU’RE IN MANILA, TELL ME. I’ll gladly show you around our great city & let’s plan your beach trips around the Philippines!
I am very grateful for the money that I paid for these amazing travel blessings:
|Halong Bay Party Cruise 2D/1N c/o Hanoi Sports Hotel
Transportation from/to Hanoi
Food (Lunch 1, Snacks, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch 2)
1 night accommodation on boat and amenities
Complimentary drink (wine)