Saturday, April 15, 2023

Ha Long Bay day 1

Ha Long Bay

Breakfast same as the last 2 mornings and time to move on to Ha Long Bay. Limo van picks us up at our hotel, wow, this is a nice way to travel. We are the last ones to be picked up, Andre sits up front with the driver ad I am directly behind him in a really nice bucket seat.

Arrived at reception area for our tour company in Ha Long Bay. I don't think either of us thought this was going to be a city, you kind of expect a nice little village, that it is not. We had about 45 minutes so walked along the water front to the lighthouse, see the cable car coming across to the ferris wheel.

Back to the reception building, unload millions of our dong to pay for our 2 night cruise, and we are off to get on our ship the Dragon Legend. Talking to some others we realize that some people are on for 1 night, some for 2, I purposely chose this ship itinerary as I had read that some 2 night ships go back to port to change passengers each night, I am a little disappointed. 

The beautiful scenery starts pretty much as soon as you leave the port. Any pictures we have seen does not do it justice. We are eating lunch inside today, it is raining and the sky is quite black, it does not look good. It is a nice lunch, there is a single man seated with us, he is here on work and has the weekend off so decided to do a 1 night tour. In or van on the way here there was a group of 4 people also here for work that are also doing the 1 night tour. Interesting to speak to all of them about their work, from climate change, environment, to retail practices, they were from all over the world, Australia, US, Philippines, Netherlands, so interesting.

The rain pretty much stops after lunch, we have a little time to sit on deck before we have our first off ship activity. There are 2 transfer boats tied up to our ship, we are taken off to a small fishing village called Wung Vieng. Our cruise manager is from a little village not far from here. This fishing village has prospered from tourism. They now have a school for children, and they have an oyster farm and shop set up to purchase pearl jewellery. We start off by 6 people per small row boat being taken on a 1 hour tour around some of the limestone islands. So pretty. Our boat contained the 3 tallest men on the cruise, including our new lunch friend, we had a few laughs about the poor woman we had rowing our boat. It is exactly opposite to how we would row a boat, we would think they are making more work for themselves, maybe we do it backwards. Here the rower faces frontwards not backwards. There is a lot of chattering going on between the 4 boat drivers, turns out 2 of the people in our boat do not have a life jacket on, this seems to be causing all kinds of concern. Our cruise director is in one of the boats, he tells us that there is a $1,000 fine per person if the police see us, I wonder when the police were last out here. Our boat tour ends at the oyster farm, we get a little demonstration on the different type of pearls and oysters. Then off to the jewellery shop, our wallets are no lighter, I think we did see one couple purchase something.

Back to the main ship and it has turned out to be a very nice afternoon. Time for beverages on board as we sail to our destination for the night. We see that the tables are being set outside for dinner tonight, I love eating outside so very happy to see this. Cocktails are ordered while we enjoy the gorgeous scenery, cocktail budget has to go up for this part of the trip, not as pricey as the speakeasy but definitely pricier than we have paid for a while.

Nice dinner outside, we asked the 2 people that were seated on their own if they wanted to join us, lots of fun talking to them. One was Liam the guy that has been stuck with us up to now when tables were set as 3, and Amy joined us tonight, she is hosteling it, and this was a splurge for her. Funniest part was they turned off the lights and came out singing happy birthday, Amy looks at us one of you, no no, then we realize it is Liam. So so funny, they ask for your birthday when you book the cruise, his is on Tuesday so they brought him a cake. Lots of laughs over how funny it would have been if they brought him out the cake and he was seated all by himself.

Dinner over and it is time to go fishing off the back of the ship. We are fishing for squid, so lots of lights are on. I manage to catch one, and Andre caught a few little fish on a line that was baited. Enough of that and we call it a night. Day 2 tomorrow, many will be leaving the ship and we will sail further along.

Todays Pictures:

5km wall of mural will need to return

Our VIP van to Ha Long Bay

First really nice highway

Church along the way???

Lots of hotels in Ha Long Bay City

our ship

Went t=for a short walk

Lots of ships in the bay

Our ship

It only rained during lunch

$1.80 US for a beer onboard

Part of a multi course lunch

An excursion at a floating fishing village

They cultivate oysters

Back on board

Sister ship at anchor with us

Open air dinning

The chef and his staff did 3 carvings for us

Fishing after supper
My 2 small fish catch

And 1 squid for Wendy


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