on February 21, 2011
The first thing I noticed was the silence. And it was loud. Once I stepped aboard my junk cruise, it was like being swept away into quietness that is, um, unheard of in the cities of Vietnam. Our trip kickstarted with an excellent seafood lunch with so many dishes that I lost count. It was fine dining, with white tablecloths, silverware and booth seating. Next, we were shown our cabins. My sister and I shared a twin room, complete with down comforters, comfortable beds, ensuite bathroom, hot water, and even heat! To our surprise, it was probably one of the nicest places we had stayed on our trip. Excursions for the day included a kayak trip (highly recommended), a cave (quite vast), and an optional tour into a fishing village by guided rowboat (USD$5). Aside from these activities, there was ample time to simply sit up on deck and soak in the scenery and silence. Sailing through the limestone cliffs and watching life go by in the floating villages was not something I'd want to rush through. However, since it was late January, my five layers were not enough to outlast the onset of the evening chill. When it was time for dinner, it rivaled the service, quality and abundance as lunch. Afterwards, people spent time singing karaoke, talking, playing cards, or reading. It was definitely worth staying overnight and waking up with the view of Halong Bay. However, the following morning was a noticeable difference in the quality of the tour. Breakfast and lunch were both mediocre, and activities were not offered. Overall, I would strongly recommend Dragon Heart Cruise Tours. For USD$65/person, it is great value for money. If you go for something cheaper, the quality of your meals, the number of passengers, the hassle of transport, and your accomodations all get compromised. We heard that FantaSea Adventures also come recommended.
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