Friday, July 3, 2009

Jasmine Cruise - Halong Bay

No trip to Hanoi is complete without a visit to Halong Bay. For USD150 we each paid on a 2D1N cruise on board the Jasmine Junk was worth every single cent - great food, superb hospitability, 5 star junk. 'Horsey' dropped his phone before we got off the boat and only realized it on the way back. With excellent customer service, the phone was delivered back to our hotel in Hanoi, 3 hrs away, 7 hours later. Thank you Tim from the Jasmine and Mai Anh from 'Cruises of IndoChina'.

The Jasmine Junk which completed renovation works on July 1, the very same day we boarded the junk.
Our little cosy room.

The dining area

With great lunch like this, who wouldn't want to be on this cruise. For dinner, we had seafood buffet with plentiful fresh king prawns, sea bass, clams, beef, pork, squid, wings...yummmm
The cruise takes us to Surprise Cave (Sung Sot Cave) which is
12,ooo sqm with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. I've seen better in Guilin but I ain't complaining.
The stunning view from the top of the cave
The scorching sun in addition to the humid weather in the middle of summer was unbearable, but all is forgotten with the breathtaking views of the bay
Waiting for Sunset. On board the cruise.

Cua Van fishing village. According to our guide, these people have lived on floating houses for generations and are very unlikely to move to land. Schooling for young children was only introduced somewhere in 1997. A young village girl selling corals to tourists on the 'tender'. I'm amazed that at such young age, these girls are able to row their sampans with together with their wares to do business.

Night time on board Jasmine. BBQ seafood dinner is served in open air. Perfect with a bottle of Pemberton white wine.

Day 2 takes us to Titop island where we hike up to the top of the island for viewing of the Bay. The 80m climb to the top already had me drenched in sweat and I was too exhausted to take more pictures. And I claim to be a gym goer. Tsk tsk...

The cruise ended with sumptious buffet brunch and we bade farewell to the crew and
thanked them for the fantastic experience. Here's a group photo of us with Sunny (far right), the owner of Jasmine.

I loved every bit of this cruise and this is definitely the highlight of my entire 5 days!!!
More pics of Hanoi to come...right now is time to rest, relax and get back to
my TVB series.
One advice though, try not to go during summer -
us being Kiasu managed to get the $0 air asia fare, that's why we chose this
period to travel. The guys claim that I was virtually drowning in

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