Monday, 5 December 2011

on the way to Halong Bay ......

Only one night in Hanoi and we were off on our 3D2N cruise of Halong Bay .....

When planning our trip we had been 'warned' by many people to choose the cruise company carefully - and we did.  We heard many complaints prior to our cruise and since of other companies that just dont make the grade when it comes to service, ammentities and safety. 

We chose Indochina Junk and extremely happy we did so.

Please note that when searching "Indochina / sail / cruise" via google, another company with very similar name pops up. They also have similar named junks!

The Indochina Junk Company we used was this one:

This company is also into "For a Green Halong Bay" and is very supportive of keeping the bay clean with many projects in place already. 

Indochina Junk always concerns that how could we preserve the invaluable Halong Bay Heritage while we keep building more new boats and tourism is blooming there. That explains our "For a Green Halong Bay" program has been implemented and achieved outstanding results.

just a few of the projects involved are:

1. Collecting and treating waste in Halong Bay.
2. Changing all the Styrofoam floats underneath the floating houses by plastic floats which can be durable, long lasting and safe for environment.
3. Providing life jackets to the local fishermen
4. Re-planting mangrove forests in Halong Bay
5. Building new floating schools for the children

We also noticed that when out kayaking or walking along the beach area's, the staff picked up any rubbish and carted it back to the junk.

anyway, I digress ......
we chose this company for many reasons, but perhaps more due to recommendations by friends and others in the forum on TripAdvisor too.

I logged onto their website (link available below) and chose a double cabin on the second level for 3days/2nights including a 5.5 hour tour of the Yen Duc Village.  Total cost was $568.00 for the two of us including pick up and drop off at our hotel. (this is high season price for November 2011)

We were picked up by shuttle bus at 8.15am and arrived at Halong Bay departure point at 12.30 .... the 4 hour journey included the inevitable 'tourist trap' (disguised as a toilet / rest stop) with a visit to a large souvenir store that sold everything, though mostly marble. But a wander around the garden area allowed us to stretch our legs before boarding the bus again.

The scenery along the way looked like this:

We soon arrived at our destination and taken to a large outdoor lounge area to meet our English speaking guide (nicknamed "smiley") and he went through what was expected over the next few days on board.  At that point, on looking across the bay it did not instill much confidence ..... all I could see were junk boats everywhere. As seen in the (top) image below.

There were 21 of us on board, varying ages and physical ability.  It was just as well we only took a small day pack each as seen by the amount of luggage on board the Tender as it took all of us across the bay onto the Dragons Pearl 3:

we were soon welcomed on board the Dragons Pearl 3 and off we went ....


HANOI KIDS- volunteer tour guides - hotel can organise if you book well ahead.

KOTO Restaurant  - hotel can book a table for you. 

This is the fifth of many blog postings of our visit to Hanoi and beyond. 

So stay tuned!!

No comments: