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Friday, 15 February 2013

Day 2 & 3 in Hanoi
Early in the morning, we waited for our tour guide to pick us up for the Halong Bay trip. Below is the itinerary.
[Feb 15]: Hanoi – Halong Bay (L, D)07:45 - 08:30: Our guide and shuttle bus will pick you up at your hotel and then transfer to Halong city. On the haft way, you have a short breakaround 20 minutes at Hai Duong city where you can experience our hand-madeVietnamese handicraft products such as lacquer wares, paintings, sculptures,embroideries, clothing etc, made by Hai Duong inhabitants and children war victims.After that, we go straight to Halong city.
12:30: Arrive Halong Bay, Welcome aboard with drinks. Checking in and setting sailthrough the mysterious bay whilst an exquisite lunch is served in a relaxing ambiance.Our cruise sails amongst natural rock formations of picturesque beauty; boastingviews of the UNESCO World Heritage unique seascape of Halong Bay, offering anopportunity to admire a collection of sculpted islets with amazing shapes resembling:Fighting Cock islet, Human heads islet, Swans islet, Toads, Finger islet and RockyDog islet
14:30: Visiting Ba Hang (three caves area) floating village by local rowing boat - oneof 4 fishing villages serving major tourist attractions in Halong Bay, located in theregion of well-known three caves, next to Thien Cung (heaven) grotto, Dau Go grotto... only with about 50 families spending their whole lives here. Excursion to floatingvillage: Taking a rowing boat by a local woman and visiting the floating villages offishing folk that will provide you with a unique cultural insight of warm and friendlypeople of the sea who have lived their whole lives aboard tiny bamboo boat.
16:00: Drop anchor in the calm water surrounded by beautiful islets for swimming,kayaking to visit Luon cave, surrounded by luxuriant trees and high dangerous stone walls. Exploring by kayak: After a lesson with our expert on how to paddle safely,you will kayak a maze of incredible rock formations rising majestically from greenwater, every turn will bring you new surprise. Secret passages leading to hiddenlagoons and magical sea caves with a unique ecosystem, getting close to sea creaturesand coral reef.
17:00: Enjoy the complimentary sunset party on the sundeck with local wine andfresh fruits. At this time, our guide also takes this chance to share more about localpeople’s living and customs.
17:30: Join Cooking demonstration.You will be guided by our chef step by step howto make a Vietnamese traditional cuisine. This is a very great chance for you to knowabout their daily life in Northern of Vietnam and understand more Vietnamese ingredients and its substitution that we use for our cooking class on the boat.
19:30: Dinner is served in the restaurant. A perfect moment for talking with friends and having a discussion on the next day’s exploration.
21:00: Relaxing at your cabin or trying squid fishing with the Royal crew, watching a movie, having a drink at the bar, internet access or playing exciting games. Overnighton board.
[Feb 16]: Halong Bay – Hanoi (B, L)07:30: Light Breakfast, coffee and tea served, while sailing to Sung Sot cave
08:30: Drop anchor to explore Sung Sot cave (Surprising cave) - one of the largestand the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay, regarded as an Opera theatre on Halon gBay with 3 main chambers covering an area of over 10,000 sq.m.
09:30: Back to Royal boat, relax before checking out
09:45 - 11:15: Buffet Lunch will be served on board whilst the Cruiser keeps on itsroute through the Bay back to Halong City.
12:00: Disembark at the harbor, Halong city. Take our shuttle bus to return to Hanoi
16:30: Arrival back at your hotel.
I would say the cruise is alright. I do see all the amazing and pretty caves and stones. But the activties in the cruise is quite disappointing. The cooking lesson is just teach us how to make the spring roll & sauce. Ingredients are provided, so you have to roll the spring roll and the kitchen will fry for you. KTV, watch movie, having a drink at the bar is at the same area. Please note that there is one TV only. For squid fishing, there is only a rod with a fake luminous bait. I asked the tour guide for real bait. But he said that squid does not smell like fish & prawn. They are more towards visual animals, so the fake luminous is sufficient to catch it. Oh well, I tried for 20mins, seeing alot of fishes swam pass my bait, I gave up. Went back to my room and read my book. Oh ya, there have fixed timing for hot shower. If you miss it, you can only bathe in cold water!

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