Ha Long Bay

Uncovering the stunning Ha Long Bay

Edward opens his travel diary to one of his most incredible journeys around the iconic Ha Long Bay in Vietnam.

I was clearing out my loft the other day and I came across my recent travel journals. Not one to pass up on a chance to reminisce I flicked through the pages and poured over the details of some of my trips to Asia. In the years after retiring, I’ve thrown myself headfirst into exploring some of the most incredible natural and historical wonders Asia has to offer but reading back was like visiting all over again.

April 17th 2018 Hanoi - Ha Long Bay

The taxi pulled up outside our hotel after a 2-hour ride in from Hanoi. We’d been sorry to leave the old french quarter and our mornings of sipping coffee, watching the city wake up; but Ha Long Bay is calling and we’re finally going to tick this natural wonder off our bucket list. So, with the sun setting, we checked into the Novotel Hal Bay, dropped our bags in the room and headed straight out onto the balcony. Gazing out over the myriad of islands painted amber by the fading light, I could feel the hairs on the back of my head stand on end.

April 18th 2018 - Ha Long Bay

Sat in our cabin now, I can hardly put into words the day we’ve experienced. We woke early, ate heartily from the hotel buffet (still so thankful for becoming an Accor Plus member, so much food - so little expense) and headed down to the harbour to board our traditional junk boat. From that moment on, it's been a whirlwind of colour as we wound our way between majestic karst monoliths, each more impressive than the last. We explored huge caves (on foot, and in a canoe!) and paddled on the beaches of otherwise inaccessible islands. Once the sun set a few of us stayed up on the deck and one of the deckhands shone a torch into the inky water while we attempted to fish for squid. I have no idea how long we were there and we certainly didn't catch anything, but with the sky blanketed in stars and moon illuminating the vast rock formations around us, nobody noticed.

April 19th 2018 -Ha Long Bay

One night didn't feel like enough, rather we’d just got a taste of the stunning beauty and we made an executive decision to stay another day at the Novotel where we could look out over the bay. So as I sit at the pool bar, enjoying a long drink, my eyes flit between the dramatic horizon and the photos on my camera - not that I need them, I won't forget this in a hurry.