So I was planning for my honeymoon in Vietnam and even though I had practically no idea about how to go about it but 1 thing I was certain about was that I wanted to include a Halong Bay cruise in it. So began my search regarding the same and as I digged deeper the more I got confused with the following questions - Which cruise should I opted for ?
How many days package should I take ? One single day ? 2 Days ? Or 3 days ?
And, shockingly I even started doubting whether I should actually take a cruise in Halong Bay or chose La Han Bay over it ?
But, the foremost of all these questions was that how many days should I go for as only once I would decide that, I could plan rest of my itinerary. I searched the internet every where but got no perfect answer and every one had their own opinions and some said that 3 days was too long whether others said that less than that was too short.
Totally confused by these suggestions, I decided to play safe and booked a 3 day cruise. After all, I thought how bad could one day be ? And even if we were to get really bored we would make use of that time and rest as we would be going for it immediately after our hectic Indian wedding. It turned out to be really good decision for us in the end and I was happy that we took that.
We felt that those who had taken the 2 day cruise were quite rushed all throughout their stay. Also 2 day literally does not mean 2 days and is more like only 1 complete day the cruise where you land only before lunch and next day you check out after having an early brunch so practically speaking that's only 24 hours.
The 2 Day Cruise
And those 24 hours are jam packed with action. Once you reach the cruise you check in and after sometime the lunch is laid . After eating lunch, you rest for sometime and then they are all set to take you for Kayaking activity. You do the kayaking activity for an hour and then they get you back and prepare you to take a dive in the sea. By the time you get done with swimming , the sun is almost down. They get you back to the cruise and you rest for sometime and the sunset cocktail party soon begins . You dare not miss it for they offer you a free cocktail in it. And the cocktail party has only begun that the dinner is laid. They serve a lavish dinner which takes almost an hour to finish and then you go back to the deck to drink more. But the day doesn't end and there is more activity like shrimp farming still to be done. The night ends quite late after the shrimp farming and the alcohol intake and you have to wake up early in the morning so that you can eat your breakfast and soon after that head to the Pearl Farm to see how pearls our made. Luckily, since we opted the 3 day one this is where we really go saved as we did not have to the Pearl Farm that day and we could rest and relax for more time. After you get done with the Pearl Farm, you get back and pack your bags while they set the table to show you how the local spring rolls are made. Once you learn making the Vietnamese Spring Rolls, you eat them and are all set to bid farewell to the cruise.
What's Extra in the 3 Day Cruise
So our 3rd day was an ditto copy of the 2nd day as mentioned above. What changed for us was the 2nd day where we were not rushed to the Pearl Farm and had good ample time for ourselves to relax on the cruise and enjoy sun bathing on the deck and the beautiful karst scenery in the Bay.
After sometime we were taken to Viet Hai Village in Cat Ba Island where we cycled for some 6kms to reach the village and were given a tour on the village life of the inhabitants. Also they showed us a local house and made us try some locally made wines including Snake Wine and we headed back to our cruise after that. We enjoyed a good relaxed lunch and had the option to go for kayaking again or relax on the cruise. But this time they took us to still and shallow water for Kayaking which offered a different scenery than the previous day. Since the water was less rough out here, we even enjoyed the swimming more than the previous day and we also ended up finishing earlier giving us ample time to rest before heading out for the sunset party. The food menu both for lunch and dinner was quite similar to the previous day but for us they put in extra effort and prepared different meals so that we don't get bored eating the same thing again and that was quite a sweet gesture.
Overall, I felt it was a good decision that we chose to add one extra day and it was a good experience visiting the Cat Ba Island on a bicycle and enjoying the countryside ride. Even the kayaking and swimming were more fun as we were more relaxed on the 2nd day.