Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Halong Bay, Vietnam

It’s such a (rare) treat when you pay for something that’s actually worth every penny.

It took us A LOT of research to finally book our Halong Bay trip. Like, hours of walking around collecting quotes and reviewing itineraries and quadruple checking our options. Cause you see, it’s pretty much the highlight of any visit to Vietnam. There are hundreds of places offering the excursion, and even more horror stories surrounding it. Rat infested boats and terrible food and filthy accommodation and promises of sights you never get to see. Prices range wildly, and on the one hand you think “you get what you pay for” but on the other you don’t want to be the sucker that pays a more for the same tour cause you know all these agencies farm out to the same few operators anyway.

So, we did what any tired-of-thinking-about-it folks would do, and went with the one who spoke the best English. A young American guy actually, who met his Vietnamese wife while backpacking Asia and gave us the lowdown on exactly what we could expect. We opted for a three-day trip, with one night sleeping in a boat and another in a beachfront hut on a tiny secluded island. Done.

And… It. Was. Amazing. The boat was wayyy nicer than we had expected. Staff rained rose petals down upon us as we boarded for Christ’s sake. Our room was spotless and the bed was more comfortable than most hotels we’ve stayed in and each six-course meal left us more stuffed than the last. We kayaked amongst the limestone karsts (as promised) and toured an amazing cave (as promised) and received the ocean view upgrade we’d asked for in our rustic bamboo bungalow. And we did our best not to smile when we learned that just about everyone else on the trip paid wayyy more than we did. So if you ever find yourself in Hanoi and aren’t sure where to turn, Dao’s Travel is your guy.

For photos of our cruise through beautiful Halong Bay that did not disappoint, click HERE.

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