Friday, 13 May 2016

Travel: Vietnam - Ha Long Bay to Hue

paradise cruise ha long bay
Starting a blog post with a picture taken out of a toilet window isn't something I thought would ever happen but Ha Long Bay was full of surprises. Two hours from Hanoi, the bay is a world away from the crazy city. As we approached the boarding point, the heavens opened in the most spectacular fashion. My point that "the boat is already wet" didn't seem to cheer anyone up. We boarded our floating home for the next two days unsure what to expect - I wondered if the boat had a plentiful supply of board games for freak weather occasions... However, once settled in the inside deck with access to the boat's bar...the rain started to clear.

paradise cruise ha long bay

paradise cruise ha long bay

paradise cruise ha long bay

paradise cruise ha long bay








The Ha Long Bay cruise felt like a holiday within a holiday. The boat felt more like a floating hotel than a boat - my cabin having a better view than any hotel room I've stayed in. The weather made a remarkable improvement and sitting on the empty sundeck at 6am watching the sun come up was one of those rare perfect moments when the world feels like it's all yours. Boat life was as relaxed or active as you wanted it to be - with optional kayaking (nope), swimming (nope), on deck tai chi, a cookery class, happy hour, fishing (!) and the chance to dress up for dinner (those garments on my bed are not pyjamas as I had thought...). The food was incredible - even without thinking of the small kitchen and limited ingredients on offer the chef was able to give me a choice of veggie dinner options and let me pick and choose what I wanted and I even had a foot massage on the on-boat spa which wins for "most relaxing experience ever".

We sailed with Paradise Cruises and for once something lived up to it's name. A truly unforgettable experience.
travel blog hue vietnam
Arriving in Hue late at night after an internal flight, it wasn't until the next morning that I truly appreciated our surroundings - La Residence Hotel has to be one of the most beautiful I have stayed in, the art deco building at first seemed out of place in central Vietnam but the city of Hue is peaceful, calm and the classy hotel fits right in amongst slightly older history.

travel blog hue vietnam

travel blog hue vietnam

travel blog hue vietnam


travel blog hue vietnam

We took a cruise along the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda - the views from the top were incredible and despite being a touristy site the ground were so peaceful. Next up were tombs to Vietnam's kings - by this point it was the hottest part of the day and Hue was experiencing a heatwave. For the first time in my life I fainted - sorry Khai Dihn for fainting in your tomb. I'd been feeling fine until a few minutes before so no idea how this happened but it meant that I skipped the afternoon visit to the Imperial Citadel (an ancient palace now scared with bullets from more recent history) in favour of air conditioning and nothing more strenuous than sitting poolside. After an al fresco dinner we would be leaving Hue early the next morning - half hoping for somewhere a little cooler and half feeling like a little more time in this city would have been nice (aside from me skipping the afternoon visit I felt like we only say the "sights" in Hue and not much of the real city). All of me agreed that taking up residence in La Residence would be a good back-up plan.

Next up... Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon...


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6 comments

  1. Ahh wow that boat ride sounds fantastic!! Absolutely dreamy. An those views!
    But woah to fainting - hope you were alright. At least you could relax back at the pool and chill instead.

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  2. The Ha Long Bay cruise sounds so dreamy, looking forward to seeing more of your Vietnam adventure x

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