a blog about seeing the world

Archive for April, 2011

Living the high life in Ha Long Bay

According to local legend, the two thousand mountainous islands that rise out of the dark teal waters of Ha Long Bay began as pearls thrown to earth from the mouth of a dragon. An island sprang up where each one fell, blocking the enemy ships that threatened the native people and giving the area its name, which means “Descending Dragon.”

As the only package tour we booked and with the price doubling our average daily budget, three days exploring Ha Long Bay with Handspan was clearly going to be a step up from the last ten weeks. We didn’t expect it to be downright luxurious.

After a van ride from Hanoi, our group of eight plus our guide boarded the Victory Star, and we immediately knew this tour was a good idea. A four-story wood-paneled ship with an elaborate dining room, cabins with private balconies, and spacious sundeck, the Victory Star was incredible. The room was one of the nicest we’ve ever slept in, not even including the bonus points it garners for being on a boat. (more…)