Cruising along Ha Long...

Halong Bay Travel Blog

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Handspan Cruise onboard the Aloha
So I booked another tour with Handspan. Actually, this was the first adventure tour package I got from them. I've read all the reviews about their Ha Long Cruise, and I just had to take it. Anyway, to cut the long story short. It was worth the money, even the Sa Pa Package I had with them is just as wonderful.

Originally, I booked for Nov 30. But apparently, I was the only person who had reservations when I checked in with them 4 days before. If there is no one who would sign up by then, they will refund my deposit. Of course I didn't want that, it's Handspan or nothing for Ha Long. I had them check other dates that would also fit into my schedule, good thing December 01 had a couple of people signed up. I had an idea this 2 is a couple, and I don't really want to intrude on what I think is a romantic trip for them, but then I had no choice.
me and my coke in halong


We all boarded the Handspan bus for a 3 hour ride to Ha Long. On the way we got to introduce ourselves to the group. Apparently, this intro thing is still being done. Hehe! During the trip, I encountered the first Filipino since I've arrived in Vietnam (not counting those I rode on the plane with coming here). Anyway, his name is Ray and he doesn't even speak the language. Imagine that! So It's gonna be English-speaking for me the whole time. In the Philippines we have a joke about having to endure conversations with Foreigners - we call it "nosebleed"... I was worried about "nosebleeding" for two days! haha!

On the bus were 3 groups, the first group is composed of An elderly couple and a middle-aged couple who are getting on the Indochina junk (much more expensive!); group number 2 were Simon and his Fiance (i think her name is Penny, if I remember right), and Rebecca and her boyfriend - again couples who will spend 1 day with us and break-away the next day to do their Kayaking.
almost sunset
Then there's group number 3 composed of me, Ray and Mike - all single; and just what i had thought, another couple: Steve and Sarah. During the next 2 days we get to find out we're quite a good group.

So we get to board the Aloha Junk and set sail for the seas as we have lunch on board! My, that was one hell of a lunch! The food just kept coming! It was during the cruise that I also get to have my first beer in Vietnam. I've been reserving it or this occasion actually. And it's just so relaxing to have a beer in hand, a cigarette on the other while in full awe of the limestone karsts! In other words, PERFECT!

By 3 PM we headed on to visit the floating village, it was nothing really spectacular, but how they lived in such manner tickled my curiosity.
Enjoying the view
Moving on, Sarah and Steve tried rowing our boat. All I could say, atleast we were moving, albeit we lost the race to the other boats. Those women rowing must really have some good upper body strength! The couple has a video of that, i'll snatch it from youtube when they finally get to upload it.

It was during the night that we all really got bonded - thanks to how the moon, venus and jupiter aligned that night. We all noticed that special smile in the sky, and it's just so perfect to have that while we were all sharing the experience together in Ha Long. And to top it off, when Sarah and Steve came down from the deck, they announced that they just got engaged! Wow! Mike treated us all to a glass of wine to celebrate! We sort of had an impromptu engagement party on board!

Meanwhile, while the others were not looking, Steve had me take a cheesy pic of them with the smiley moon on the background! hehe! After dinner, we had the whole night just swapping stories about our experiences in vietnam, as well as, bits and pieces of our lives back home.

It couldn't have been a more perfect night.

(more pics soon)
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Handspan Cruise onboard the Aloha
Handspan Cruise onboard the Aloha
me and my coke in halong
me and my coke in halong
almost sunset
almost sunset
Enjoying the view
Enjoying the view
Halong Sunset
Halong Sunset
sunset
sunset
my cabin.
self-timer
my cabin. self-timer
on the way to the floating village
on the way to the floating village
the big one onboard
the big one onboard
sandwiched
sandwiched
on the way to the floating village
on the way to the floating village
sunset in halong
sunset in halong
getting engaged in halong
getting engaged in halong
youre the smile of the moon...ven…
you're the smile of the moon...ve…
Halong Bay