BUCKET LIST: STAY OVERNIGHT ON A JUNK BOAT AT HALONG BAY IN VIETNAM
When I arrived at the port of Halong Bay in Vietnam it was overcast, hot and humid; also known by the locals as monsoon season. Stepping off the cool, air conditioned bus which had driven four hours from Hanoi to reach it’s destination, I was immediately absorbed in a crowd of travellers waiting to board their junk boats and explore this faultless side of the world. Tourists milling around, buying snacks and bottled water, were either about to enjoy cruising around Halong Bay by boat for the day, or like me, were going to spend a night on a traditional junk boat. At first the chaos is a little overwhelming, but it soon melts away when you see a few islands in the misty distance.
It’s widely known to save the best till last, and so I found myself boarding a junk boat towards the end of my tour with My Adventure Store; they had cleverly planned this out. I knew this, the second last stop on my 11-day tour, was going to be a highlight for me.
The novelty of staying overnight on a junk boat is thrilling to say the least. I had my own gorgeous double bedroom and a private bathroom with a shower, toilet and surprisingly modern amenities. We enjoyed lunch, dinner and breakfast, which was cooked by the team taking care of us onboard; there really is something enchanting about eating traditional Vietnamese food while sailing past the many pristine islands that make up Halong Bay.
The afternoon was filled with activity – including a swim in the South China Sea, a kayak around the many secluded caves and a hike to explore Sung Sot Caves – one of the new natural seven wonders of the world.
When we returned to the junk and the last banana fritter was being eaten, the best way to see the stars glimmer above Halong Bay is to take the stairs up to the top deck. Here I saw at least 50 other boats quietly nestled in various spots in the bay.
Later in the evening I retired to my private room where I fell asleep to the sound of thunder and rain, with the flashes of lightening ever so often illuminating my dreams. It was in this moment that I had found my bliss in Vietnam.
This post is in collaboration with My Adventure Store