Which way to Halong Bay?
Getting to Halong Bay wasn’t cheap, or convenient, but it was one my favorite excursions! It involved a lovely four hour van ride (ok, so it wasn’t that lovely), and included a 30 minute rest stop at what my friend Jenn dubbed it the “Warehouse Of Vietnamese Tchotchkes.” The WOVT also included various packaged snack items (Pringles are MAJOR in Vietnam), and the largest public restroom facility I have ever seen (sans toilet paper! Always bring tissues when traveling!).
We eventually made it to the dock. There are several tour operators. If you are looking to save a buck, and/or get sloshed, there are several low cost booze cruise options. If you are looking to drink out a communal punch bowl and swap clothes with your new hippie backpacker friends, then that is the tour for you! For those of us who are over the age of 21, and have slightly higher standards, there are alternatives. We opted for a mid-price option, recommended to us by a friend of Jenn’s. (Our tour company was Paradise Cruises. I believe the cost was $175USD per person, for the 2 day, 1 night cruise, and included transportation to and from Hanoi). While pricey, I think it was a worthwhile splurge. I was surprised by how nice the rooms were!
It even had a balcony!
There were plenty of food options…
What is the bright green concoction?
Why, it’s colorful agar agar! My inner science nerd had to see what this was all about! In the lab, agar is gelatinous substance used in petri dishes and spiked with growth medium in order to culture microorganisms. But as a dessert option? It looked lime green jello. After some egging on by my fellow passengers, I decided to give it a taste. It was NOTHING like lime jello! In fact, it tasted like custard or flan, and had a condensed milk flavor to it. Not sure if we’ll be seeing agar agar on dessert menus back home any time soon!
There was a full itinerary of activities on both days… stay tuned!