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As a part of our group tour in Vietnam I was lucky to have visited the Ha long Bay, in one of Alova Gold Cruise Boats. The group included 12 Sri Lankans and 4 German guests. The very friendly, very courteous, very soft spoken Dutch manager, Sidney, and very friendly and witty tour guide Kim met us at the bay and helped us into the transfer boat.
We reached the Alova Gold Cruise in 10 minutes or so. In the boat, we were received warmly by the crew and served with a refreshing welcome drink.
The cabins were small , clean, self-containing and air-conditioned. The bed and the pillows were comfortable, There large curtained window overlooked the stunning Ha-long scenery. The tiny wash room had all the basics inclusive of hot water. But the hot water flow and the temperature of water, as warned , was quite unpredictable. This was the only negative thing about the cabin and the entire cruise.
The food, Oh the food, was absolutely fantastic. There was plenty of variety, quantity and the presentation was superb. Sidney and Kim were there to eat with us and share their wisdom about the cuisine and the surroundings. All 3 meals we had in the cruise were super and delightful. There was a lot of fresh fruit to go around.
There was a lot of activities packed into the 24 hours we spent in the cruise. We stopped by and explored one of the tall Kursk’s , climbing a strenuous 425 steep steps. The view of the bay from the top was quite worth the climb. After that there was kayaking under Kim’s guidance. We could not swim because of the chilly February waters in the bay. Before dinner we took part in a cookery demo by the chef, how to make spring rolls, which was fun. The bar had a stock of stuff with a good variety of cocktails.
After dinner we watched the crew do squid fishing. In the night we sat on the deck chairs under the moonlight and sang our favorite Sri Lankan and German songs into the still, chilly Ha long bay. This was my favorite moment of the entire holiday.
Next morning we stopped by the “ Surprise cave “, and toured into an astonishing cave with various shaped stalactites and stalagmites. Before we left the boat, Kim obliged the ladies by showing how to make flowers with carrots, potato, cucumber and chilies. We were escorted to the harbor by a smaller boat, after goodbyes.
Well, what a wonderful 24 hours. Fun, Rest , Serenity, Good food and drinks, Adventure mixed with Warm Vietnamese hospitality and wonderful Vietnamese coffee. What a memorable combination.
So, this is a must to any traveler to Vietnam. Thanks a lot, Aloa Gold, Sydney, Kim and the entire crew for giving us this wonderful experience.