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Halong Cruise Part 1

The UNESCO Heritage Site, Ha Long Bay, has been on my to visit list since I started to travel. And now, I finally had the chance to set my eyes on this beautiful masterpiece of nature.

I was given the chance to board the Victory Star during my 2 days and 1 night trip around Ha Long Bay. The company covered the transportation from the hotel to the ship and the transfer back to the hotel the next day. After a four hour trip through the countryside, I finally got to board the ship.

Dining & Facilities

The exterior was beautiful and the sails, while only for decoration, was a nice mix to the look of the junk cruise. We were welcomed with a sweet tasting welcome drink, before we got the keys to our respective rooms.

The room that I was in had two beds, a spacious cabinet, a nice shower room, and its own balcony with a great view of the bay.

With a view like this, who would want to leave?

The Victory Star had a spacious sundeck where guests can just sit back and enjoy the view while reading a book.

After roaming around the ship, we all went to the dining room to have lunch. The dining room had large windows, a bar, cozy sofas, and great wooden designs. Just across the dining room is a spa facility where guests can enjoy a massage or other spa services.

The addition of the national flag of each country of the guests was a nice touch.

Lunch was a 5-dish seafood meal.

The first dish was a plate of clams. The clams were a bit spicy but still good.

Guests were also treated to a delicious dish of spring rolls. If I'm not mistaken the rolls contained vegetables and some meat inside. This dish went well with the sauces that were already at the table.

The other dish served was a plate of shrimp and crab. This dish was also good.

It was seafood and vegetables galore for lunch.

Dessert was a plate of sliced watermelon and dragon fruit.

All five dishes were delicious and the service during lunch was excellent.

Sung Sot Cave

It wasn't long after lunch till we headed out on one of the excursions. Our first stop was Sung Sot Cave.

Sung Sot Cave

Sung Sot Cave
I was expecting more out of this cave but sad to say that this cave was overdeveloped. There were just too many people inside, too many lights installed, and the paved road inside ruined the whole 'cave' experience for me. But there were still impressive rock formations inside Sung Sot Cave. The walk through the chambers was a slow crawl because of the many tourists that come to this place. It was not high season but there were still a lot of people because this cave is on most itineraries that go to Halong Bay.

Sung Sot Cave

Sung Sot Cave
Sung Sot Cave is also known as Surprise Cave, it was called Surprise Cave because of the many shapes that the rock formations can take. Visitors can use their imagination to fill in the spaces and curves that the rocks take. The cave was alright but I was really expecting more after seeing some caves here in the Philippines.

There were also quite a few small boats that traveled around the bay to sell goods.

Ti Top Island

Ti Top Island was the last stop on the first day of our tour around Halong Bay.

Ti Top Island has its own beach where guests can enjoy and relax. But this was not the main reason why we came here.

There were more than 300 hundred steps that led to a viewing deck atop the island. The view of Halong was spectacular from this vantage point.

I could see the many islets of one part of Halong Bay from this viewing deck. There are thousands of islets that are scattered in different parts of the bay. The tiring walk up to the viewing deck was worth it.

Sunset on Halong Bay

view from my room
After the excursions, we trooped back to the ship for dinner and a few hours of lounging around.

The sun set on Halong Bay which gave me a chance to take good pictures.

Cooking Class & Dinner

There was a short cooking class and food tasting just before dinner. I thought the cooking class would be interactive, but the chef did everything for us which was not a problem since I didn't know how to cook.

Dinner was finally served after a few more minutes of waiting. For dinner we had a 5-dish French cuisine with dessert.

The first dish brought to the tables was this bowl of soup. It was tasty and had mixed vegetables in it.

The next dish was also good and tasty. I'm no food connoisseur that's why I loved the dishes, because I didn't know how to judge them (haha). 

All five dishes were scrumptious and the service was excellent. The ambiance in the dining room was superb, it was very intimate.

The lights in the dining room suddenly dimmed, which caught all of us by surprise. But we all realized that there were guests who had their anniversaries aboard the ship. The waiters came out with cakes and bouquets of flowers for the celebrants.

There was supposed to be a squid fishing activity but I decided to pass because I just wanted to relax in my room. There is also happy hour aboard the ship at 9PM to 10PM.

I had a great first night aboard the Victory Star.

When you book, everything is already included in the price but the drinks and other services had to be paid for before leaving the ship.


  1. A cruise along Halong Bay is one of the things I want to do in Vietnam as its high among the list of nature's wonder in the world.

  2. Wow. You're so fortunate to have ever experienced this cruise like royalty. I like the wonderful scenes you've captured and most especially the food! Great presentation... irresistibly tempting!

  3. The place is a very good spot for cruising. The view is so fascinating.

  4. I was attracted by the food and nothing else. Haha. Kidding aside as I was reading the whole post, I found myself looking at the food photos for 10 seconds then continue reading.

  5. @Aileen: The food was not only good but it was also the way it was presented, you had to wait for each dish to come in, they weren't laid out on the table in one go. You didn't have to get out of your chair since the waiters went to you for everything haha. There were also good restaurants in Hanoi's Old Quarter a bit pricey at $2.5 and up but the dishes were good. You don't have to go very far to get good service and nice presentation of the food haha. I have an upcoming post about some of the restaurants I went to in Hanoi hehe

  6. Gotta love taking trips like this one..
    Makes you forget the hassles of working in a closed environ.
    Ganda ng ship! who wouldnt want to take a cruise in that one, everything is a taker.

  7. What a great experience. Thanks for sharing us few photos of your trip. How I wish I can travel or cruise and see the wonders of nature (around the world) too.

  8. my friends did these too and surprisingly it was very affordable. I always assumed that a cruise around the bay is expensive.

  9. I noticed that Halong Bay looks like the El Nido of Palawan when it comes to the limestone formation islands. How I wish I can go back there or in Coron someday.

  10. The food looks great. I would love to hop aboard this cruise. How much each?

  11. your treated great at Victory star. Nice room and yummy dishes. Ha Long Bay has some similarities with Subic Bay in terms of securing vital space. Sad naman that Sung sot Cave in a way lost some of its glitters, though the rock formations are a sight to behold.

  12. sumptuous foods and great accommodation- sarap ng experience bro! I remember Palawan and Dinagat Island whenever I see Ha Long Bay.

  13. I haven't tried cruise ship before and I never known that they offer this kind of travel package in Vietnam. Great experience you got there! I wanna try it too..

  14. Even without the food and the cruise(though I will greatly like to experience them too), I would still go see Halong Bay and enjoy the picturesque place... Mejo naiinggit ako... hehehe...

  15. Wow nakakainggit naman yung experience nyo, pangarap ko rin makasakay sa cruise ship. =)

  16. I really don't fancy sosyalang cruise but this one is an exception. Halong bay is beautiful!!!

  17. may I know how much did you spent on the cruise? thanks

  18. @anonymous: I was sponsored so I wouldn't know, but the name of the cruise is Bai Tho Cruises:)