Once upon a time in a land far far away…… Lan Ha Bay

Dinosaurs roamed the earth ?

It is said that years ago dinosaurs roamed these majestic limestone mountains and the indents of the hills were created by the dinosaur tails! These amazing rugged craggy ‘islands’ are jutting up in the water all through Ha Long Bay.

Our 2 day-1 night cruise with Mon Cheri Cruises sets sail for Lan Ha Bay. We are truly blessed to get this upgrade as Lan Ha Bay is beautiful and less crowded than busy Ha Long Bay.

The rooms are beautiful- day beds, lovely bathrooms, beautiful toiletries and balconies to blog on……

I’m sure there are worse places in the world to do this!

Lee comes over to tell us that 7 eleven has just pulled up along aside our boat we all run to her room.

And there she is ~ a local lady and her little 3 year old boy ripping us off before we have had a chance to check out the mini bar!

To be fair the wine, cigarettes and chips are cheaper….. and the beer was double the price!!!! She got us good and the beer wasn’t that cold! Damn that women’s museum sucked us right in! Well actually we just felt bad ….

We have a tasting menu for both lunch and dinner along with a cooking experience. It’s fair to say the food is fresh and stunning.

After lunch it’s Kayaking or the bamboo boating. Originally we were thinking the bamboo boat where the local boy rows you out and about so we could take pics, but they talk us all into life jackets that would fit giants and a longer kayak to a cave.

I was Nellie no friends and flew solo in the ? kayak whilst the skipper ( Lindy) took a new buddy – Keryn and did some circle work ? ? ? .

Mimi and Lee headed off first and sort out their differences and get into a rhythm followed by a few other couples on our boat, then myself and then the skippers kayak stay with the guide they said- well he nicked off and it was every wom-an for herself !

We kayaked to an open cave that you could see through from the other side. As I was heading through the cave I saw monkeys swinging in the trees at the entrance of course the girls didn’t believe me until on the way back through our boat Captain, pointed out the monkeys ?

A swift kayak back to the tender boat at a local fishing village and back to our cruise ship and an offer to going swimming but after seeing the size of the jelly fish with the longest tentacles ? ever no thanks!

Ding ding!- it’s time for buy 2 get 1 free drinks! ? ? ? ? come to our special sunset par-tee ! What the don’t tell you is that’s only applies per person. They were quite strong cocktails. I was trying to be sensible after our other previous drinking sesh and we are on a boat and usually I end up with vertigo but before we know it we are shit faced and getting into mischief. I really don’t need alcohol to be silly !

From happy hour they then asked us to participate in a cooking experience! Making Vietnamese spring rolls, with a lot of laughter on the side.

We were then judged on our individual performance and winner winner, Lindy is the spring roll queen ? and as she was a bit shiitake shitfaced the jokes were flying, I think I just spring rolled the group into bad mum’s. Oh and she now has a new Vietnamese name… somehow her surname on her certificate says Melinda Newawarth . Sounds like Pocahontas to me !

Dinner! There’s is only about 15 people on our cruise, which after the hustle of Ha noi it’s so peaceful. We brought our own duty free wine and opened a bottle at our table to which we were very sternly told you can’t do that and you have to pay USD15 ! No hiding here with only 15 guests~ Bad mum’s!

To be honest I think the corkage cost is a bit rich and we spun them a line about being told we thought we could and that we had been upgraded from another boat…… bla bla bla

We will pay the money!

This cruise supports the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, which is why we were here in the first place, so really its all OK but we were just laughing about being the biggest group on the boat and of course we start a riot!

Next up for our cruise is ? ? squidding, with a hook on the end of a bamboo pole. I have always wanted one of these poles, Lindy is yet again the winner here hauling in some slippery little suckers followed by Lee and then Mimi – unfortunately Mimi hooks me!!!!! Not a squid ( Jared Watton eat your heart out this is normally your job) and then the current changed and it wasn’t so nice anymore.

Like tourists spots all over the world, floating rubbish is so sad to see… people live out here on what they call Karsts. Like a home on water in junk boats and cute little houses on the water so I suppose their rubbish has to go somewhere.

It was off then bed for us sleepy heads at 11pm as we have Tai Chi at 6.15am!

Not only do they announce this at 6.00am over the loud speaker they then call our rooms!!! What if I changed my mind and wanted a sleep in ? Not on this boat you don’t!

Mimi, Lee and I make it to Tai Chi on the back of the boat it is quite good stretching and then peaceful. What was really funny is that the girl who took the class, came out ready for Zumba….. dressed like she was Olivia Newton John …….ummm it’s 34 degrees with a 150% humidity I don’t think so, so she quickly changed the music and her outfit ! Seriously a funny funny experience, we all managed the stretches and warm up and then when the actual movement of tai chi started it was a little bit special bus!

Our cruise then floats down to Cat Ba Island and Hospital cave. Language barrier has me slightly confused.

Anyway we jump in a Toyota tarago chug up the hill. To a small cafe….. as I said the language barrier has me confused I thought we were waiting for another bus but no we cross the road and climb….. I thought he said 200 stairs….. they look like this, felt like 200 but it was only 50. We then visit Hospital cave a secret bomb proof cave in the side of a hill an amazing hidden gem in the jungle that was in use as a hospital and respite from1965-1973 during the American war….. There were operating rooms, and inside exercise yard, and a swimming pool!

It’s then out the other side of the mountain before we head out through the back door…… another secret passage

It’s then back on the boat for a few more laughs and farewells with the young girls on the boat, we give one of them our Lonely Planet guides to help her improve her english after she gave a us all a small friendship bag each saying she hopes when she gets older she can have friends like us who can travel together…….

We are off to the centre of Vietnam Hue- pronounced “way” for some more food experiences on the back of a motorbike so if you don’t here from us we have gone awol!

Till next time

Mrs Wong xx



  1. Sandy sheather | 2nd Jun 18

    Great blog, keep the pictures coming, Iam sure you have a few hundred or maybe 1000’s by now Lyn.
    You girls will be the spring roll queens by the time you get back. Hopefully HoiAn will deliver something else beautiful at your next cooking class, maybe white rose or fried wontons a must and actually healthy.
    Have fun in Hue. X

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