A NIGHT IN HALONG BAY WITH
GLORY LEGEND CRUISE
My search for the perfect junk boat to stay on led me to Glory Legend Cruise Line. Though it was a bit more expensive than other boat companies, I decided that, when it came to crossing off this item on the bucket list, I was willing to splurge on quality. There are lots of budget backpacker, party boat cruises as well, but that wasn't really the vibe I was after for this leg of my Southeast Asia trip.
An acquaintance from Seoul (aka a social media friend who I'd actually never met before), was travelling through Vietnam around the same time as me. She also planned to do Ha Long Bay, and so we decided to book the same cruise. We met up at the dock on the day of our departure, and immediately hit it off - (She offered me snacks and I knew I'd found a forever friend).
Turns out, the cruise company had TWO boats departing that afternoon... and we, of course, as luck would have it, were not on the same one. We had both been travelling solo up until that point anyway, so this didn't really bother us too much. This is how I ended up riding solo on a junk boat in Ha Long Bay (...and as unfortunate as it may sound, believe it or not, riding solo actually worked in both of our favor).
I mentioned earlier that I splurged a bit for this trip... by splurged I mean I booked a honeymoon suite... for one... "WHAT!?" you say... WELL... I CAN EXPLAIN! IT HAD A PATIO!... AND A HUGE BAY WINDOW... AND I PRETTY MUCH HAD TO, OKAY. (Plus, I knew that the next night I was going to be sleeping on a train, and travel is all about balance, ya know)?
As I'm sure you can imagine, my honeymoon suite experience was more expensive than the majority of the other places I stayed during my backpacking trip... but only "expensive" by Southeast Asia standards. To put that in perspective, it actually ran me about the same amount as a mediocre airport hotel in the states would cost for a night... and I, therefore, did not mind forking over that money ONE bit.
I was the youngest one on my boat by at least 30 years... save for the one (actually honeymooning) young couple and the boat staff. For the most part, the other passengers on my boat were retirees from Austria, (who I later befriended over whiskey at happy hour).
Though being on a cruise solo may not sound ideal, it was actually really great. The best part is that I got just as much food and booze as the people who were there in groups and couples, except I didn't have to share. As a matter of fact, in some instances, I got more... (like the free drinks I got from the staff who seemed to feel sorry for me since I was alone). The funniest part is that the SAME thing was happening to my friend on the other boat... and we were both loving it.
The boat took us on a few excursions, including a cave exploration and going ashore one of the islands. I enjoyed the three included (and extremely delicious) meals, the honeymoon suite's complimentary bottle of wine, and happy hour.
At the first happy hour, I mingled with the Austrian retirees who found it hilarious that one of their own, Ferdinand, was making small talk at the bar with the youngest girl on the boat (me). Ferdinand asked the question on everyone's mind - "What in the world was I doing there by myself?" By the end of our whiskeys, and conversation about travel, politics, life, and goodness knows what else, he was attempting to set me up with his son... (who seemed like quite the catch to be honest). We exchanged contact information and he assured me I'd always have a free place to stay if I ever made the trip to Austria.
Overall, HaLong Bay was as magical as I imagined it'd be... and despite the incessant rain (and being solo), I still had an incredible experience with Glory Legend Cruise.
The staff was very professional, while still maintaining a fun, comfortable, and inviting atmosphere. The food was bomb, the Austrian retirees knew how to party, the boat's cabins were beautiful, and the view of the bay, even with the fog and rain, was AMAZING. Truthfully, I had such a good time that I'm not sure how my actual honeymoon will ever top it (sorry imaginary, future husband).
If you're planning a trip to HaLong Bay, I'd highly recommend splurging a bit on this 4-star cruise experience. Though I only did the 2 day, 1 night cruise, next time, I will definitely be opting for an extra night. Also, be mindful of the weather. Though I still had an enjoyable time in the rain, you might not. One of the girls working on the boat informed me that October is the best time of the year to visit this area of Vietnam.
To book your stay your HaLong Bay Trip with Glory Legend Cruise click here!
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