Into the sunset

July 29, 2013 ASEAN Backpacking

Sunsets make everything look magical; they're my most favorite part of the day. The best sunsets, for me, are those that cap a wonderful day, like the one I had with my ASEAN backpacking buddies.

The beautiful Halong Bay was the highlight of our Indochina trip. We entered Bangkok, passed by Vientiane, and then Hanoi, where we were treated to a beautiful sunset.

It was part of our annual Southeast Asia backpacking trip. Same month last year, we embarked on our first tour, traversing the Mekong River from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and finally exiting in Bangkok.

Halong Bay, much like the Philippines' Puerto Prinsesa Underground River, was recently awarded one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature. Situated in the Gulf of Tonkin, it features around 1600 islands, and its name translates to 'descending dragon.'

We booked a cruise with V (Vietnamese) Spirit Cruises, opting for deluxe cabins aboard a wooden boat. Our room boasted a magnificent sea view and a well-appointed bathroom. 

Despite the tempting allure of relaxing with a good book at the sun-deck bar, I couldn't pass up the opportunity for adventure.

Our tour included cave exploration, trekking, and swimming. With a packed and exciting itinerary, sunset kayaking was the perfect way to cap off the day.

There's nothing like watching the sky change colors, from bright blue to the beautiful tints of red and oranges, with the limestone islands of Halong Bay as a backdrop.

We stopped paddling for a while so we could just be quiet and marvel at the scene.

We let time pass with our actual thoughts, not by scrolling down Facebook walls or browsing tweets. We didn't hurry; we just appreciated every moment in that calm water. There was no pressure, no worries, no stress. We watched until the sun set.

My kayak partner was Melvin, the one who arranged most of this trip. We all agreed that the Halong Bay cruise was one of the, if not the, best part of the trip.

We had a good time exploring Halong Bay, venturing inside a fascinating cave.

to its rooftop

to the sea.

Our stay at Spirit Cruises was also good. We enjoyed generous servings of delicious food, and each meal felt like a feast.

There were also activities. We learned how to make spring rolls and enjoyed games on board. I emerged victorious in a puzzle game.

From exploring caves to crafting spring rolls, every moment aboard Spirit Cruises was a joy. And the perfect ending to our exceptional stay? It was kayaking into the sunset. With hearts full of gratitude, we said goodbye to Spirit Cruises, cherishing every memory of our remarkable journey.

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