H A N O I
Accommodation: Hanoi Central Park Hotel – 3 stars
Rating: ★★★☆☆ – not for the fussy. Clean room but not much choices for breakfast.
Room cost: USD 65/night with breakfast
Length of stay: 2 hours
The two hours hotel stay was probably the craziest. Our train reached Hanoi at 05:00 am and we have to rush to the hotel to wash up, have breakfast and wait for our transfer to Halong Bay. We were supposed to check-in the day before had we reached Hanoi in the afternoon. That is, if we had returned on the morning sleeper bus. You know shits happened and having no itinerary planned, we got into deep shit. 😆
Next: H A L O N G B A Y
Ship: Starlight Cruise
Cost for two: 4, 800, 000 VND
Length of stay: 2D1N
Activities: Bamboo rowing boat trip to Fishing Village on day 1 and Thien Canh Son Cave on day 2 (there were other acitivities but we chose these two)
Reached Hanoi Central Park Hotel at almost 6:00 am by cab. The hotel staffs were sound asleep by the time we arrived. Not sure if we should wake them up but we do not have much time left so we woke them up.
By the way, is it normal for hotel reception to sleep?
Anyway, by 7:00 am, we were ready – fresh and excited (as always). Fast forward, we waited for Mr Jimmy Nguyen to meet us at the hotel lobby as promised. (We secured a place for two, 4 hours before we got on the train back to Hanoi. We had been conversing on skype all along while we were in Sapa. ) Lucky for us, there was one room left on Starlight.
We were promised a Halal tour but in actual fact, it wasn’t.
Please note, Starlight cruise do serve pork and alcohol beverages so that makes it not Halal. We only knew about it when we were on board the ship. However, all menus with pork were replaced with seafood for us. We were totally okay with that. If you can’t accept that, then this tour is probably not for you. It was our first and we didn’t know what to expect. For those interested, you can look for Mr Jimmy Nguyen from Hanoi Muslim Tours – Asia Travel Expert Co., Ltd in Hanoi, Vietnam.
On board the ship, you are free to roam the ship on your own or join the tour to visit the few places of interest and learn a bit about the history of Halong Bay.
We enjoyed every moment on Starlight cruise. Everything – from the room to the activities, food and the other passengers, were superbly amazing! Beyond words.