Overnight Cruise on Halong Bay in Vietnam

It is possible to visit Halong Bay without doing an one or two night cruise, but it is much more relaxing to do at least an overnight cruise. Halong Bay is absolutely beautiful and there are a variety of cruise choices. Most of the cruises offer some similar activities such as visiting caves, kayaking, doing tai chi, and watching a cooking demonstration. All of the various excursions away from the cruise ship were wonderful, but just sitting on the top deck and watching the scenery go by was just as much of a highlight.

Our Cruise Ship
Views from the Ship
Our Cabin
Sunset Over Halong Bay

Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, taking a cruise on Halong Bay is an extremely popular tourist activity and you will be surrounded by many other cruise ships with similar itineraries. That means that when you are not on the ship, you will face large crowds at each of the various sites that you visit. It also means that there will be lots of other ships around you as you cruise along the bay. We went during a bit of an off-season and it was still extremely busy, so we can only imagine what it would be like during the high-season.

Chef Preparing Shrimp
Halong Bay Martinis
Upper Deck
Sunrise Scenery

Meals are obviously included as well, with most cruise ships offering a variety of authentic Vietnamese cooking. Most of the meals on our cruise were multicourse meals with more food than we could possibly eat. One of the nice things was that they were served family style with everyone at a table sharing, which gives you a chance to meet some of the other passengers. There was also a reception at the end of the first day with specialty drinks available during a happy hour. Since the meals were included, the cost of having a drink or two is very minimal.

Relaxing on the Ship
Hallway Leading to Our Cabin
Some of the Amazing Food
Waiting to Board Our Ship

Seeing both a sunset and a sunrise during our trip was definitely one of the highlights of our overnight cruise on Halong Bay. Seeing the orange glow over the unique landscape that is the trademark of Halong Bay was truly spectacular. Since we spent almost every day during our time in Vietnam on long tours in order to see as much of the country as possible, having a couple of days with a more relaxed tempo gave us a much needed break from the hectic streets of Hanoi.

The End of the Sunset
Enjoying Our Time
Mystical Landscapes
Spacious Upper Deck


Mua Cave in the Ninh Binh Province of Vietnam

When visiting Hanoi in Vietnam, planning a day trip to the Ninh Binh province is well worth the time. You will likely have the choice to visit several different locations during your visit and choosing to go to Mua Cave should be one of them. It isn’t about seeing the cave, there are plenty of other caves that are more impressive, but it is all about climbing the over 540 stairs to see the incredible views of the countryside.

Park Sitting Below the Staircase
Beginning of the Staircase
Amazing Views of the Ninh Binh Province

To be clear, the steps are steep and uneven throughout much of the ascent to the top, so bring plenty of water and take your time. Despite the effort to reach the summit, the views along the way as well as when you reach the top are well worth the muscle pain. At the base of the mountain is a beautiful park with statues of horses and a fountain. It is a perfect place to sit in the shade and unwind after completing the long climb up the staircase.

Winding Staircase
The Lower Viewing Point
Rice Paddies at the Base of the Mountain

As you near the top of the stairs, you will have the choice to go to one of two viewing areas, one lower and one that continues all of the way to the top. Obviously you can do both, but we chose just to head all of the way up to the top. Looking down, you can see the Ngo Dong River and all of the boats paddling their way through Tam Coc (or three caves). We had done the Tam Coc tour earlier in the day, so seeing it from above was a truly different experience.

Boats Doing the Tam Coc Tour
Simply Beautiful
Tiger Cave

Ninh Binh has been called “the Halong Bay of inner Vietnam” and the scenery will definitely let you know why. By the time we reached the top, it was late in the afternoon and the mist was rising up from the jungle vegetation below, making for stunning views. It was as difficult going down as it was climbing to the top, so give yourself plenty of time for going both directions. It is very popular with tourists for obvious regions, so expect there to be plenty of people joining you as you wind your way up the staircase.

Looking Up from the Staircase
Horse Statues in the Park
Looking Towards the Horizon
Another View of the Summit

Sunsets on the Nile River

We had heard that the sunsets in Egypt were amazing and we weren’t disappointed. During our four day cruise down the river, we saw several different sunsets over the palm trees that line the coast. Even when we were in Cairo, our hotel overlooked the Nile and we saw some beautiful sunsets over the city. As the hot day comes to an end and cooler air moves in, the winds pick up and send sand into the air, giving the sun something to reflect off of in the otherwise clear skies. We have always been a fan of watching sunsets, but these will always be particularly special to us.

Sunset in Cairo
It May Look Like the Moon, But It is the Sun
Sunset as We Departed Luxor

These are from Luxor after spending the day visiting the Valley of the Kings.

The Start of the Sunset
Simply Stunning
As a Bird Flies Toward the Sun

Another beautiful night as we left Edfu to head to Aswan.

From the Distance
Zooming In
Clear Sky

The view from our hotel in Cairo.

River in the Foreground
Orange Haze over the City
Lights Starting to Turn On