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"Halong Jewel "

Submitted by: lanhnguyen Length of trip: 10 days to two weeks
Trip taken: January 2008 No. of people on trip: 1 person

Locations visited:

Far East and Asia: Vietnam

Trip Features:
Sport and Adventure: Kayaking
Beach and Nature: Beach

lanhnguyen took this trip with her Immediate family and also recommends this trip for those traveling with their:
> Guy Friends
> Extended, large family
> Immediate Family
> Girlfriends
> Group of friends

The cost category of this trip was:


No trip to Vietnam is complete without a visit to Ha Long Bay, a magnificent archipelago some 160km east of Hanoi. Featured on both Vietnamese and foreign films including Indochina and Vertical Ray of the Sun. this breathtaking bay has also been celebrated in traditional and contemporary artworks and verse

Legend has it that a great dragon created Ha Long Bay as it rushed from the mountains to the sea. Ha Long roughly translates as “where the dragon descends upon the sea”, and it said that the tracts if sea between the islands are hollows excavated by the beast’s thrashing tail and claws. To this day sailors reports sightings of a strange amphibious creature in the area.

French interest in the area came relatively early not only because if the lure of coastal trade routes, but also for the area’s divine landscape. In develop for remembers off the upper classes. The proverbial ‘armchair’ traveler, who had previously visited exotic lands only through adventure novel and explorers’ diaries, now had the means to venture abroad. However these delicate creatures were not exactly the adventurous heroes of the novels they enjoyed, preferring instead an array of creature comforts.

Judging from periods black and white photographs, the Roque brothers knew just how to satiate their clients’ thirst for adventure and beautiful, exotic scenery, without denying them a comfortable chair from which to drink it all in. this pair of French brothers came from Bordeaux to Vietnam in 1858, as was the case for many rich young men during colonial times, the Roque boys came to Indochina in search of adventure and fortune. They fortune, they certainly found their fair share of both over the 50-year span they spent in Vietnam. Their ups and downs included near bankruptcy and being taken hostage by pirates before they eventually achieved financed success. For a period the pair works they secured timber business. With hard work they secured enough money to acquire a flotilla of steamers to transport both tourist and varied trade cargo along Vietnam’s coast. Their fleet included a number of boats with illustrious titles such as Enerraude, Perle, Saphir, Rubis and Onyx. It is fitting that the vessels were named after precious gems, as the boats offered wealthy French tourist the penultimate luxury experience.

The Emeraude was tragically sunk in the mid1900s. French naval architects worked to draw u plans for an exact reproduction of the vessel, which now offers a taste of nostalgic colonial grandeur to discerning modern – day travelers.

Upon stepping aboard, one is struck by the feeling of having stepped back in time. Indeed, this reproduction of the classic 1910 Emeraude paddle steamer encapsulates historical detail down to the last polished nautical brass knob!

Welcome cocktails on the impressive upper deck await the road-weary passengers, and all the stresses of the modern city living begin to slip away. Aptly named the Sun Deck, this open-air lounge features a fully stocked bar surrounded by cane chairs and tables. With panoramic view a on all sides this is the perfect place to unwind with a good book, or to while the afternoon with fruity drinks and good company.

After a warm welcome from the steamers’ crew, everyone is invited to check in to their room’s priors to lunch being served. The air-conditioned bedrooms are simple but elegant, with crisp white sheets and cozy throws, wooden floorboards and private, individual bathrooms. All feature windows with views across the stunning bay.

The onboard restaurant is classic but informal with wooden paneled walls, and dinner a buffet is served, including masses of fresh steamed prawns, calamari, crab and fish. The chefs also showcase local flavor with a variety of spring rolls, stir fired dishes, and cool crisp salads with fresh mixed herbs.

As lunch comes to an end the Emeraude continues cruising along the bay’s many limestone islands, coming to a top at Surprise Cave or, as it was known to early French travelers, the Grotte des Marseilles (Cave of Marvels). Passengers are given the option of alighting and exploring the caves or staying aboard to relax. The enormous cave comprises three chambers with numerous features highlighted by bright, kitschy neon!

Reboarding the Emeraude, the boat then cruise to a new location close to towering Titop Island where it docks for the night. One anchor is propped. Kayaks are available for the adventurous, and the monumental paddle wheel converts into a swimming platform, allowing those so inclines to enter the water gracefully.

In addition to swimming, kayaking and site visits the Emeraude offers some interesting extras. Guest an opt for a full body massage, or recapture the spirit of their colonial forebears with a delightful high tea. A gourmet cooking demonstration offers insight into the preparation of spring-rolls, and guests may also try squid fishing. Those who wake early on Sunday morning can enjoy a tai chi class.

Amidst the variety of ramshackle boats available for rent in Ha Long Bay, the Emeraude offers a decadent experience. The boat is available for private charter offering for exceptional venue for a business function, anniversary, or wedding. A few precious days onboard the Emeraude are likely to rank among your most memorable in Vietnam, as you indulge all of your senses amidst this landscape of dreams.

Emeraude itinerary guideline

Day 1

11:30 – 12:00 Registration at Emeraude Café

12:00 – 12:15 Embarkation

12:15 – 12:30 Check – in

12:30 – 12:45 Captain raise anchor

12:45 – 14:00 Cruising Halong Bay

14:00 – 14:30 Refreshing Vietnamese and International buffet lunch served

14:30 – 15:30 Shore excursion to Song Sot Grotto

15:30 – 16:00 Crepe Station on Sundeck

16:00 – 17:00 Visit Pearl Farm, swim or Kayak (chargeable)

17:00 - 17:45 Cruising Halong Bay

18:00 – 18:30 Vietnamese Fresh Spring Roll Cooking Class

18:30 – 19:00 Cocktail on Sundeck

19:00 – 21:00 Gourmet Vietnamese seafood and European dinner buffet served

21:00 – 22:00 Bill settlement (Optional)

20:30 – 23:00 Squid Fishing (Seasonal)

20:39 – 23:00 Screening of highly acclaimed classic “Indochina”


06:00 – 07:00 Complimentary café gourmand served on the Sundeck

06:30 – 07:00 Learn ancient art of Tai Chi on sundeck

07:00 – 08:00 Leave luggage/bags outside cabins

07:00 – 09:30 Cruising Halong Bay

07:00 – 08:30 Energizing breakfast served

08:00 – 09:00 Check out

09:00 – 10:00 Disembarkation

10:00 – 10:15 Drop off point: Emeraude Café


Reception Deck: Souvenirs: First and Aid, Hair, Hair Dryer.

Massages available al day

Cruise with 14 persons and below set menu be served.

For Safety; life Jackets are in the drawer your Bed. Restaurant is the Muster Station.

No smoking in Cabins and Restaurant.

Legal is claimer is available in the cruise information booklet in your cabin.

This article written by Lanh Nguyen from Vietnam Heritage Travel

For original article, please visit:

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