On board Indochina Sails Premium – Halong Bay

From the moment you are taken by tender boat to your junk everything is organised for you. After a safety briefing and a 5 course lunch you are on your journey out into Halong Bay.

I opted for a 30 minute massage mid afternoon before relaxing on the sun deck taking in the amazing scenery all around me.

Late afternoon we went to Cua Van floating village which is where there is a population of 650 people. We transferred to small rowing boats and toured the village for 45 minutes being rowed by one of the villagers.This was an amazing experience to see how these people live. There is even a floating primary school for the children.

Dinner and drinks ended the first day.

The following morning I was up at 7am for tai chi on the sundeck which was followed by the tender transfer to Titop Island for a swim and climb up to the top of the mountain for fantastic views.

Back to the boat, showered and ready for breakfast before sailing back to Halong Pier after an amazing trip.

20140521-082238-30158759.jpg

20140521-082238-30158499.jpg

20140521-082238-30158605.jpg

20140521-082238-30158896.jpg

20140521-082238-30158826.jpg

20140521-082239-30159036.jpg

20140521-082238-30158963.jpg

20140521-082238-30158689.jpg

20140521-082239-30159098.jpg

20140521-082239-30159171.jpg

Halong Bay – a night on board a junk with Indochina Sails

Words do not really do Halong Bay justice – majestic,mysterious and inspiring are a few which come to mind about this natural wonder, designated a world heritage site, where more than 3,000 incredible islands rise from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.

I stayed overnight on board Indochina Sails premium and from start to finish the service was excellent.
It is a journey of over 3 hours from Hanoi but it’s definately worth it and all is taken care of by Indichina Sails.

The food on board, along with the comfort of the cabin and staff were all excellent.

20140520-154517-56717583.jpg

20140520-154517-56717203.jpg

20140520-154517-56717301.jpg

20140520-154517-56717371.jpg

20140520-154517-56717448.jpg

20140520-154517-56717709.jpg

20140520-154517-56717647.jpg

20140520-154517-56717843.jpg

20140520-154517-56717913.jpg

20140520-154517-56717781.jpg

20140520-154517-56717976.jpg

20140520-154518-56718050.jpg

20140520-154518-56718190.jpg

20140520-154518-56718119.jpg

20140520-154517-56717516.jpg

20140520-154518-56718264.jpg

The Travel Architect in Hanoi

Well I thought Ho Chi Minh City was crazy with traffic but Hanoi beats them hands down.

As the capital of Vietnam it really is the most atmospheric capital city in Indochina. It has it all – a mass of motorbikes swarming the tangled web of streets in the old quarter which has been the centre of commerce for almost a 1000 years.

Hoan Kiem Lake is the heart of the old quarter and there are many temples and the famous neo gothic St Joseph’s Cathedral.

For many Vietnamese people the mausoleum of Mr Ho himself is their first place to visit as it is the most holy place for them.

I stayed in a fantastic 3 star hotel whilst there called “Charming 2 ” which had the most amazing staff led by the Manager Linda. Well worth putting it on your itinerary.

Hanoi is also used as a gateway to Halong Bay, more of which will be in the next blog.

20140520-145203-53523288.jpg

20140520-145236-53556607.jpg

20140520-145236-53556833.jpg

20140520-145236-53556755.jpg

20140520-145236-53556687.jpg

20140520-145236-53556908.jpg

The Travel Architect in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City formally known as Saigon – wow what can I say about such a fast moving city !

Staying in the Caravelle Hotel in district 1 was an ideal spot looking out to the Opera House.

What really amazed me about the city was the cleanliness and obvious wealth.Christian Dior, Hermes and Louis Vuitton shops were on our doorstep and then round the corner you would wander down tiny alleys to ancient pagodas,temples and markets selling silks and spices reminding you of the past.

20140519-153543-56143440.jpg

20140519-153543-56143288.jpg

20140519-153543-56143049.jpg

20140519-153543-56143142.jpg

20140519-153543-56143510.jpg

20140519-153543-56143218.jpg

20140519-153543-56143571.jpg

20140519-153543-56143362.jpg

The Travel Architect in Hoi An – Vietnam

Hoi An is Vietnam’s most atmospheric and delightful town and I’m glad I chose it for the beach part of our adventure round Indochina.

Six days chilling out at the beach was an excellent way to spend our time in the midst of our stays in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Once a major port, Hoi An boasts grand architecture and a fantastic riverside setting.The old town is full of tottering Japanese merchant houses, Chinese temples and ancient tea houses.Many have been converted into stylish cafés, wine bars, restaurants and trendy boutiques. There are also over 100 tailors shops !

Across the bridge in the centre of town is An Hoi where the night market takes place and where time has stood still and not a lot has changed from years ago.

I was lucky that our stay in Hoi An coincided with Budha’s Birthday and the full moon celebrations which happen once a month when only the famous Hoi An lanterns light up the streets.

20140519-151840-55120374.jpg

20140519-151840-55120523.jpg

20140519-151840-55120248.jpg

20140519-151840-55120586.jpg

20140519-151840-55120454.jpg

20140519-151840-55120846.jpg

20140519-151840-55120775.jpg

20140519-151840-55120911.jpg

20140519-151840-55120644.jpg

20140519-151840-55120977.jpg

20140519-151840-55120710.jpg

If Only and Silversea Dinner

Last night I was invited by Iain from If Only Holidays and Amanda from Silversea to a dinner with select agents in Glasgow.

As usual the food and company was fantastic and it was great to learn some news about the fantastic offers If Only have in conjunction with Silversea.

Silversea still have some offers for May which take in Cannes and Monte Carlo – imagine watching the Grand Prix from the sea !

I’ll be posting some more offers in the next day or so which include Thailand,Vietnam,Hong Kong Myanmar for later on this year and 2015

20140312-145017.jpg