Halong Travel Guide
Paradise Suites Hotel is the very first luxury boutique hotel on the shores of Halong Bay.
It aims at extending the enchantment and humble majesty of the mythical seascape
inland. Even if Paradise Suites Hotel’s guests are staying on land,
Secret Diaries: The Day I Left My Heart in Ha Long Bay
It was the winter of 2013, the sun had barely shined on us for over two months now, and there I was, sitting on a big bus with fifty or more volunteers from all around the world, who were all called upon to help clean Ha Long Bay combined with a 10-day leadership workshop. The first few days were spent in a newly built 4-star hotel in Ha Noi where we all got acquainted with each other, the beginning of the lifetime friendships that we’ll all built in the future.
The group consisted of all kinds of cultures and backgrounds; United States, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, and of course Vietnam were all present in the group of about 120 volunteers that passed the final screening of the program in early December of 2012. Organized and setup by a small group of Vietnamese university students at the time, I was really impressed with what they have come up with. It was nothing but convincing and inspiring despite the experience that each student had who belonged in the organizing committee.
Few hours after we left the capital city and a short stopover in between, we have finally reached our final destination and our home for the next 7 to 8 days in Bai Chay, the central city district of Ha Long City, gateway to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination amongst the foreign visitors and the Vietnamese, all of us were in for an experience of a lifetime, especially considering the fact that more than a third of our group has never been to this magical place.
For days, the group of volunteers and myself had to undergo a series of trainings, discussions, activities, and cleanups of the beaches before ending the whole thing with an all-exclusive cruise on one of the best junk boats to ever exist at the time. And heaven it was, that day felt like nothing else we have never experienced before. From the reception, the welcome drinks, the interiors, the food, the drinks, and the staff of the junk boat, everything was just perfect; everything felt like we were going on a journey to Disneyland. Well, it was how it all felt for most of us.
Cruising along the towering karst limestone pillars of Ha Long Bay was as humbling as one could have just imagine. Words cannot and will never be able to describe the feeling that you’ll get when visiting the bay for the very first time. And even if you’re able to, it will never give justice to the series of emotions you’ll get once you’re there. It’s something that each person in this world, young and old, should and deserve to experience at least once in their lifetime. A place where fairytales and myths become a part of reality.
The week had passed quickly just like that and in one moment, we were on our way back to Ha Noi on the same bus. It was probably the most heartbreaking moment of our lives at the time, knowing that it would take some time before all of us would ever go back to the world wonder and see each other again. On the other hand, on retrospective, we were happy that we have been able to get this rare chance to make a small change on the community on a global scale and were able to meet the most amazing souls in our early 20s; adding to the life values that we’ll treasure for the rest of time, love, kindness, and friendship.
- Unit 201, 2nd Floor, Hanoi Tower,
No.49 Hai Ba Trung Str,
Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
- T: +84 24 3941 6666
- Hotline: (+84) 986 567 545
- Tuan Chau Island,
Halong, Quang Ninh, Vietnam
T: +84 2033 815 088
F: +84 203 3384 2366