Tag Archives: Halong Bay

The Halong Bay Booze Cruise!

28 Jan

When I was planning my trip to Southeast Asia, I knew that I would only have about a week’s time in Vietnam. So, I decided I would make my way over to Hanoi, Vietnam from Vang Vieng, Laos until I needed to fly back to Thailand for the Full Moon Party. There were two things that I knew I had to do: Visit a snake restaurant and cruise on a junk boat through the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay.

I heard from many people about the infamous “Rock Hard, Rock Long Halong Bay Tour” offered at the ever-so-popular Hanoi Backpackers hostel. It would be expensive, but literally everyone recommended it so I knew that I had to do it.

Anyway, there were a few different options for the Halong Bay Booze Cruise. I chose the 2 day tour which cost 79.50 USD. It was significantly more expensive than tours offered in town and through other hostels, but I knew I was signing up for a guaranteed good time. From what I heard from all the friends I met and from all their pictures I have seen, my advice would be to splurge on the 3 day tour instead of 2 day as you get to spend the 2nd night on Castaway Island. Regardless, the 2 day tour was unreal! SO much ridiculous-ness and SO much fun.

It started with a 4 hour drive to Halong City where we would eventually take a small boat to our junk boat, the Jolly Roger, in Halong Bay!

One of the best parts of our tour was our tour leader, Luke. He was AWESOME. He had actually ran out of money and returned home to work for a bit, so this was his FIRST night back as a tour leader AND it was his birthday! By the end of the tour, he said our group was the craziest he has ever guided and that it was one hell of a birthday. So, if you get Luke, you’re in for one hell of a good time. That’s what I love about Southeast Asia: it’s so unconventional in so many ways. A tour guide in Canada or the U.S. wouldn’t be caught dead drinking with his group or he’d be fired, but in Southeast Asia, it’s not only okay, but it’s encouraged! Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to bring your own alcohol aboard, although I’m sure you can get away with sneaking some on like we did. Drinks are a little more expensive on the Jolly Roger than they are in Hanoi, but there’s nothing like an ice-cold 333 on a hot, sunny day, so it’s worth it.

Halong Bay was exactly as I imagined it would be. It was a sunny day when we got there and it was absolutely stunningly beautiful. Even with the sun, the thousands of limestone islands covering Halong Bay gave it a mystical feel making it seem like a lost place.

We cruised along Halong Bay for a few hours before the junk anchored itself in a clear spot where we could jump off the boat!

Myself and Gemma jumping into our salty fate

Jumping into this salt water abyss was incredibly exhilarating. It was a perfect day for swimming too since it was SO hot out. It was probable one of the hottest days on my trip. Soon enough, our entire group had jumped in except for one girl who was terrified because she just recently learned how to swim. Our group was awesome though and we eventually convinced her to jump and she was so glad she did as it was such a huge fear she wanted to overcome.

Now, one thing I noticed on my trip, and it has something to do with the fact that it is really expensive to fly from Canada to Southeast Asia, was that I rarely encountered other Canadians! By some crazy coincidence though, not only were there about 6 other Canadians on the boat, but most of them went to the university that I currently go to in London, Ontario. Mind-blowing.

Anyway, after swimming we all partnered up and took kayaks to this cool cave. It was fun because so many of us were terrible kayakers. But, for me, the cave wasn’t the cool part. Rather, it was seeing the floating stores where Vietnamese people made their living selling snack, drinks, etc. There are ton of them on Halong Bay, but beware of getting ripped off like so many tourists do.

As we headed back to the boat, the sun started to set. Little did we know, we were in for one crazy night.

The party started with a massive game of King’s Cup for us North Americans, or Ring of Fire to the rest of the world. Basically, it’s a game where everyone sits around a table lined with a circle of cards that are faced down. Everyone takes turns flipping the cards over and for each card there’s a specific rule. I swear, every time I play this game, the rules are slightly different. The rules that our leader gave us were the best and most inventive I have ever played with.

Since there were so many people on board we split up into two tables and kind of played against each other for certain rules, which totally added to the fun.

Here’s how it went…

If we turned over an ace, it was A & B. Basically the person who picked up the card got someone else to cover their eyes while they point to 2 different people and, before uncovering their eyes, they think of an action for them to do. For example, A motorboats B, A gives a lap dance to B, etc.

What about a 2 or a 3? Well, a 2 required our table to yell “F*CK YOU” as loudly as possible to the other table and that table would then have to drink. We had to scream “F*CK ME” if someone picked up a 3 and, in turn, we would have to drink.

If someone picked up a 5 they would have to scream “SHARK ATTACK!” and jump on their chair. Last person to jump on their chair had to drink.

7 was one of my favourites — the Troll card. If someone picked up a 7 they would have to go under the table (like a troll) and they had to stay there until someone else picked up a 7. People also got to “feed the troll” alcohol. It was hilarious.

Poor Steph was troll for the majority of the game

Card number 9 was definitely one of the most surprisingly funniest. It was the Confession card and the person who picked it up had to stand on their chair and confess something. Naturally, most of these were funny (hence, sexual), but some of the ones were just MAD. Like absolutely crazy things that I could never mention here. Let’s just say is has something to do with the Pattaya red light district, hookers, and lady boys. Leader Luke even said that he had never heard such ridiculous stories in his entire Halong Bay career.

After the crazy Pattaya story was told...

The Queen card was my favourite because it was just so stupid and funny — the Transvestite card. If someone pulled a Queen, they had to swap clothes with the person of the opposite sex to their left. By the end of the game, my tank top and jean shorts were half way across the room on some random guy.

Yeah, those are MY clothes! No, I don't know his name!

Steph, Gemma and I in our boy clothes

And the rest of the night was history! Just a massive, drunken dance party on the top deck. Drinking games and a lot of ‘getting-to-know-each-other.’ It was definitely one for the books.

We headed back to Hanoi early the next day. And, it rained. AND, it was still beautiful in the rain. Magical, even.

The Halong Bay Booze Cruise tour was awesome! I definitely recommend going through Hanoi Backpackers because they were really keen on making sure we had a great time. Also, going through Hanoi Backpackers (or any hostel, I would imagine) ensures that you’re with other people your age. Otherwise, you might end up with a group of old people (no offence) who might be annoyed with your drunken antics.

The tour of Halong Bay was one of the highlights of my trip, as it was for many others. If you’re ever in Hanoi, do not pass up this crazy, fun opportunity.