Paradise on a boat....
Hanoi Travel Blog› entry 39 of 55 › view all entries
After sleeping really well, with the aid of some tiger beer, it's a 6:30AM start for us, but it's an absolutely stunning day, and that's the sort of thing you don't want to miss when in Vietnam for the wet season! People randomly get up at differing times, and we have some jam and eggs for breakfast, whilst cruising along the bay, along to Cat Ba Island, where it is possible to do another night and extend the trip. Already having booked our flight to Vientiane for tomorrow, we couldn't do it, even if we wanted to. I've heard Cat Ba is pretty built up, and I'm not really in the mood for trekking anyways, even if most of the rest of our crew, so they leave, whilst we wait around for a bit, and pick up some more people.
We're not allowed off the boat, however, and the swim which was promised never materialises. Not to worry, we just would have wet shorts all the way back anyway, and it was good enough to just lie there and chill out all day. We get to another floating village, which costs 30,000d (a hidden charge!), but does involve a trip through the cave which was used in a James Bond movie. Apparently. There is a 30 minute wait when we get back to dock, to wait for our minibus driver, but that's OK, we just chill on the top deck, catching some (rare) Vietnam rays. The lunch is included in the price, and we are driven to Halong City, which is a larger town than I thought it would be, and we get some pork, rice, and soup, which is pretty good.
The minibus back, however, is less than comfy for people over 2 feet tall, and I have my legs around my ears most of the way. Thankfully, we have the obligatory stop at the Handicraft Museum to break up the 3 hour trip back. All in all, the Halong Bay trip was really good fun, if a little regimented at times, with the surly nature of the staff. Still, we mugged them off a little by not declaring some beer, and we had a laugh watching them do karaoke. The weather couldn't have been better, and it's a good end to our Vietnam trip. The Elizabeth book us a taxi for tomorrow (5:45AM, shit!) for $10, and we head out to The Tandoor Indian restaurant, for some really good, substanstial, food.
After managing to change our dong for dollar at a jewellery store, we get a Laos guide off a street seller for $3, then hit the hay, on our last night in 'Nam! Bring on Laos..