Sitting on the dock of the bay...

Halong Bay Travel Blog

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Today I definitely woke up still drunk. We had to get up at 7AM, to make it to the Kangaroo Cafe for just before 8, and I instantly regretted staying up til 3 watching the Liverpool game. I know I contemplated staying in bed, and Burg did too, but we somehow forced ourselves to get up, and get ready for our Halong Bay trip.

The Elizabeth lets us keep our big packs at the hotel, as we have one more night booked there when we get back before we fly to Vientiane. There was no rush though, as the bus didn't pick us up until 9AM, due to two girls not getting out of bed, claiming the weather was too bad. Eventually one of them did, and we all got in the minibus, and made our way to Halong Bay. It was cloudy, but not raining, and warmish, so not too bad, all in all.

It takes 3 hours to get to Halong City, with a stop at a handicrafts store, which helps out victims of Agent Orange (the American chemical attacks carried out on mostly civilians during the war), but no-one buys anything, and get to the Bay, around 1PM. It is tourist central at the Bay, absolutely swarming with them, and we pick up 4 of them, and get on our boat. The boat seems to be the one shown to us by the girl in the Kangaroo Cafe, so that's a good start, and there are only 16 of us (the maximum number promised), and I spy kayaks! So far, so good!

After some lunch (included in price) of fish, salad, spring rolls, and tofu, and some Tiger Beers (20,000d), we cruise through the grottoes of Halong Bay. The bay is another UNESCO World Heritage site, and has over 3000 islands jutting up through the water, and endless caves, one of which we sail to first. It is called the surprising cave, and has some impressive natural rock formations (one of which looks like Buddha, and another a penis). There are some excellent views of the Bay from the top of the boat too, especially as the sun has now come out, and it's pretty hot.

We moor in a bay, surrounded by grottoes, and are pitched up for the evening. The next thing we are told to do (it's quite regimented!) is to kayak, so me and Burg get on it first, and go out, life-jacket-less through the hidden cave, and kayak around the water for a while, which is great fun. When we get back, Burg gets out and leaves me drifting off (unintentionally) then dives in to pull me back (We had already given in our oars!). After jumping off the boat and having a swim, the sun sets through a crack in two islands, which is fantastic.

We have a dinner of egg, pork, soup, chips, cucumber and rice, then are treated to some karaoke from the staff. Inbetween these two events, I drink a beer which smells and tastes like vinegar. The surly captain accuses a Canadian guy who bought on some beer of bringing on the fake beer, which sours the evening (no pun intended!), so we leave, and chill on the sundeck, drinking and looking at the stars. Myself, Burg, and a Scottish girl we met called Hannah discover the frying-pan constellation. After Burg makes friends with the ships cat, everyone goes to bed, and we do too, having enjoyed the first day of our Halong BAy tour immensely!

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Halong Bay
photo by: miggitymax