Yes... I'm alive.

Halong Bay Travel Blog

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OMG. I just realized how funny it looks that everyone seems ashamed to be there. Heads down and all. ha!
Here it goes.
I will try my best to sum up the past few days into this little blog...

It was Tuesday morning, I had booked my trip to Halong Bay but hadn't paid yet. I had 30 mins to eat a piece of bread(which will prove to be my stomach's savor later in this trip), get to the ATM that denied me the cash I asked for the night before, and get back to the hostel to hop in another cramped bus. Long story short, made it by a couple minutes. All 12 or so of us were off...

Leaving Ha Noi I must say was quite a vacation in itself. As the sounds of honking other cars and scooters starting to lessen ever so much. Our driver on the other hand, honked at everything.
Another one of "Those photos"
Cars, people, I swear her even honked at a small rat running the length of the road.
Our Guide "Duc", pronounced "Dook" was an enthusiastic lad. Spoke English well, and "loved" everything. Loved Ha Noi, Loved Halong Bay, Loved Soccer, Loved the season of Autumn, and he was sure to let us know, many times.

We stop at a little gift shop that says on the outside, "Workshop for the handicap children." And yes, inside were children, that look no more handicap than anyone else I knew, work'n away. Making little trinkets and things to sell. I guess the idea was to have us travelers partake in purchasing the items. Nothing of which I was interested in taking a part.

After 20 minutes we hopped back in the van and headed to the bay.
Now we were never really told what we'd be doing, when or how this whole thing worked.
Duc liked to keep the details to himself. We arrived at the boat yard. Now, with all our gear in hand, hopping from rickety boat to boat while they're swaying and literally crashing into one another we squeeze our way to the final boat. Right before that I had narrowly escaped being crushed between 2 of the boats.

We piled in kicked back. And waited for take-off. After some more banging around, and some yelling of crew members, we were off. Into the ocean!

An hour later, we gratuitously accepted our first  meal of the tour.  I told the guide previously that I was vegetarian(Which fades later on), so I got to sit at the "veggie table". I ate up. Everything was pretty greasy anyway.

20 minutes later we arrived at "Amazing Cave". Yay for that.
On the way over the island to the other side.
Although I must say, the views were pretty spectacular up to this point. Crazy rocks and mountains jutting out of the sea as if sailing around each one might reveal a pirate ship from back in the day. It was that kind of atmosphere. Anyways, "Amazing Cave". It was pretty amazing. A huge open cave in the side of one of these large water mountain rocks.

As we walked around inside and Duc gave speeches as to what it rock form was to the people of Vietnam(None of which really looked like what it was supposed to be) I started to get a lil shall we say... queezy. Nautious. I couldnt wait to get outa there. Something from lunch definitely didnt agree with me.
When we got back to the boat: jdhcjkwefbnvchjkwbfvhjwbvhjwbfvhjwbfcvhjwbcvhjwfe(Thats me throwing-up)
Actually I puked a few times.

Then we switched boats.

Shortly after we arrived at the island. Not so fast. The tide was low. We had to switch to ANOTHER smaller boat and dock with that! It was kinda funny.

The huts we stayed in were entirely made of bamboo and tightly weaved some-kinda-plant or another. Long story short. I skipped dinner and spent the entire night in the room(of 3 people) puking and laying on my death bed. Luckily Duc was looking out for me, asked whats wrong. He brought me some taost like I requested and then I went to sleep.

The next day I felt better 10 fold, and was feeling adventurous. About 5 of us hiked up a trail over the island to the other side for a great view. After we went for a swim on the beach.
We were hoping to do some kayaking later on.

Funny thing. One of the hosts of the island came over to us to tell us that we couldn't kayak in one direction. That was the way of course we were hoping to go. He said because of the "Levi". I was like yea ok. Whatever. I'm like "We're going anyway, what levi, thats stupid". An hour later, we hear firing of guns or a canon or something. I run over to investigate.... it was the "Navy" doing target practice!!! Right next to our island! I thought he said "Levy" Ha! So funny!   : (

We decided to Kayak the other direction. Actually, a pretty ambitious task. On the opposite side, about 5 "kilometers" (You do the conversion) was a small city called Cat-Bar Island. And so we went. Took about an hour to paddle to it, with Vietnamese people in sketchy boats driving by and saying things like "hello", and some motioning to go back.
Place we stayed
Luckily they were just mess'n w/ us.  Another instance includes a large cruiseliner-like boat that was headed right at us, blowing its horn and all. We quickly paddled out of its course, as the wake of the boat nearly knocked us all out of our kayaks.

We arrived on Cat-Bar Island. Found some small steps that lead up to the street. Meanwhile, trying to get out of the boats was like a comedy show. As the natives sat around the steps in their tiny little 2-wood-piece, tied together by string boats, just kneeling on a tiny piece of wood watching a group of Westerners attempt to get out of our kayaks... Must have been hell-of-a-sight! And yes, they were laughing. Then they were yelling cuz we were in the way. Then they were laughing again.

I stopped to try the internet which I couldn't get to load any common websites, including this one.
Other people stopped to get Vodka and sunscreen.

Eventually we headed back, but not before some fisherman in one of those tiny boats comes flying up to the dock, hops out of the boat carrying a 20 lb sea catfish, then jumps on the back of a scooter and takes off somewhere. Presumably home for dinner.

Let me just make a note that the sunset on the way back to the island while paddling in our kayaks was amazing. Let me also just note, we were all incredibly tired by the time we were received by the staff on the island that were fairly impressed with our voyage.

Once again, although I tried to stay up a little later was at a days final rest by approximately 9pm.
The next morning everyone got up early had breakfast(For me toast and a pancake, fried of course)and then walked the plank up to the boat to take us away.
In-between exchanging boats and having a little lunch on the boat, the group of us persuaded Duc to allow us a swim for 15 minutes, even though he previously said we didnt have time.

So we jumped off the 2.5 story high top of the boat into the beautiful emerald green waters. I liked in so much I did it twice! Great way to cool down.

Then its back to the bus. The driver was even more nutz than the last! Almost hit a few people and one big truck.
Back at the hostel, I hoped for a room availability, and to my delight there was one person who hadn't checked in. I was set.

Now I just have to catch my plane back to Bangkok tomorrow morning for another adventure.

Also, I just remembered. One of my other undertakings in traveling was to make time to do some reading.
Something of substance. Something that breaks away from the droning creation of designing graphics day after day. Not to say I don't enjoy it. I probly enjoy it too much. But after so many hours, it makes your mind turn to mush. Clouds thoughts. Elevates any pure original thinking. My book of choice for this trip has been Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography. Recommended by a really good friend, and the fact that I have always appreciated the mans train of thought, seemed like a prime candidate  for reading. I'm nearly done!! Feeling refreshed already. 
Jayfed says:
Nice write up!
Now i'm a little bit uneasy to travel solo across vietnam :) ... guess i need to bring lots of loperamide
Posted on: Jan 18, 2012
mslellen says:
Congrats on the feature
Posted on: Jun 09, 2010
livelovelaugh87 says:
Sounds like a great time :) I can't wait to go there myself!
Posted on: Feb 08, 2010
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OMG. I just realized how funny it …
OMG. I just realized how funny it…
Another one of Those photos
Another one of "Those photos"
On the way over the island to the …
On the way over the island to the…
Place we stayed
Place we stayed
People who live on the water.
People who live on the water.
Getting into the boats.
Getting into the boats.
The culprit!
The culprit!
Amazing Cave
"Amazing Cave"
More Amazing Cave
More "Amazing Cave"
view from the end of Amazing Cave
view from the end of "Amazing Cave"
Right after the swim.
Right after the swim.
The full Group.
The full Group.
Uhhh. Yea.
Uhhh. Yea.
Halong Bay
photo by: miggitymax