December 23rd, 2007 – by: pauric_doherty
Our bus arriving to take us to Halong Bay .. a 3 1/2 hour bus journey
After a 6.30 start we got on the bus for Halong Bay.
It was a tourist bus that takes people from Hanoi
to Halong Bay for a day trip around the islands
and it was the cheapest way to get there. The driving outside the cities in
Vietnam is just as bad as in the cities but instead of beeping at just
motorcyclists, here they were beeping at buses, lorries, cars, and anything else
that happened to be along the road. People overtaking on the inside, outside
and even footpaths and also managing to squeeze 3 lanes of cars into 2 marked
The scenery along the road was lovely though. We crossed several
rivers where you could see large barges chugging along merrirly going about
their daily routine.
We passed hundreds of rice fields that were being ploughed
by the local farmers with their oxen, a first for me, because you don't see any
farmers ploughing by hand anymore. There were some richer farmers that had
little tractor units but not as many as oxen.
Halong Bay from the promenade!
As we got closer to Halong
Bay we started to come across several
mountains that protruded straight out of the ground, These were the same as the
mountains that made up the 3000 islands of Halong Bay,
just without the surrounding water!
We arrived at the tourist wharf in Halong Bay,
bang on time where we got a taxi to take us to our hotel, the Hoang Lan Hotel.
The hotel was quite nice, it had a mini bar, fan, cable tv and hot shower and
was only $10 per night. The only worrying factor was that we saw very few
people after leaving the tourist wharf.
We settled into our hotel, and went for a walk around the area
to find something to eat. There were hotels and restaurants everywhere, all
seafood type ones, but there were no people in any of them, the place looked
derelect. We finally chose one and had the easiest choice of all, fried rice.
The food was quite good, but it was a pity there weren't more people there to
enjoy it with us.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel to just chill out for
the evening, hoping that tomorrow would bring more life to the area. This
didn't look like much of an exciting place to spend Christmas, but we'll give
it the benefit of the doubt - for now!