Halong Bay Travel Blog› entry 12 of 47 › view all entries
Today we headed to halong Bay for our boat trip around part of it and an overnight stay on Cat ba island.
The boat was so lovely and we had a really fancy seafood lunch on board! Felt very rich for a while. There are over a thousand islands in the area and most are made of limestone. Barely any are inhabited, they are just covered with lush vegetation. The scenery was just stunning, the sun was out most of the time and it was so perfect and relaxing. It is definitely one of the highlights and one of the most beautiful things so far! We stopped of enroute to visit a huge cave full of stalagmites and stalatite which was pretty inpressive too. Got some awsome photos that will be on facebook shortly.
We arrived at Cat Ba island and i have to admit i was slightly dissappointed. Considering the area we were in I had been expecting nice beaches and bamboo and huts etc but no it was a bit like blackpool. It was a very poorly done vietnamese resort which was dissappointing. Obviously being by the sea seafood was the big thing here and it was all swimming around in tanks at each resturant, just watching you order it off the menu. I stuck with beef for this part!! I was not keen on eating something that was looking at me five minutes earlier!
It was definitely a 36 hour period of firsts! I had my first go on a moped, on the back with Kat driving. I was hanging on so tight!! However it was short lived as the cheeky guys who rented it to us had left the fuel tank bone dry!! We made it about 1000m down the road before it died halfway up a small slope!! So we had to turn round and walk it back, it was very embarrassing and the locals found it highly amusing!
The next first happened on our farewell meal for members of the group leaving the next day. After our meal our guide took us to a vietnamese disco! It was hilarious and very surreal! It was in a large hall without only about 35 people there. The music was vietnames dance/trance stuff and the dance floor was in the centre. They had a strobe that the dj liked to keep on permanently! The people dancing consisted of about 12 camp vietnamese guys and one local lady who must have been about 50! The guys moved like they had no joints and weren't really listening to the beat! The lady was in a complete world of her own, writhing and boogying alone with her eyes closed the whole time. Oh well there is always one! We all joined in for a dance and I think we pulled it off quite well however mine and Kats funky chicken dance did not catch on. Strange that.
After we had our trance fill we headed to a more normal bar but ended up being dragged into a round of flaming sambucas and then kept being presented with beer to drink. It was free so i forced it down! Kat ended up doing body shots off an american guy who looked like he waxed every inch of his body!! She then became the body for the shots, it was so funny.
The bar shut at 12.30 so well oiled we all headed to the beach for more drinking and chilling. We arrived back at the hotel for noodle soup at 3.30am and found we had been locked out yet again! Ooops, they dont advertise curfews well!
The next moring after 3 hours sleep we though kayaking in Halong Bay was a good idea. No way am I ever doing it again. It was so hard! Our boat veered one way and then you corrected it and it went the other and we couldn't get any speed up but we were trying so hard!! I got so frustrated and had a mini tantrum!! Oh dear, the guide took us a really long way so we were knackered and sunburnt! We stopped at a place called Monkey Island to see the wild monkeys but they have turned a bit touristy really. The were cute and came down from the trees for titbits but the locals only feed then rubbish like pringles and stuff. The local tourists and other asian tourists did nothing to undo their stereotype and swarmed everywhere with their camers and totally disrespected the space around a mum monkey and her baby.
We headed in for a swim, five of us from the group in our bikinis and we suddenyl were more of an attraction than the monkeys!! They were taking photos of us and still trying when we repeatedly told them not to! They were all lined up waiting for us to come out the sea with their cameras!! It was very strange because we weren't off the beaten track, Vietnam gets lots of westerners! We have found that in Vietnam we are stared and pointed at where ever we go, I thought it would be more like that in Cambodia where it is a bit less touristy but no we are the main attraction in some places. We have also found people here are a bit more willing to rip you off as well which is a shame.
Oh well of to Laos soon which is meant to be so much more chilled out.