Playing Around in Boats

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
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Trip End Mar 15, 2007


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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, May 29, 2006

Halong Bay, despite what geologists might say, was actually created by a dragon that lived in the mountains and as it flew towards the sea its tail carved out valleys and hills which form Halong Bay. It could also be said that it is a collection of 3000 or so limestone islands rising out of the water that is one of Vietnam World Heritage Sights but I like the dragon story better.

Myself and one other person from the hotel, Lisa from Finland, where both going on an overnight trip to Halong Bay and would soon meet up with 7 others (2 French, a family from Singapore and 2 more Fins) who we would share a boat with on a cruise round the islands with some kayaking thrown in for good measure just to make sure we didn't spend all day lazing on the deck doing nothing (sounds fine to me though).

The bus journey to the bay took around 3 hours with our guide Khang insisting on using the microphone on the small mini bus to speak to us which sounded like a stadium announcement whenever he said something and caused more than a few of us to jump every time he switched the thing on.

The boat was pretty nice and with only the 9 of us on it the crew almost outnumbered us which was fine by us since a glance at some of the other tour boats leaving stuffed to the brim made us glad of our neat little troop.

Lunch was served onboard not long after leaving dock and seafood was a major factor of course with it all being well prepared with plenty to go around even if they did sting us extra for the drinks which didn't come cheap, or at least not Vietnam prices cheap. The family from Singapore was just a Dad, Mum and daughter who reminded me so much of Amy Wong's parents from Futurama it was unreal which proved just as entertaining listening to their banter as watching the stunning scenery go by.

Out first stop was to a cave, Hang Sung Sot I think it was called but there are so many caves and grottos scattered amongst the islands it was hard to be sure. After the cave we stopped of at a nearby islands where we climbed the hill to the top to get a great vista of the surrounding islands and inlets as well as cheekily stocking up on cheaper drinks to board the boat with again.

With no rest for the wicked we were straight into the kayaks on returning to the boat with just the four of us setting out with the two French in one and myself and Lisa in the other. Of course we were all just there to relax and enjoy paddling around the islands and so no furious paddling to beat the other boat to a cave through to a small inlet took place (we won by the way!).

After knackering ourselves out paddling back (we lost this time but we weren't really trying, honest) we lounged around on the top deck in the sun for a while before dinner was served which we would follow up with some more lazing on the top deck. As we lay there the boat was only lightly anchored so would drift about 180 degrees in either direction which meant the view kept changing without having to get up and move - hey the kayaking really was tiring!

As night fell a number of squid fishing boats appeared in the distance with their bright lights attracting the squid and lighting up some of the island cliff faces closest to them as we saw some flashes of lighting away on the horizon in the direction of Hanoi as we lay there smugly, missing the rain for one night.
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