Cruising and Boozing
Trip Start Mar 27, 2012
34Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
The Jolly Roger
What I did
The depths of the sea
High Speed Tubing
There are so many tour operators out here that offer different packages for getting around the heritage site, these vary in price, length of time and activities while you're there.
We decided to book through our hostel in Hanoi. We met so many people here and heard great things about the experience that we couldn't really justify going with anyone else. As the hostel is quite a youthful scene, we were pre-warned that it might get a bit wild...the warnings were correct!
We left very early on Monday morning, making the four hour journey by mini van and with everyone carrying their specially provided sombreros! From the moment we set foot on the boat the drinking rules were enforced: No saying 'mine' or 'ten', that will get you ten push ups, and no right handed drinking unless you fancy downing whatever it is. I was the first victim on the boat having to do ten push ups in the middle of the room where everyone was eating lunch! That's one way to be introduced to a load of strangers!
After a beer or two and filling our faces with the banquet provided by The Jolly Roger, we all took the plunge off the boat and boy did it hurt! Adam did it a good few times no problem, where as I just did it the once after the waves gave me an almighty slap...my legs are still tender 4 days on!
Once acquainted with the water we headed out in kayaks to explore the caves of the bay close up. We kayaked quite a distance before reaching our cave, then explored a little before getting a history lesson about Ha Long Bay. For example did you know that its name means the descending dragon and that the rocks in the bay are said to be pearls dropped by the dragon whilst descending. I could go on...but I'll spare you the rest of the mythology lesson!
We then had a shorter kayak journey to a nearby fishing village where we were collected and returned to our vessel for yet another incredible meal. And then, the drinking games began! The game was very similar to Ring of Fire but with the rules turned up to 11. Before you ask, yes we did keep the rules, and we'll save them as a surprise for those who dare to play.
But enough of drunken antics and back to the surrounding beauty! The sunset over Ha Long Bay has to be one of the most breathtaking things we've seen so far and waking up to it the next day was the perfect wake up call.
Feeling a little delicate and sleep deprived from the night before we woke to breakfast and the sight of some people already drinking at 7am; we left it 'til a little later for the hair of the dog. After breakfast we headed to our own private island for some peace and high adrenalin activities. We were all able to do rock climbing though most people opted out, the routes were pretty challenging, but Adam tackled it and made it all the way to the top.
After this came the water sports, and they were extreme.
The choices were between high speed tubing and wake boarding. I picked the former and Adam, the latter. I went first with our friend Emma and came back having had 'the worst wipe-out I've ever seen' as stated by our tour guide. Check out facebook for the video, it was brutal! Adam had more success with his sport, being the only first timer who could actually get up and stay up on the board. So we both walked away having impressed...but clearly for very different reasons.
Later that night we had a BBQ and more drinking games, but tamer this time. Rather than committing to that the whole night we went to watch the plankton glow in the dark in the water and sand, and laid back on the beach building what was definitely the worst sand castle known to man.
The next morning, after a sandy, damp and short sleep in our bamboo huts, we got an early boat back into the marina before getting the bus back to Hanoi. We met some amazing people, had wild experiences and did it all in one of the most incredible places.
It was safe to say, we didn't really want to leave.