Chilling in Halong Bay

Trip Start May 08, 2006
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Trip End Mar 07, 2007


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Monday, June 26, 2006

Went with the same group Cameron, Kylie, Sarah, Amanda, Fiona and Me + 2 others Colum and Megan to Halong Bay. After a 3 hour van ride from Hanoi we arrived. Hopped on the boat and traveled round the bay. Did a bit of swimming, jumping off the boat together and kayaking. I went with Fiona on the first day. I think either our Kayak was stuffed or Fiona SUCKED because we always went to the right! I think it was the Kayak. Kayaked to a beach that was packed with Vietnamese and then kayaked back to the boat, just in time to see the sunset. See photos.

The first night we slept on the boat. I stayed up chatting to the Scotish guy Colum (who I thought was nammed Golum - Smeagle!)about the world and life etc. Before i knew it I had been locked out of my room and had to sleep on the roof of the boat. I didn't care too much because the roof was cooler but at about 4:30 in the morning it started to poor down. I went down below and slept with the crew on the chairs.

The next day was spent with a little more kayaking which I did with Sarah, much easier I must say. Did a bit of swimming at a little beach and practised throwing dead coral accross the water. A lot of the photos for Halong I will have to get off other people as my camera was too big to take around!

The rest of the day was spent at the island of Cat Ba. Stayed at a expensive hotel called the Prince. Celebrated Kylies Bday, i still couldn't touch alchohol after the whole Sapa train incident. Had a nice view at the top where i could stare into people windows and watch them get changed :) Sarah, Amanda, Fiona and me decided to stay a extra day and night. Seemed like a good idea but probably not worth it as i will explain.

The next day was spent changing to a cheap hotel. Arguing about being overcharged for laundry and very slow internet! By late afternoon we all finally went to the beach. We headed off only to see a beach packed to the max with vietnamese. So we headed to the Cat Ba 2 beach, along the side of cliffs we made it to a little bit bigger beach with a little less people. Only Sarah and I swam, through the mass amount of rubbish and the brown foamy bubbles it was beautiful! I had to piggy back Sarah, as being a brit she couldnt judge how to jump a wave without swallowing a heap of garbage. How i crave to be back at Halong at the moment or Sapa. So different to the lonely Hong Kong where I write this at the moment.

The night was spent watching Australia tragically lose the world cup and me trying to act like i didnt care around a bunch of foreigners. Inside I was crying. The last day was spent finding out the tour company wasnt going to pick us back up from the island because we didnt tell them we were changing hotels. He made our own way back and asked for our money back. In vietnam however, if any tour person is unhappy with the service or anything like that, the person that pays is not the company but the tour guide out of his own pocket, even if it isnt his fault. It was all one big misunderstanding, between vietnamese and english. The tour company owed us about 15 dollars each. Poor Binh our tour guide (real nice guy) was brought in and told to pay us. Thats like over a weeks wages for him. His eyes were filling up with tears, we felt so bad, just told them to forget about it. Thats the way its done in Vietnam though, tour guides always pay no matter what. If something stuffs up, a bus breaks down, etc, they have to work everything out themselves.

Halong Bay was awesome, definatley have to come back one day. Will have more pics from others if they send to me, hint hint ;)

Sorry for not putting the usual Brett Harden charm in, feeling a bit of a losty in Hong Kong at the moment. Missing people ive met, and Vietnam.

Regards

Brett
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