Getting in some seatime
Trip Start Oct 07, 2012
27Trip End Nov 02, 2012
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Where I stayed
Huong Hai 16
Once in Hanoi we met up with out coach and headed out towards Ha Long. Hanoi was busy with the rush hour and we made slow progress at first. However we were eventually out of the city heading to the East. This was our first lengthy trip by road on a busy route. We have become used to the cities where the roads are invariably jammed, with numerous mopeds, and little regard for lights or crossings and the continual use of horns
Anyway we made progress East towards Ha Long, which is also the road to China. Enroute we passed Vietnam's coal mining area (one of the reasons that the French invaded) where the towns were covered in coal dust and the streets were regularly washed. We also passed small fields of green produce grown by the locals - and watered by hand using two watering cans at the same time.
By late morning we eventually arrived at Ha Long
Before long we were in amongst the islands looking at their many shapes. During the afternoon we visited one island which had a deep cave - Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave). It was quite impressive, but many of the stalagmites and stalactites had been damaged and there was some graffiti. However there were signs that efforts were being made to prevent further damage. Later we visited a lagoon, by rowing through a low tunnel worn into one island. On this island there were also some rare macaque monkeys.
We then headed off to another area where all the overnight junks would anchor for the night (a Vietnamese Government regulation folllowing some capsizes in typhoons and not knowing where the junks were) from where we were able to watch the sunset. In the evening the crew gave a demonstration of making sculptures from fruit and vegetables and then napkin folding. This was followed by evening drinks and another big meal. Some of us tried fishing off the side with a bamboo rod but no-one caught anything. We then retired to our bijou, but comfortable cabins.