Ha Long Bay
Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
332Trip End Jan 19, 2007
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After arriving back from Sa Pa (got into Hanoi around 5:30 am) - we had a couple of hours to kill before our tour to Ha Long Bay departed. We grabbed some breakfast, put some laundry in (its quite muddy trekking and only $1 a kilo) and did some quick checks on the net to help with our itinerary for Cambodia / Laos.
We got to Ha Long city around mid-day after about 3 hours on the mini-bus. We then boarded our home for the next day (a traditional boat) and sat down to some lunch. We drifted along through the bays many islands and visited some interesting caves. Unfortunately the weather was a bit grey but at least it was clear (apparently the day before it was thick fog and you couldn't see a thing!)
Later in the day, we embarked on some kayaking - quite an interesting experience as we spent most of the first 10 minutes going around in circles
There was a great group on the boat, some Italians currently living in the UK on their hols, a group of girls on a 9 month RTW trip, some Aussies and a Korean guy. The evening was spent with more food, buying beer from a passing floating market (woman in a rowing boat packed full of Oreos, Pringles, Beer, ...) and playing cards. We also polished off a bottle of bulgarian "champagne" - only the best - which Em managed to procure in a market before we got on the boat.
This morning we had breakfast (which seems to incorporate, bread, butter and jam in most places we've stayed in Vietnam) and puttered around the bay for another couple of hours until lunch time when it was back to Halong city for lunch and then back in the minibus to Hanoi. Typically as we were about to get to Halong city on the boat the skies cleared and the sun came out. We considered hijacking the boat for a couple more days to enjoy it all again in the sunshine - maybe next time!
The whole trip (boat, transfers, meals, kayaking, entrance fees) was about $33 each, so all in all not bad at all!
Also during the last couple of days, we've been reviewing our schedule for the coming weeks, and are in the process of trying to change the dates for our onward flights as we want to get a bit more time in Laos and Cambodia. We had 2 weeks for Tasmania and Melbourne and we'll probably trim this to about 8 days instead, giving us about another week in Laos and Cambodia to feel a bit less rushed. Any suggestions from anyone please let us know!!