One of the Seven Wonders and a giant rock cock...
Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
144Trip End May 01, 2013
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Where I stayed
The Imperial Junk
We have both drawn a very rapid conclusion that Hanoi is a filthy, smelly, souless place where everybody is trying to run you over...
We rode it out, bought our tickets and then jumped in a taxi to Amanda Hotel to hook up with our transfer to Halong Bay. Enter stage left - Tony and his happy club! Excited by (for once) a smiley, happy, chatty guide this soon turned to dismay as a family of six with three babies (two of which were below the age of 8 months) boarded our transfer - we hoped they would be on a different boat...
Sixteen Singaporeans altogether...and us. It didn't take long for high pitched toddler/baby screeches to ensue with their crazy grandparents laughing cutely at their ear piercing sounds.
We stopped for lunch at a tourist targeted roadhouse exhibiting numerous huge marble carvings and large snakes squashed into jars chewing on black scorpions for extra va va voom and cute kittens the size of cupcakes...We had to check that too much Thai whisky doesn't make you hallucinate. Weird. Imagine Little Chef on acid.
Arrived at Halong Bay with our entourage of cheep cheep cheeping (and screeching) although we were quite pleased to have survived the crazy driving techniques which include invisible overtaking lanes and much use of the horn.
We met up with our final tourists to complete the party - a French Canadian guy and his Chinese mail order bride - and with ticket in hand we boarded the Imperial Junk (very appropriate..junk of a very imperial nature...) - nice enough boat if you didn't look too closely but still surrounded by cheeping.
Halong Bay - amazing! The sun was shining and we were told that this kind of weather was luck of the draw - it had been really foggy for the weeks before we arrived apparently! We sailed around limestone rock formations until we reached a docking point and disembarked for an adventure into a 'spectacular' cave.
As we went deeper and deeper into it, we were overjoyed to witness a cock shaped stalagmite so ike silly teenagers we took photos of each other pretending to hold it...as you do! Needless to say, there was a myriad of other sculptures and faces formed by the rocks in the cave but none as impressive as the cock shaped bit...
Whilst waiting to reboard our boat the French Canadian slipped and almost ended up between the boat and jetty, much to his embarrassment - it must also have really hurt. We tried not to laugh. But it was quite funny. Vikki noticed that he had rather a lot of baggy flesh which indicated he perhaps used to be a fat guy and this had been backed up by him taking all of the grilled fish at our shared lunch table hours before.
We sailed to our next stop just across the bay where kayak stations awaited our arrival and fully kitted out with life jackets and paddles we set sail for dark mysterious crevasses lined with purple clawed crabs in abundance.
We arrived back just before sunset and dragged our sodden backsides out of our kayaks and returned to our beautiful sailing boat. We changed quickly and went up on deck for dinner, which was sparse to say the least - so much so that Vikki had taken to eating the carrots carved into flowers..
After dinner, a bottle of wine, a couple of gin and tonics, we decided to go squid fishing off the back of the boat (unsuccessfully). There were a couple of near misses and the closest we got was an ink spurt which Vikki wasn't around to see so it practically didn't happen...
Karaoke was on the agenda but only us and the chinese mail order bride were interested so it was a non-starter. Armed with a final gin and tonic we surrendered our rods and retired to our luxury cabin where we just about fit in the bed if Vikki bent her legs a bit and I hung one arse cheek over the side...