How Long is Halong???

Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 23, 2011

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Cristina Cruises
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Ships Ahoy Sailor, we're off to Halong Bay

So from Hanoi we booked our boat cruise around Halong Bay with our hotel. As it was nearing to my Birthday we thought we would splash out a little and go for a "superior" but not "luxury" cruise. Although we wasn't expecting much the boat was still nice and we had a cute little room with private en-suite and that all important air-con, even though this wasn't exactly needed as the average temperature at Halong Bay is a mere 25 degrees.

For those that don't know what Halong Bay is obviously do not watch Top Gear and haven't seen the Vietnam episode, after all its the reason why most of us were there. Halong Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin and just a few miles from China, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site's outstanding scenic beauty has resulted in it being named as a..... wait for it....yes.....yet another World Heritage Site. Although, this is fully deserved as the place is beautiful and so tranquil, making it a great escape from the noisy horrors of Hanoi.

Our trip started with a 3 hour bus journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay City Harbour, this is where we then got on our boat. The next 24 hours were then spent on our boat cruising around the bay, going to visit one large cave, kayaking around the bay and having a chance to visit the floating village. Its amazing to think that these people have never stepped foot on dry land, they live and die on their floating homes. But this doesn't stop them from living a "normal" life as there is a school, a bank, a number of shops, and even a bar. We also had time to do a bit of swimming and to jump off the boat which was pretty fun.

That night we had a few drinks over a cloudy sunset and sat at the end of the boat fishing for squid, but to no avail. The next morning we made our way back to shore before getting the mini-bus back to Hanoi. Overall, our Halong Bay trip was very nice and went a little too quick if anything.

After arriving back in Hanoi we caught the night train to Northern Vietnam, to a mountain outpost called Sapa.

See you in the hills

Thomas and Hollie x x x

Travellers Tip:
When booking a cruise make sure its suited to you. Our Cristina Cruise was really laidback with 6 couples all looking for a relaxing time. If you're looking for a bit of a party there are boats which have around 50 people on and you are more or less forced to drink and get naked. Ask around at the time and see what suits you.
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