After an extremly stressful 2 hr bus ride, we finally arrived in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. I tell ya, these bus drivers think they are in F1 racing cars. They pass at the most ridiculous moments, honk their horn constantly and swerve all over the road. Best thing to do, put on the Ipod and close your eyes.
We immediatley left the day after we got to Hanoi for 4 days in the Halong Bay
In a nutshell, Halong Bay is absolutley gorgeous. Theres around 300 or so islands rising from the waters a pretty much a 90 degree angle.
We weren't too sure what to expect from this boat cruise and island stay we booked. Our first day, we arrived in Halong Bay and got aboard our cruise vessel where we would stay for the next day. It was MUCH more luxurious then we expected. Very clean and comfortable rooms. A huge galley for eating and lounging then an upper deck for sun bathing and taking in all the views.
We had a very cool group of people with us too. 2 girls from Vancouver, a couple from Holland, another couple from Siagon, a
real cool German that lives in Pakistan (needless to say, I asked him TONS of questions) and a guy from Oz.
On our first day, we explored the islands from the boat, went on one island to see an impressive cave then relaxed on the boat in a beautiful bay at night. Our second day was amazing. We transfered to a smaller boat. From there, we did some sea cayaking, ate lunch on a beach and finally, went mountain biking on another island. Tons of sun and lots of action. All throughout the time, we were able to jump in and out of the water to cool off which was extremly nice since it's a good 35 degrees each day.
At night, we got to the biggest island in Halong Bay called Cat Ba
Island. There we stayed a nice hotel and took it easy at night.
We ended up loving this island so much that we decided to stay 2 more days and catch up with another tour later in the week to take us home.
Cat Ba is a very small island with barely any tourists. During the day we would see only a
handful of tourists doing the same thing as us so it was a nice getaway. Both days we chillaxed on the main beach for the afternoon but seen as how there wasn't many people there, we had the beach pretty much to ourselves!
I tell ya, it wasn't too bad of a place to spend my 25th birthday. Australia one year, now Vietnam this year. Not too shabby! The girls made the day excellent as well and we ended it with a great feast at a nice restaurant.
Finally, it was time to leave our little oasis and we met up with another group and headed back to Hanoi. We still got in another 3 hr boat ride so I was a happy man.
We are now in Hanoi and are taking the night train up north to a small city called Sapa where we are going to do some good trekking in the mountains.
Source: Travel Blogs