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Relaxing on Halong Bay

 

Update: we worked out why we were lost 2 days ago on the streets of Hanoi. I was referencing north from seeing the sun in that direction. We finally worked out that we are in the Northern Hemisphere so the sun is in the south. Navigation will be simpler now. 

Wednesday morning at 6.30 Graeme walked by the nearby central lake to see the early morning activities. Mainly older folk are out early to exercise. Most interesting was the activity where people slap each other on the body. A wakening up exercise.. perhaps. The smog was thick so the sunrise light is diminished but still ok for photos. Breakfast at the Zephyr Hotel followed and it was good. 

We have packed light for the overnight trip to come and we set off by foot to join our bus departure to Halong Bay. The bus departed at 8.30am for a 3.5 hour trip through rice fields and small towns. There are 11 travelers (16 was the maximum for the trip). Countries represented are Canada, Netherlands, England and Australia - all good people who we enjoyed spending time with. We reached the Harbor at lunch time to board our boat that was large and reasonably luxurious - expectations were met given we opted for a mid price tour. Food for the whole trip was generous and diverse. Once away we traveled for about two hours (10km's) into the bay to be surrounded by small steep limestone islands. Reminiscent of the scenery in Thailand it is stunning. We stopped middle afternoon to go into large caves in the side of an island. Following many other tourists who had come of ten's of other boats we walked and climbed through an extensive cave system - the biggest I have ever scene. Back on the boat we traveled a short distance to moor amongst other boats for the night. We swam off the boat wary of the jellyfish but without incident. Before dinner we were entertained by the floating amarda of women in small boats selling drinks and food who came along side. A few drinks later it was dinner time and then drinks on an outside deck. Cabins were comfortable and we slept well. 

After breakfast we went a short distance to a natural beach for a swim. We played beach cricket and soccer for awhile before being arrested from the activity when our Canadian companion was stung by a jellyfish - the warnings are real. The morning had been spent under clear skies for the first time this holiday and the trip back to harbor was pleasant. Lunch was at a restaurant near the dock and the food continued to be of high standard. Through showers we drove back to Hanoi to arrive at 5.00pm. The rain does not slow the locals down and it's interesting to see the many variations of waterproof ponchos in use on motorbikes. 

After being dropped off we had a "few" glasses of Bia Hoi (freshly brewed beer) with our Halong Bay companions. We separated at 6.00pm. A quick walk to by table tennis bats for the boys who will be inventive with hotel room furniture to create a table for their physical outlet.....it's a good thing. 

Dinner in our room was crackers and cheese. It's all we needed after 2 big days of eating. Watching Australian Rules football on TV was an interesting end to the day. 


Source: Travel Blogs

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Xin Chao Travel Halong Bay
We are happy to send you our impressions on our excellent trip to Halong Bay with your company. The organization and monitoring of our trip was impeccable, thanks to our friendly and excellent guide Minh not forgetting the super driver Dzung.

Mardy Scott (Australia)
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