After two very hot days in mad Hanoi, we decided to head for some sightseeing and relaxation to Halong Bay. Halong Bay is located about 3.5 hours drive from Hanoi, so we took a package tour which involved us staying overnight on a boat! The journey out to Halong Bay was fine - we were picked up from our hotel in an air conditioned minibus and we joined about 12 other people for the overnight trip. Our tour guide was a guy from Malaysia called Kenny.
The boat was made completely of wood and was in good condition. We all had twin cabins for the night and we were being fed and watered (drink at your own expense) on the boat. The group we were with consisted of us, Kim & Collette from Allenwood in Kildare, 3 spanish people, Max from USA and the remainder from Japan. The trip entailed us visiting one of the main caves in the Bay - there are approx 2,000 islands in Halong Bay so needless to say we only seen a fraction of them.
Halong Bay is a UNESCO world heritage listed site and you can see why when you are there. It really is a beautiful place to visit even if some of the photographs don't reflect it!. After complaining about the hot weather in Hanoi, the same could not be said about the weather in Halong Bay. While we were there, we did not have great weather but we still had a good time.
The cave we went to see was very interesting after completing a good trek up alot of steps to see it. Then it was off to the beach for a while and then back on the boat for lunch. Now we know we were on a boat in the middle of the Bay, but guess what we had for lunch - seafood and lots of it!! This did not exactly go down too well with us Irish people but we got through it!!
After lunch we were brought kayaking around Halong
Bay. This was really cool and we are sorry to say that we have no pictures of it as we were afraid to bring the camera out in the kayak in case it fell in the water.
Kayaking for Declan was something new given that he cannot even swim but he really enjoyed it, even after Shane nearly toppled us both into the water!!
That evening back on the boat we had some dinner and a few beers (not many as they were expensive on the boat!!). We were all happily chatting away about our adventures when a storm broke out on the Bay and there was rain pelting in windows and doors - we nearly thought the boat would not make it through!. However, it was a small storm and did not last too long. Luckily, the sea was calm that night and we slept soundly until we had to be up again next morning at 7 AM!!!
The next day we did not do too much as the weather was not great so we toured around the bay and headed back to the mainland for lunch - more seafood!! However, this time we did manage to get some rice to help us along!!! All in all it was good craic and Halong Bay is worth a visit.
We have arrived back in Hanoi and have bought a 'sleeping bus' ticket which will allow us to travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) by sleeping bus with some stops on the way. We will update you when we get to Hue, our first stop along the route which will take us approx 12 hours....
Source: Travel Blogs