Hi everyone, this is a bit overdue but better late than never! (by louise)
This blog is about our 3 day trip to Halong bay (8th wonder of the world). So we were picked up by a mini bus early morning and the trip didn't get off to as great start! As we pulled up to the dock to board the boat we realised we didn't have our passports which were at our hotel and we were told they were apparently needed for the overnight stay on the junk (boat) at halong bay. As soon as the tour guide knew this he jumped on the idea of trying to scam some money out of us and threatening us that we wouldn't be able to stay on the boat overnight and miss out on part of our trip, this started at a price of 200,000 dong and then came down to 100,000 dong after we refused to pay. At this point we were already on the boat going through Halong Bay so we thought he was bluffing, what a mistake that was! he started rudely argueing with us in front of the other tourists and got a sister ship to pull alongside us which we were expected to jump on! We said no and that we would regrettably give him 100,000 dong to stay n the boat (this may only be 3 and a half pounds but we have our principles!) haha. Luckily we had a great group of international people on board the Halong Party Cruiser who along with the sights and itinerary made our trip! Plus we all ripped the guide during the night party when he was drunk and confessed he would give us ur money back (needless to say the following morning he seemed to have forgot about this!)
So after that fiasco we relaxed on board sailing through Halong Bay which was beautiful! We then had some lunch aboard deck with our new friends and sailed to a couple of caves as you will have already seen from our pics, which were pretty cool, we felt like we were in lord of the rings and searched for gollum! Then we boarded the boat once more and sailed to the point of Halong Bay where the junk docked for the night. We jumped into our kayak and kayaked through Halong Bay and the fishing villages where the local community live. I thought this kayaking business was quite tough and found out the reason why, Adam was relaxing in the back while I worked like a slave at the front!
Once it was dark we returned on the boat and had some tea, then a party on the boat. Vietnamese kareoke started, tiger beers flowing and the disco ball came on, Me and our friend Emma rapped a beautiful version of ice ice baby while kareoke virgin Bob belted out his rendition of eye of the tiger! Our boat was the only one in the bay of about 30 boats having a party and other tourists told us the next day they wanted to come over but their crews wouldn't let them. Oh yeah we were throughly warned about pirates trying to board the junk to steal valuables and while we were partying one entered our friend Anu's bedroom through the window on the bottom deck, luckily she caught them and they fled, turns out it was one of the cabin crew!
The next morning we all swopped onto another boat and travelled to Cat Ba Isand where we trekked up a mountain in the National Park. This started out quite easy with proper stepping stones then soon became jagged rocks! Surprisingly I turned out to be a gi jane and sped up there, Bob was quite impressed! After an hour we arrived att the top the view was great, there was a steel tower on top of the mountain top which was secured to the mountain with what lookied like tent ropes and pegs in the mountainside, I didn't dare venture up here but Bob went ahead and said he could feel it swaying at the top but risked it for video footage. After we made it back down we sailed to Monkey island for a spot of sunbathing. The girls and Belgium Bert were chilling out when we heard American Hilary shout 'the monkeys are coming!' at which point we all jumped up to grab or belongings as they like to take sunglasses, cameras etc...
After this we got back onto thr boat and went back to Cat Ba Island where we stayed in a guesthouse for the night. The following day we boarded the boat again and sailed back through Halong Bay until dinner and were then tkane back to Hanoi.
The next day we went to the travel agent and managed to get back our precious 3 and a half pounds! lol
Overall we really enjoyed the trip and met up with our new boat buddies the following night for a farewell meal at what was the best restaurent in Hanoi!
Chow for now Adam and Louise xxx