Blog Day 65 Sun 10th July 2011
Halong Bay Day!
To say that we slept at all last night is an understatement, the roads were crazy until around 3am & started again around 5am (or that may have been the few hours of sleep we managed to get). However today we rose with anticipation, for we are off to Halong Bay, one of the main Reasons we decided to come to Vietnam. After packing a few things into our small bags we head down to the hotel 'restaurant' for breakfast. 2 eggs fried almost solid and a couple of rubber bread rolls later and we are boarding the coach to Halong city.
We arrive at the port and are told that we have to walk along the pier to our junk. A junk is basically a small floating hotel and the pier is full of them! Some are obviously more luxurious than others, and on reaching ours it appears that we have one of the 'others'. Our junk is full of people and it is starting to feel as though this is going to be a very touristy tour of the bay. About 20 minutes later we pull up alongside another junk and the group is split into two. We are ushered onto the other boat which we can honestly say was the nicer of the two. Things maybe looking up. We are then taken to our room, a lovely little en-suit room that wouldn't look out of place in a proper hotel. Things are defiantly looking up! Lunch is up next and we share our table with a couple from England, Madeline and John, and Tate who's from America. 3 great people to float around this stunning area with!
The day that followed was one of the best that we have had for a little while. Chilling out on the top deck of the boat, catching some rays and watching these huge limestone islands just drift on by. A few hours later we are taken into the heart of one of the islands, a pretty impressive cave! It's about a million degrees in there and we can honestly feel ourselves shrinking with the heat. We are told that the cave ceiling is the only one of its kind in the whole wide world by our tour guide. He's obviously never been to the Cango caves in South Africa where the ceiling is pretty much identical! GOON!!! After hiking out of the cave we are taken down to a little floating complex where we are given life jackets paddles and pointed into the direction of a kayak. Trish's bottom starts to squeak as we both board our little vessel and paddle out into the bay. Kayaking is new to us however we work together and get the hang of it pretty quickly without a squabble…… GO US!!
Viewing the islands from water level make them look even bigger. After paddling around for 40 minutes or so we are back on the boat heading towards our anchor point for the evening. Once we have 'docked', in the middle of the bay, there is a spot of swimming to be done. The water is ridiculously warm and it's not long before Dan plucks up the courage to jump in from the top of the boat.
Dinner is next followed by a few beers on the top deck whilst watching a very overcast sunset. The 2 junks have been tied together all throughout our trip and we can hear the karaoke is kicking off big style on the other one. Our little crowd haven't had nearly enough to drink to start belting out Abba tunes, so Dan pulls out the cards to perform for our new found friends. We defiantly got to better deal on our boat!
Our bed is surprisingly comfortable which is just as well, as we are woken up in the early hours by the most horrendous rain we have ever heard. Fortunately our junk held up!