So we left Hanoi and headed to Halong bay after four nights in Hanoi. The plan was to go there for two nights and then back to Hanoi for another night before heading to Hue.
We got picked up at 7 30 am to catch the bus to Halong city. From there we would be on a boat for 3 days visiting all these little islands, deserted beaches, some caves and water activities. The Vietnamese say it's the prettiest place in vietnam but I'll be the judge of that as we still have so much to see. So we arrived at the harbour and boarded our wooden boat which ended up being really nice surprisingly. This trip was costing us $30 for the bus ride, two nights accommodation, one on the boat and another in a hotel and all our food too. Not bad considering you would spend 15 pounds on a meal back home. The food situation was not that great for me and mark as it was fish, fish, fish rice and a tiny bit of chicken. We both detest fish so for the next 3 days we lived on plain rice, what little chicken there was and oreo's. Thankfully the boat had a little shop so therefore oreo's came to the rescue.
We set sail on our vessel, the HMS wooden boat and then came lunch. Great!!. After lunch we toured around some little islands and then docked at Hang Sung Sot cave. This is a huge cave which you can reach by a hundred or so steps. It has three vast chambers, in the second of which there's an astonishing pink-lit rock phallus, which is regarded as a fertility symbol. "Penis rock" is the only way to describe it. Every chamber had it own little magical ore to it, whether it was pretty colours or other rocks which the human eye can transform in to objects relating to animals or even romeo and juliet so we got told. Obviously you have to have a creative mind.
We left there and dropped anchor in the Chinese sea surrounded by little islands, rocks, more caves and pretty scenery. Here it was time to discover the wonders and hidden things of what Halong bay has to offer on our own. We got in to some canoes and just paddled around seeing things the boat could not take us to. We stopped off at some beach but unfortunately sunset was falling so we didn't have much time. We went back to the boat ant that's where we would be spending our first night. It was so peaceful,no noise except from the sea. We was surrounded by loads of other boats which lit up the sea and making it look really beautiful. It looked like something out of a walt disney movie and it also had this magical feel to it. Something you need to experience on your own to understand it.
We ate dinner rice and oreo's again for us, needless to say we both did try fish and it was fairly pleasant but the smell still puts me off. After dinner we just chilled with some mates, had some drinks, played card games and listened to music on the top deck underneath the stars. Looking back on it this will be a moment i wont forget.
In the morning we got up for sunset at 6 30. It was really beautiful seeing it rise over the surrounding rocks seeing it reflecting of the sea which was like a mill pond. Like i said earlier, you have to be there to appreciate it. We had breakfast, fortunately it was toast and eggs and then we set sail to a place called Pao Tuan Chau, just 5 km west of Bai Chay (western Halong city). This is one of the few islands which has seen any development. First off we stopped off to do a trek in the jungle. Through the jungle we go, climbing mountains knowing one slip would be our last. We were literally pulling our selves up cliff faces by vines. We eventually reached our summit all to find a rickety old rusty tower on top of a mountain. If anyone had sneezed it probably would have fallen down but that didn't stop people climbing to the top of it.
It was used to spot american war planes in the war. The views were spectacular but we certainly busted a gut trying to get there. Once your up you must come down.Back on the bus which took us to our boat and then it was time to do more kayaking once again. Kayaking was starting to become a chore by the end of it.
That night we stayed in a hotel on Cat bay island. We all had dinner, hit a karaoke bar which we murdered but "you've lost that love and feeling" went down a storm and then we hit a club. We had all planned to watch the rugby world cup final back at our room but me and mark had to much to drink and passed out fifteen minutes before it started. Gutted and even more so when we found out the result. We did our selves proud in the tournament and surprised for getting so far.
Right breakfast, back on our boat and then head back to Halong city to a hotel for lunch. Not a surprise but it was more fish which i actually ate thinking it was chicken in a sauce but then got told so afterwards. Still i got my omega intake for the day. After this it was time to head back to Hanoi. Four hours on a minibus.