Just returned to Hanoi from Halong Bay- THE most beautiful place I have ever been.
The eveing before we left we decided to eat from one of the more busy street vendors, and we sat at these tiny tables, no higher than my knee and on seats that I thought I would break! This particular street vendor looked so good because they had a huge selection of fresh food on desplay, and it was cooked to order. There was crab, frogs, chicken legs, whitebait, tofu, various meat kebabs, mushrooms, mussels, quail eggs, scallops and this bread that they toasted with honey.
We decided on the crab, mussles, trout, whitebait, kebabs, mushrooms and a few other things. The food was absolutely delicious, and it comes as soon as it's cooked so all the food came in stages. it's hard to describe the setting we were eating in, imagine the busiest street corner possible, with mopeds whizzing back and forth and then imagine lots of children sized plastic chairs and tables covering the pavement, and then having to choose food without actually knowing what most of it was! I've posted a video do you can see.
The next morning we took the tour to Halong Bay. We went for two days and one night, and opted for a tour package in the end, because everyone we spoke to said it would be too much hassle sorting it all out ourselves. The tour cost about 35 pounds and it was well worth it. The bus picked us up from our hotel and dropped us to the docks, where we waited for our boat. Women were sellf lychees on the dock for 30,000 dongs a kilo - thats not even a pound!
Our boat was three storeys' with sun loungers on the top deck, and me and nikki had a lovely little cabin on the bottom. First we went to visit the biggest cave in the bay, which turned out to be pretty rubbish because it was a massive tourist trap and not actually much to see. The next activity made up for it however, we went kayaking around the bay for an hour. The sun was shining, and me and nikki kayaked around the coves, and it was absolutely amazing. All you could hear was the noise of the jungle that covers the little islands, and the water was warm and a deep green. After this, the boat took us to where we were mooring for the night, right in the middle of all the islands. There we all went swimming and jumped off the top of the boat. Afterwards we went on the deck to dry and our guide taught us how to make spring rolls, which was nice because it wasn't in the itenarary, it was just something extra he decided to do.
The next day we visited a little island with a small mountain on it, and a pagoda at the top. we decided to climb up and see the views, and although it was only half 8 in the morning it must have been at least 32 degrees, I've never sweated so much.
Halong Bay is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I would try to describe it, but I can't, so photo's will have to show you.