After collecting our visa's me Ab's and Darcy fly over to Hanoi to meet the boys, who had decided to take the 32hr bus as they already had their visa's We arrived 10 mins after them after a very relaxing 40min flight. They weren't too impressed. Hanoi is mental!! the traffic doesn't stop for anyone and everyone loves to use the old horn! There was a kids festival going on when we arrived so it was even worse and crossing the streets was an adventure in itself. We weren't too keen on sticking around the city for long so booked ourselves on a 3 day tour of Ha Long Bay. We also picked up two more travellers, Katie and Carl both English.
The boat trip began at half 7 the next morning with a 3 hr bus trip to the harbour, where me and sharky bought very fetching Vietnamese hats. We boarded the boat and got served lunch before setting sail to the caves. It was brilliant up on deck sat on the sunbeds watching the huge rocks float by. As we drifted into to the caves it felt like we were in Pirates of the Caribbean with all the other boats around us and the fantastic views. The caves were a little disappointing and i thought they looked pretty fake but we managed to get some good pics. There was one point where the light flooded through two holes and it looked quite magical. After a bit more sunbathing on the deck we stopped off again to do some Kayaking which was brilliant. Had some much fun racing the guys round the rocks and trying to kayak all together-which failed!!! At this point the sun was just about setting so we jumped back on the boat and moved on to a spot where we could jump off the boat and had a swim while the sun was going down-priceless view!!! one of the best moments so far was seeing the sun go down behind the rocks while we were floating around in the middle of the sea. Later that evening we had a meal which i will probably never forget. I'm not the biggest fish fan and as you can imagine i was very hungry after the days activities so when the king prawns (with shells on!!!) came out followed by squid and a large and very ugly looking fish i was a bit uneasy. However i decided now was the time to face my fears and learn to like fish, which to my surprise i did, it was delicious. I was very proud of myself. Had a bit of a crazy night on the boat that night and didn't get much sleep but had lots of fun.
The following morning we were woken up at 7 for breakfast and then taken to Cat Ba Island. Everyone was feeling quite delicate after a heavy night on the vodka (i blame the polish guy!!!) so they weren't too impressed when we got dropped off at the national park and told that to get to the top would be an hour trek through mud and lots of rocks. Most of them fell at the first hurdle after 10 mins and gave in but me Sharky and Darcy carried on up to the top. It was hard work esp as we were in flip flops!!! not the best idea. However after a lot of sweat a little blood (i cut open one of my tubing wounds again) and no tears we reached the top. It was well worth the climb i have never ever seen a view like it, we were soooo high up and you could see for miles. It was beautiful. I took lots of pics on Ab's camera so will try upload them- there on facebook too.