Halong Bay - Limestone Mountains and Cheeky Monkeys
Halong Bay, Vietnam
A few days ago we set off from our Homestay for a trip to Halong Bay and Monkey Island. It took about 3 hours on the bus to reach Halong Bay City, where we arrived at our boat and checked into our cabin. It was surprisingly luxurious! We had a spacious room on the second deck with panoramic windows, a huge ensuite and a private balcony.
After lunch with the rest of the group, we arrived at the picturesque Halong Bay. As we expected, there were plenty of other tourist boats but it was still a gorgeous sight. There are over 1,900 limestone cast mountains rising out of the turquoise sea. We visited Dong Thien Cung, one of the largest caves. The way that the rock has formed inside the cave is pretty spectacular.
Back on our boat, we cruised around the mountains to Cat Ba. It was such a misty day that we kept expecting to see the Black Pearl in the distance or terra-dactyls to swoop by. Once we had moored, we saw a local from a floating house paddle on his tiny boat with 5 kayaks in tow. Time to kayak!
After kayaking was time to swim! It was pretty cold so it wasn't very appealing, but after seeing a few Aussies jump from the top deck Max decided to give it a go and then Steph jumped with Max the second time. The water was freezing! We warmed up, had dinner and retired to our beautiful cabin for a good night sleep.
The next morning we checked out bright and early after breakfast, and boarded a bus to take us to the other side of the island where a smaller boat awaited. On the smaller boat, we visited a floating market that had sections of net below with all different types of gigantic seafood. Next stop was Monkey Island!
Monkey Island had a tiny bay with a few wooden bungalows lining the beach on stilts. We were given the key to a room a separate direction from the rest of the group - a bit odd. We entered our bungalow and found flowers and leaves decorating the bed, stating 'Happy Honeymoon'. It turns out we're honeymooning before we're even married haha! We figured that Perfume at our Homestay must have decided to hook us up!
In the afternoon, it was time to see the monkeys! We followed our guide up and over a mountain - no man made steps or paths, just climbing up and down large rocks. As we climbed we overlooked Lan Ha Bay, another outstanding sight. We reached a small beach at the other side of the island where the monkeys ran straight to our guide who had a bag of bread. He handed the bread to them and they quickly dispersed. They tried to steal our bottle of water!
Today we have just been travelling back to Hanoi from Monkey Island, enjoying the views on the way back. Just now we enjoyed a sit down meal with the family around a Vietnamese hotpot, consisting of chicken, squid, beef, prawns, clams and tofu in a noodle soup.
Tomorrow evening we're getting a 20 hour sleeper bus to Laos (in a bid to save some money) which we're sure will be quite an experience. Wish us luck!
Steph and Max x