On Boxing Day we booked to go away for a couple of nights to visit Halong Bay. There was the option of a big party tour but Christmas had taken it out of me and I was starting to feel ill, so we decided on a bit of rest and relaxation and went for the none party tour. Unfortunately it turned out every other person on the tour was French (I've nothing against French people it just made it quite difficult for us to join in with them).
When booking the trip there was an option of three types of boat; standard, deluxe and luxury. We had decided to splash out and book the deluxe boat, all I can say is the people who put together the brochure must have had really good photoshop skills!! The boat looked nothing like the pictures but never mind we were off to see one of the natural wonders of the world (from looking into it I think some years it has been one of the seven but it changes).
The first part of the day was spent sailing around the large islands and cliffs, there are nearly 2000 natural cliffs that make up Halong Bay and there were definitely amazing to see however we were still in the north and it was still cold and I was still wearing my same leggings and hoodie!! The weather was very overcast and it didn't make Halong Bay look as spectacular as I think it would if the weather was better.
That afternoon we visited one of the larger caves in Halong bay however it was packed with lots of people and the guide kept pointing out different rock formations and telling us what animal or Buddha they looked like, no one could make any of these out and in the end it was pretty funny making our own ridiculous animals out of the rocks. After this we had the chance to do some kayaking and a bit of investigating ourselves, although we were told that if we damaged or lost a paddle it would cost us $200 and $500 for the kayak!! The kayaks and paddles were rubbish and I'm pretty sure these were prices just picked out of thin air.
That evening after another meal of boiled rice, dried up meat and tofu we were told the entertainment for the evening would be shrimp fishing and karaoke. Wow this was my night, two of my favourite things; standing in the rain with piece of bamboo and string or listening to the tour guides sing My Heart Will Go On. Being on a boat in the middle of the sea meant there was no chance of escape and so we decided to get and early night and catch up on some of the sleep we'd miss out on over the past few days.
The next day we spent the morning on the largest island in Halong Bay, Cat Ba. Here we did some cycling and something they called a jungle trek which was more like 20min stroll through a forrest. We were then taken to the island we would be spending the night on, it was a tiny island with a small bay and about 10 beach huts, if the weather has been better we could have spent our time swimming, sunbathing and playing volleyball but instead Scott just further increased his lead in our s***head tournament and I beat him at pool for the first time ever.
We spent the afternoon on monkey island watching the monkey play on the beach and then went back to our beach hut, by this point I had a full on cold and cough, which I'd obviously caught because the cold weather. Since we were stranded on a tiny island there wasn't much to do so we had another early night hoping it would mean I was better for NYE and Thailand.
The next morning I think everybody was slightly scared to get on the bus with me incase they caught the plague I was carrying but the only other option was to stay in Halong town, so they took the risk and jump n the bus. We spent a couple more days in Hanoi after this but to be honest it was pretty uneventful as I wasn't well enough to do much however we did go and watch the Hobbit which was amazing!
We had spent over a month travelling through Vietnam and loved every minute of it. The country is beautiful, the people are soo friendly and we learnt so much during our stay, the whole experience was brilliant!! I think everyone should visit.