Vietnam – Ha Long Bay

16/04/16

Today we arrived in Hanoi at 5am and we got straight onto the bus to ha long bay. It was a bit quicker than expected and we arrived at 8.30am. The hotel is quite pleasant, we had to pay for breakfast and then had to meet again at 12pm to get on the bus to the port.

It was really busy at the port with many boats, we were led to one large boat and thought we would be sharing it with other people but it was just for our group of 5! It was really cool and I felt very special having our own private boat.

We were told by our local guide Kenny that there are 400 boats that sail around Ha long bay during the day. This really shocked me as all I could think was that the water must be really polluted, Kenny reassured me the water was fine but I remain sceptical. The boats don’t actually dock anywhere apart from the kayaking spot and the caves, which lessens the damage to the islands.

Ha Long bay has many islands which have formed after multiple earthquakes, they’re really beautiful to look at.

As we were sailing towards the islands we were served the most delicious meal! It really exceeded my expectations. We had fresh prawns, fried spring rolls, crab, fish, squid, veg, noodles and rice.

I decided to take part in kayaking, our price was $10 but we were unsure if that included commission and wondered if we had bought the ticket ourselves it would’ve been cheaper. Either way it was a waste of money because the tide was so low we couldn’t really enjoy the lagoons. I had been here previously around 4 years ago and remembered it being really peaceful, fun and the lagoons being really beautiful. It was a shame the tide was low and was told that this happens 4-5 times a month due to the moon. I wouldn’t say not to try it if you’re there for the first time but for me as I had done it before I could’ve skipped it.

We then headed to the cave, they have a large system of caves here due to the rising and falling of the sea level during earthquakes and what have you… It was so busy we squeezed out boat between two others and got out. The 100 step climb up to the entrance was packed and inside was also packed. I think there was a Vietnamese holiday so everyone had taken a trip there. Our guide was quite difficult to understand but most of what he said inside the cave was “look at that rock, it looks like an elephant. Look here, it looks like jellyfish. This rock here casts a shadow of Romeo and here is the shadow of Juliet” I found it hilarious. It’s really quite stunning inside and lit up nicely. There’s a couple fake water features but the locals seemed to enjoy them.

We then sailed back to the port to head back to the hotel and get ready for dinner. We were taken to a local seafood restaurant! Where we ate some fresh whole octopus, steamed oyster, morning glory, razor clams and meal worms. It was tasty as it was so fresh and had a brillant atmosphere but I wasn’t too keen on it and didn’t eat much.

Afterwards we went to sing some karaoke which was a lot of fun and our guides sang in Vietnamese.

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