Rosie & Jim's Travel Blog

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A Very Long Journey Back to Hanoi

Ha Long Bay

  |     |   Vietnam 2011   |   Vietnam, Ha Long Bay

The next morning we had a fairly early start. We had to sort out an overnight bag for staying on a boat in the bay, have breakfast and checkout by 7am. A tall order on most days, but especially considering the amount of sleep we had all had in the last 2 days. However, by 07:05 we were getting on the bus for another seemingly long journey south to Ha Long Bay. Hai spent about 45 minutes giving us an endless stream of information about Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, what the plan was for the next 24 hours and what we should expect. Unfortunately, by that time, he had lost half of his audience to sleep so he gave in. We stopped at an interesting lacquer ware place on route but it was only a loo stop so we weren’t there long. We arrived at the boat station at about 12 and jumped on a transport boat to reach our accommodation for the next night.

It was a lovely private boat for our group with twin and double sleeping rooms for everyone and a sunbathing deck up top too. We checked into our rooms while lunch was prepared and then met up for a selection of Ha Long Bay specialities for lunch. A much more seafood based meal this time, which suited us, but not everyone likes seafood as much as we do. Unfortunately the spectacular views we had been anticipated were nicely hidden behind the mists of the bay, but this gave a mystical look to what we could see.

We cruised through the mist for a while before pulling into a small cove with a boat house and cave behind. This was to be our first stop of the boat trip. The caves were just that, caves, but the views out over the bay were stunning and absolutely worth the effort of walking up the hillside/steps. After a quick look around the caves we jumped back on the boat for a trip to a pearl farm.

The mist was clearing gradually as we approached the pearl farm so we were able to see more and more of the bay. It was everything we had expected it to be apart from the blue skies, or lack thereof. On arrival at the pearl farm, we were given double kayaks to explore the bay ourselves. This was brilliant. Once we got used to being in the same kayak we were sorted and paddled around the whole area for ages before heading back to the boat for a swim, well, I swam and Rosie watched. The water was a bit murky, but quite pleasant to swim in, although I definitely felt the need for a shower once I was back on board!

As the dark began to settle over the bay, we had our evening meal and cruised into the only spot in the area where we were allowed to drop anchor for the night, so we were soon surrounded by boats like ours. Quite a comforting feeling really. After a few hours chatting and getting to know the other people on the trip, we all turned in.

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