Right, time to catch up; the blog has been neglected due to too many things to do…next 3 posts for Halong Bay, Hue and Hoi An are on the way. Starting with Halong…..
Tuesday 4th May
We have just returned from 3 days and two nights in Halong Bay, a great trip with some awesome scenery, good swimming conditions and a couple of games of Ring of Fire! We headed out there with Sam and Bel, our travel buddies from Liverpool/Manchester.
Halong Bay is an area off the coast of Northern Vietnam that is home to 1000+ small islands, most of which are bush-lined that drop into the ocean. It’s a bit of a tourist ‘must do’, so we decided to be tourists and get out there. We caught a minivan from Hanoi out to Halong city (4 hours); not much to see there more just a port to catch a ‘Junk’ (boat you can sleep on) out to Halong Bay. We’d paid $50USD for all transfers, meals and accommodation/boat trips – not a bad deal and we were pretty suprised with the quality of the trip.
We boarded the boat and set off at midday toward the islands. After lucnh on board the boat we went to visit some caves – by NZ standards they weren’t terribly great but were something different to the ocean! From the caves we went on through to do a bit of kayaking. Jono and I decided that killing small fish with our paddles was a lots more fun whilst kayaking – we both managed to knock out one fish each – they were only palm sized but were more than we’d caught on the fly! With the kayaks safely berthed we bought a few beers of the locals (as the boat was very expensive) only to find that the boat charges you $$ to bring booze on board – the solution to the problem was to stand on the jetty and knock back the beers while the boat waited – that’ll teach the capitlalist buggers. We dropped anchor for the night in a small cove, got stuck into dinner then went up to the top deck with the travellers we were with, jumped of the top of the boat into the ocean, played a few drinking games and generally entertained ourselves!
A quick trip into Cat Ba town and we checked into our accomodation, we really only had the afternoon in Cat Ba so Jono and I decided to explore the local beaches to see what fishing options we had. We found a local beach with some good rocky coastline and headed out to the point. Sad to say, again, that the results were poor (or below that) but enjoyed ourselves all the same. Back in Cat Ba town we found a bar that Mark Tanner had recommended us, ‘Flightless Bird’ – we got stuck into a few Tigers here with Cutts and Bel, a few of their mates, Adam and Nicole the Americans and Raj the other Brit. Good times with some great people.
The next day we were back on the boat and headed back to Halong City and then Hanoi; we left Hanoi the same night by train heading down to Hue – the next installment in the blog tomorrow!