We're On a Boat!

Trip Start Jul 21, 2009
Trip End Jul 21, 2010

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Where I stayed
Classic Sail

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, September 27, 2009

So Lai totally hooked us up with a tour going to Ha Long Bay – an UNESCO heritage
sight – the area has one thousand nine hundred and sixty nine small
limestone islands. This is our first overnight cruise and we're
excited. Lai helped us pick a boat that Mike wouldn't get seasick
from as well since she also suffers from the motion on the water,
too. Today was hot and hazy but on the bay with a nice wind blowing
it was quite pleasant. And our boat: The Classic Sail – is cool.
They call these boats Junks – but ours was anything but! A wooden
three story ship – the junks are very romantic looking and remind
you of something in storybooks of a bygone era. The sleeping cabins
are small but the bathrooms are gorgeous (hot water yea!) and they
have A/C. What's even more important is that the ship is big enough
and the waves are calm so Mike is not feeling any seasickness.

And the food on the ship is good too – nothing fancy – a lot of seafood but it's
fresh, seasoned well, and the presentation is artful. Our shipmates
are pretty cool too – we instantly become buddies with Maude and
Sammie a couple from London. We spend the day on the water kayaking,
swimming, watching big monkeys (or baboons) on a cliff, and eating.
The water is nice and warm so even Carla jumps off the ledge of the
ship (she's the only girl who does so) into the blue green waters of
the Gulf of Tonkin.

Another cool thing about the bay – the market comes to you. So you're standing there
looking at the cliffs when you hear in pretty good English “Excuse
me, want to buy something?” and on the water are two girls in a
small boat surrounded by snacks: Ritz crackers, Oreos, other cookies,
drinks and snacks. After talking with them for awhile (very cute) and
bargaining we buy some Oreos. Although twice the price than on the
mainland they're worth it – and the girls pick up trash that they
find floating on the water. You have to support that! Although
there are a lot of junk boats on the water – the bay is so huge
that it doesn't feel overcrowded and having other boats out there
adds to the atmosphere. As the sky turns pink against the rocks there
is no doubt about it HaLong Bay is a gorgeous spot.

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