Trip Start May 31, 2012
70Trip End Aug 08, 2013
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We stopped for a rest stop about halfway there to tour a craft/clothes/art market with the funds raised going to help people disabled by Agent Orange
By the time we got to Halong Bay we were pretty ready to kick back on the boat and enjoy the waves. As we were waiting to embark, the harbour area filled up with hundreds of other people waiting to kick back on their boat and enjoy the waves as well. Our tour guide was a guy named Tu and we had a group of 13 people on our boat. We boarded a little dinghy amongst many little dinghy's and chugged out to our relaxing, intimate cruise with 11 other people. There were so many boats! Everywhere we looked, more boats, more dinghy's, more intimate cruises with more other people. I don't mean to complain about it because it ended up being very nice and we made friends with all of the people on the boat, but it just wasn't quite what we were expecting (re; solitude, intimate, quiet). Anyway, we got to our boat and checked in, then met everyone else, who included a group of 4 from Ohio, an older Vietnamese couple, 3 Australians/Tasmanians and an Vietnamese father and his son (who was raised in France). A very multicultural group indeed! I felt like I was back working in a kitchen.
After we checked into our cabins and had a chance to shower/wash up, we had a superb seafood lunch with stuffed crabshells, prawns, tofu, calimari and some mixed greens
After we escaped the onslaught of kayaks, it was onto swimming! Instead of scrabbling around the beach for a spot or pushing ourselves out into the water we decided to climb the hill as there was a pagoda on top of the karsk which promised an incredible view. It only took about 10 minutes but it was pretty steep. The view was worth it though, as our pictures can attest. We basically did this for you. You're welcome. After we descended, we went in for a dip to wash ourselves off and then it was back to the boat for some supper. We had a 'cooking class' which was fun but we basically just made some spring rolls for us to eat, but at least we didn't have to do any of the prep or cleanup
The next morning was very peaceful, beautiful and sunny. Kara and I sat up on the sun deck and read our books, ate lychees and just relaxed, with the rest of the people on the boat coming and going. We finished up with lunch and then debarked from the boat for the 3 and a half hour bus ride back to Hanoi. We got back to Hanoi at about 4:30 pm and then picked up our train tickets to Sa Pa, leaving at 9:50 that night..... but that's another post altogether....