Halong Gay

Trip Start Jun 25, 2011
Trip End Dec 24, 2011

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Friday, September 16, 2011

In order to reach Halong Bay, we get an over night train to Hanoi (leaving Hue at 2pm on the 15th) we arrive in Hanoi at 4am, only to jump straight on a bus for the 4 hour journey to Halong.
At the train station in Hue, the train is slightly delayed and we entertain ourselves in the waiting room (and possibly bewildered looking Vietnamese people) by playing sharades, hide and seek (throwing bags over Livia to hide her) and finally, Grandmas footsteps. Once we get to the platform, there is some confusion as to where the train is coming in resulting in us running up and down and across the tracks to make the train. Luckily, we make it.

The train is one of vietnams tourist trains, with little difference to the others apart from free biscuits and drinks. We do enjoy being on the train during the day and getting to see the sights.
Everyone brought beer before boarding, but with nothing much else to do, this soon runs out. We then buy out the porter of beer, so when the train makes a stop Markus jumps off to buy more, risking missing the train. Lek is cleverer when buying top up cards for her mobile - she sends someone else off to buy for her!


We arrive at Hanoi station and are carted onto the bus, although it is 4am the Vietnamese are already out working, and endless bikes rush past with whole dead pigs/cows/chickens strapped to the back. The local tour guide tries to give us some local information, however from the state of us all he quickly decides to let us sleep for the rest of the journey.
We arrive to the hotel, and after a couple of hours we leave for our 6 hour boat trip of Halong Bay. We have a whole boat to ourselves, with two stories, a covered restaurant with sun bathing deck above. It is plush and lunch is amazing, but drinks are expensive. The journey is stunning and really, only photos can talk for me.
We stop to see an amazing cave, cleverly named the "Amazing cave" and our tour guide pronounces the word 'amazing' in an amazed sort of voice everytime he says it, which we all find quite amazing.
We also stop to Kayak, which sounds great (and was) although after about 3 minites Claire starts hyperventalating and Jo wishes she was sharing with the guide, who calls himself a proffesional and does lunges in his pants to prepare himself before hand.
We cruise back to the bay slowly and watch the sun set. It is amaaaaazing.

In the evening we venture to the market in town, which we don't like. In fact, we had been told that tourists only come to Halong for the boat trip on the bay, and we start to see why. The market is big but seems to be selling the same five products over and over, and it is impossible to work out who is selling genuine Halong Pearls and who is painting plastic balls.
However, we are still coming down from our boat trip and although the town isn't great, it is well worth the trip. Early night.

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