Night swimming

Trip Start Jan 21, 2007
Trip End ??? ??, 2008

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Today it's up early for a morning pick up to take us to the town of Halong City on the coast to catch the boat for our 3 day trip on the ocean.  We arrived about lunchtime and had lunch while sailing out to sea on our junk boat. The boat was really nice with restaurant, sun deck and bedrooms (probably cabins is more correct) below.  The afternoon was spent with a visit to the "surprising caves" which are 3 caves with a small opening which open onto huge spaces, they were illuminated to looked really good.  We also went swimming (jumping off the top deck of the two storey boat - when I finally got my nerve up) and kayaking through more tunnels in the rock, great fun.

Halong Bay looks very beautiful due to all the rock formations in the sea, called karste.

After dinner on the boat (all meals were very similar - rice, rice and more rice, squid, whole fish with it's head on and some veggies - I've developed a bit of a thing for the squid!) and a few drinks we wanted to go swimming from the boat in the bio-luminessense (glowing plankton - looks like there are millions of tiny lights in the sea) but were told it was forbidden. That was probably for our own safety, but we did it anyway once we had established that it was possible to climb back onto the boat with the ladder which the crew had confiscated!

Next morning it was up early yet again after a somewhat sweaty and restless night due to the power and therefore the fans going off in the middle of the night and off for some cycling.  A group of us went cycling through some very beautiful (and flat) countryside while some other crazy people trekked up a mountain!  Tonight is to be spent in a hotel on the island of Cat Ba so it was off there to check in and have lunch then in the afternoon to another island, Monkey Island, for swimming.  We also climbed up the hill behind the beach which was made of the hottest, jaggiest, most dangerous rock ever!  Not ideal in a pair of flip flops and once I was up didn't think I was going to make it back down again. Good view though. 

After a night in the hotel (again with all the unnecessary necessities) it was back on the boat to head back to the mainland, with a stop en route for swimming.  In 24 hours I'd lost my jumping off the boat nerve, so took a while to be able to do it again but I managed it and was very satisfied that I did. 

It's back to Hanoi for one night, so out for dinner and drinkies with some guys from the boat, then the next day we sort out a ticket for the bus to Laos.  The bus takes almost 24 hours, and they don't have any with sleeper berths so it's going to be trying to sleep on a seat for the next day, not looking forward to it at all!!
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