Halong Bay Day 1
Trip Start Sep 16, 2012
16Trip End Oct 08, 2012
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Halong Bay means 'descending dragon bay' in Vietnamese & is a world heritage listed area.
We booked the 3 day 2 night Halong bay cruise with Indo-china Junk on the Dragon Pearl thru an agent. Our mini bus arrived around 8am & we jumped aboard for the 4 hour trip to Hong Gai harbour. The bus makes a stop approx half way at a large factory/shop for about 20-30Mins, where you are able to purchase drinks & snacks etc, it was some sort of disabled workshop or something & you enter on one side & exit the other. You are followed thru the shop by someone trying to sell the wares. We just bought some drinks & some snacks for the boat
The drive to Hong Gai harbor is a long drive on very rough roads & have to agree with other travellers that why would you just travel to Halong Bay for one night?. We arrived in Hong Gai harbor around 12:30pm & were shuffled off the bus to the Indo-china junk reception area where we followed the other people from the bus but Di & myself were then directed to the other end of the reception area to another group of people & this was to be our group on Dragon Pearl 2.
Paid the remainder of the balance of the trip & then went aboard the tender to the Dragon Pearl. Of course when booked the trip, all the boats were their original colors, but since April 2012 the district governor for some crazy reason decreed that all the boats be painted white. No-one really knows why, one theory is that the governors son owns a paint factory & in Vietnam that is a plausible theory.
We were worried about Di's broken toe getting on & off the boat but the tender pulls alongside the Junk & you step across into the junk so no real problem there. We went upstairs to the Dining area & we all welcomed aboard by our tour leader 'Doh'? (I think that was his name)
Indo-china Junks go to Bai tu long bay, which is off the beaten track, so we set sail thru Bai tu long bay as we came back to the dining area for lunch, it took about 10mins for the lunch menu to be read as there was about 9 courses. Some of the courses included fresh prawns, clams in lemongrass, oyster cakes, crumbed calamari, stir fryed morning glory & on & on. The meal was delicious & our company at our table Karen & Mod from England were great. When lunch was demolished, we had some free time until we arrived at an island to do some kayaking. The Dragon pearl has 2 sun decks so plenty of space to enjoy the majestic views of the bay & it was breath taking.
We arrived at an island for some kayaking, i do not know the name of the area as the itinerary that Indo-china Junk sends & actual route seem to differ for some reason but we were assigned a kayak from the tender boat & off we went
We had some more free time for a shower & some pre dinner drinks before our dinner at 7:00pm, so we had a shower & headed to the bar to mingle with the other people on the boat & got talking to a family who asked where we were from & as it turns out we we were both from the same suburb in Melbourne, small world. All the people on the boat seemed like good people & we enjoyed a few ales as we enjoyed the sunset views of the bay.
Dinner was then served & i didn't think it was possible but there even more courses for dinner, of course being in Halong Bay all meals feature fresh seafood & some of the dishes we had were steamed crab, paw paw salad, some chips coated in sugar?(wtf) again, i didnt take a pic of every dish, but again they were all delicious.
After dinner we enjoyed a few more ales as the junk anchored for the night in a small protected bay. The local beers were 40,000Dong on board & cocktails about 120,000. It was an exhausting day though, very hot & headed off to bed around 10pm content in the knowledge that we had set sail thru one of the 'New' 7 wonders of the world.
Til next update.Moat hi bah, yo