Published: June 27th 2012June 26th 2012
We started early this morning as we were getting picked up at 7:00am for our drive to Halong Bay.
On the way we stopped at a restaurant called Koto. It's basically the same as Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Restauant where they take the Vietnamese kids off the street and teach them cooking and life skills etc.
The breakfast was delicious; it was buffet style and they had everything. Pancakes, banana bread, bacon, hashbrowns, fruit, cereal, yoghurt, and many other things.After, we jumped on the bus and our new local guide joined us, his name Mr Bac.
We drove for about 2hours before stopping at a pottery making yard. We saw them making various size pots and also got to paint a plate of our own. We didn't get to keep them as they hadn't been fired so would have just fallen apart but it was a bit of fun none the less. They also had a shop there of all their hand made stuff so I bought a tea set and a couple of other things.
After that we were on our way to Halong Bay. About an hour or so and we pulled up at Baichay Tourist Wharf and boarded our junk boat called Bien Nhoc 08.
We have a dining area, upper deck with deck chairs, and each have a room per two with an ensuite. It was like a slightly junky floating hotel.
We sat and had a drink before they brought out lunch as we left the wharf and headed for the bay. Lunch was amazing. We had prawns, fish balls, pork pieces, rice, and a few other things, they just kept bringing out dish after dish. The prawns were AMAZING! And I generally am not a seafood person.
After we filled ourselves to bursting point we went up to the top deck and layed on the deck chairs; it was overcast but I'm sure we'd have been getting some colour. We were up there maybe an hour before we arrived at the Hang Sung Sot Caves.
The caves were amazing. They were all specially lit up with various colour lights to show up the details in the sand stone; very cool.
We jumped back on the boat and headed not far away to pick up our kayaks. We paddled for around 10-15mins before arriving at this cave like entrance that lead to a beautiful, and peaceful lagoon. The only thing making noise in there was the people on kayaks and the animals on the island surrounding it. We briefly kayaked around there before heading out and around with another 20mins of paddling to a little tourist beach.
It actually had a swimming area netted off as we noticed while kayaking that there seems to be a few jelly fish around. We jumped off out kayaks and stripped off our lifejackets and headed straight for the water. It was nice but unfortunately not as refreshing as we hoped it would be as the water was much the temperature of bath water. We stayed in the water anyway until our boat came and collected us and we left our kayaks behind for the place we got them from to collect them.
We sat up on top deck for a bit, had a few cocktails then it was time for dinner. On the menu: prawns, squid balls, curry chicken, rice and fruit for dessert.
After dinner we just sat round having some drinks, chatting and singing some karaoke without the machine. Then at about 11:00pm it was time for bed; couldn't sleep though.