Halong Bay

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January 27th 2006
Saved: December 4th 2008
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Halong BayHalong BayHalong Bay

from Titop Island
I just finished a three day, two night cruise to Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island. It was fantastic!.

I'd heard a lot about Halong Bay, how it was the crown jewel of Vietnam etc, I don't know about that, its pretty touristy and absolutely everybody does it but it sure is cool. Halong Bay is a couple of hours northeast of Hanoi and has some 3,000 limestone cliffs sticking up over the blue-green water. But the best part is you get to sleep on an old Chinese style boat!

It total luxury for us 11 twenty-somethings. It was so nice on the boat, it was hard to comprehend that we were able to afford such living like that for only $20 a day. The crew kept us very well fed with great food and blasted Vengaboys and other Euro pop crap for us at every opportunity.

You want to know why Vietnamese men think Western women are easy? Its the music VCD's they watch with that godawful techno music and scantily clad gyrating Western girls, except the girls look like dudes. I was walking down the street of Hanoi in broad daylight when this Vietnamese guy grabbed my arm and was kissing my cheeks but I got by him. I could have kicked his 90 pound ass but the nation of Vietnam vs. White Girl Tourist, well I didn't want to risk those odds. So that really was not cool but there have been no other incidents. But if I see you again creepy Vietnamese dude you better run! Needless to say when I am dictator of the world the Vengaboys will be first against the wall. I tried to rectify this actrocity by playing some Johnny Cash for the crew. They thought he was alright albeit not as flashy and pumping as the Vengaboys.

We saw some ultra-luxurious boats with a whole bunch of rich old people but we had Vengaboys blasting so they were missing out on a crucial part of the experience. First we stopped by "Surprise Cave", I which was pretty cool. Then we went to Titop island and climbed way the heck up the cliff to this pagoda at the top but the view was worth it.

The next day we went on a death march, I mean "hike", that none of us knew about. The told us to get
The dining roomThe dining roomThe dining room

with crazy friend jumping in
off the bus and follow local Cat Ba resident Mr. Chao up the mountain for a trek. That Mr. Chao practically ran up that mountain. I was pretty much dying but we really did go way the heck up there so I didn't feel too bad. We saw another cave that was used as a hospital in the war.

The best part was kayaking- we basically had no idea what we were doing on this tour so they put us on a bus for about 20 minutes, then we had a boat ride for an hour until we got to a floating village fish farm, basically a rickety bunch of logs and some nets containing these very sharklike fish. And then add a dozen possible rabid big old barking dogs to the mix. So we had to walk to the kayaks across the beams right over the sharklike fish and avoiding the possibly rabid dogs. I was a little scared at first because the fish really did look like sharks. The tour guides said they weren't sharks but they didn't say what exactly they were. But in the end it was exciting because I felt like an American Gladiator! Miss Napalm. And I didn't end up falling in. The actual kayaking wasn't bad either, we had so much fun paddling around the bay past the floating villages and into the peaceful secluded grottoes splashing and laughing like idiots.

Cat Ba Island was pretty deserted since it was a weekday so we had it to ourselves. I got a cold somewhere along the way so I drank a mango shake since the cold medicine looked iffy at the pharmacy. Then it was back to Hanoi to prepare for Tet and go to Tuyen Quang.

Coming up in the next edition: me consuming a rather unorthodox meat. Woof.

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21

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These guys are everywhere trying to sell you munchies. Vietnam is incredibly capitalistic for a communist country.
My cabinMy cabin
My cabin

Oooh :3
Mr. ChaoMr. Chao
Mr. Chao

He was a good guy.
Floating villageFloating village
Floating village

its hard to believe people live like that... their home is half the size of a dorm room but you still hear the TV blaring.
Fish Farm of DeathFish Farm of Death
Fish Farm of Death

sharkfish and dogs and balancing with inner ear problems
Tet tree at the hotelTet tree at the hotel
Tet tree at the hotel

sort of like the Christmas tree but with kumquats

Comments only available on published blogs

30th January 2006

nice shots
Hi Kate, nice to get the weekly Viet travelog fix...it was about due! Great shots and script. keep em coming. everyone at work is abuzz every time the new blog hits. They all say hi. Love Dad
30th January 2006

I wasn't jealous of your trip until I saw these pics. How beautiful! Thanks for keeping us entertained! We all miss you here at the OKC VA.
30th January 2006

Kick his ass!!
Sorry about your incident with the guy on the street of Hanoi. Next time go ahead and kick his ass. In fact, that guy was lucky because you didn't make a scene. Otherwise ppl around would have beat the hell out of him before giving him to the police. Vietnamese don't tolerate that kind of behavior. Believe me, I'm a Vietnamese dude, I know.
31st January 2006

go girl!
Hey Kate, We are lovin the travel blogs. You are a fabulous writer and we know of much of which you speak, which is way cool. Keep um coming. I can't wait to do a trip with you one day. xox Mary and Robert
31st October 2007

Sounds great - what company did you go with?
I know you don't know me, but I read your blog and your trip round Halong Bay sounds amazing!! I'm off to Vietnam myself next month and have heard horror stories about this trip from people who have been ripped off. What company did you do this tour with?

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