Everything went smoothly getting to Vietnam. We got so tired in Bangkok airport that everything became hilarious. I thought we'd composed ourselves when we came across a Thai cook book with a lady and various dishes on the cover, the title read 'cooking with Poo'.. I thought I'd lost Mark forever, there were tears.
We had thought Bangkok and Chiang Mais roads were busy.. Ha! Vietnam is MENTAL (although I hear not as crazy as India oh god). The mopeds massively outnumber cars in Hanoi. So far the sound of Vietnam is a horn and the face is a huge smile. We met a girl from New Jersey who had decided that the knack to crossing the road is not to look either way, pick a pace and the traffic miraculously works out a route around you, she wasn't wrong! Best thing we saw on the back of a moped was either a wardrobe, 2 live pigs in a box or a years supply of toilet roll.
The city was busy but somehow not as irritating as Bangkok. We spent a lovely afternoon wandering around lake Haon Kiem, really pretty. At night the lake is lit up and the areas around turn in to spots for roller blading clubs, yoga and exercise classes, break dancing and generally just relaxing next to the endless traffic. A strange setting, but it works and is clearly a romantic getaway destination.
We booked a 2 night trip to Ha Long Bay and on Wed 9th boarded our mini cruise ship with 2 Aussies, 2 Chinese, 2 Brits (1 living in NZ), 1 American and 1 Brazilian.. To be joined later by 2 more Aussies (1 an Ozzy Osbourne lookalike), 2 French and 2 Dutch. We became a family over the next few days, we loved chatting and hearing everyone's life stories.
Ha Long Bay itself was breathtaking. We kayaked, sailed for hours, wandered through caves and on the islands, jumped off the boat, swam to tiny empty beaches and passed the floating villages.. Heaven on earth! We also visited an oyster pearl farm and saw wild monkeys - amazing. We never wanted to leave.
The first night we spent on the boat and the second night on Cat Ba Island, in a hotel named Hung Long Hotel, honestly you can't make this stuff up! Brilliant.
We finally dragged ourselves away from the boat and view and are currently 2 hrs in to a 14 hr overnight train (11th Oct). It's an experience so far!
Vicky and Mark xxxx
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