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Published: October 14th 2010
Ok you've all heard of Halong Bay and you've all seen the pictures but really I don't think you can appreciate the full extent of it's heavenlyness until you actually see it in person.
There are so many companies offering trips to Halong Bay that Carrie and I found it a little overwhelming trying to choose the right one. Our backpacker place offered one but it was called the 'Rock long rock hard tour' so we were a little concerned that it would be party, party 24/7. As you well know I am partial to a wee drop but I think I have passed the stage in my life when I need to spend everynight drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Therefore we opted for a company called Oriental Sails, recommended by Courtney & Andi and it turned out to be the best choice.
After a long 3.5hr journey out to Halong we finally boarded our boat about 12pm and were welcomed aboard with a cold towel and watermelon shake (my favourite). Not long after that we checked into our delightful cabins and then enjoyed lunch on board whilst we sailed out into the bay. Our fellow passengers were all
lovely and we soon got to know each other over seafood and beer Hanoi. After lunch we visited the largest cave in Halong, fittingly called Amazing Cave. Although entering the first chamber Carrie and I were both underwhelmed, maybe we have just seen too many caves we thought because this thing is anything but 'amazing'. Ooops hold your tongue girls there are 2 more chambers to come and they got bigger each time! The third chamber was infact mahossive and grudgingly we admitted 'amazing'. The only unfortunate thing about the visit was the 20 million other tourists there at the same time.
From the cave we made our way to our anchoring point for the night and much to Carrie's delight it was time for kayaking! Carrie having never kayaked and me last doing in high school, we made an interesting pair! For some reason we found it difficult to keep the kayak pointed in the right direction and more often than not found ourselves correcting and then overcorrecting! However this was nothing compared to getting beached on the rocks - yes in the middle of Halong Bay we managed to find the only rocky outcrop close enough to
the surface to get stuck! After laughing so hard we nearly capsized we eventually extricated ourselves and slowly made our way back to the boat.
Dinner was a sumptuous selection of local seafood and vietnamese fare, needless to say we managed to eat too much and had a nudge at more than one cocktail! The staff on board seemed really keen for us to have a go at karaoke so to make them feel better we didn't use the microphone but a whole table of us sang a few songs together. I have to say that Bon Jovi's Livin on a Prayer was the hit of the night!
Our second day was our favourite and one of the hightlights of my trip. We started with breakfast on the main boat and then Carrie & I and an english couple were picked up by a smaller day boat and whisked off for a day of relaxing on the sun deck, swimming in the gorgeous emerald green water and yes more kayaking! The weather was glorious and the view from the sun deck really took your breath away. That night we were joined by new guests on the boat and
again enjoyed a lovely dinner and more cocktails.
The third morning we didn't really get time to much other than a quick visit to a floating village and then it was time to start chugging back to the harbour. The trip back was lovely and so hot Carrie and I were dreaming about throwing one of the life rings out the back of the boat and getting towed along for the rest of the trip. After our 3.5hrs in the bus it was back to the mayhem of Hanoi and we were both wishing we could have stayed in the peace and tranquility of Halong.
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