Halong Bay is easily one of the most beautiful places in the world. We spent much of our day standing on one side of the boat with our camera’s out taking about 500 photos each, with every picture looking amazing. Our awesome wooden boat took us through the islands of Halong Bay, which we decided resembled Pirates of the Caribbean, Vietnamese style. We totally expected to see Jack Sparrow pop up and commandeer our ship, not that we would have minded of course!
We headed to the caves at first, it was pretty impressive, despite the fact that it was decked out in neon coloured lights, not the most natural lighting design! The best part were the random penguin rubbish bins placed at every corner. The boat continued taking us into the islands, and we eventually stopped and jumped in for a much needed swim! After arriving at Cat Ba Island we had a late dinner before heading to a local nightclub, a teeny little room that had a DJ and a dance floor, with about 6 locals dancing around. So we joined them! After about 3 minutes we had scared them off and were the only ones dancing as most of the locals had gathered around the dance floor to stare at us and film us on their phones. So awkward, so we left! Hannah and I were really feeling the effects of far too much alcohol so we headed back to our room, laid out on the balcony with a few naughty (and disgusting) Cambodian branded cigarettes and blasted Michael Jackson’s Number Ones album for all of Cat Ba to hear!
Slightly hungover the next morning we dragged ourselves out onto the street and looked for something to eat. We were turned away by multiple restaurants, being told that there’s no food or we are not a restaurant (when it clearly was) or just being ignored completely. According to our guide some restaurants on Cat Ba won’t serve Westerners. He didn’t tell us why, and he sure as hell could have told us earlier! After finally finding somewhere that would serve us (and there are places, we just kept picking the ones that wouldn’t, purely out of bad luck) we headed to the local markets which sold such delicacies as sea horse kebabs and geckos on a stick. We took photos and headed right out the door!
Our hydrofoil ride back to the mainland was an epic failure. It didn’t show up. So we took a local bus to the other side of the island, grabbed a teeny tiny speed boat to the mainland about 1 hour from the bus station, took a local bus (complete with wobbly head ponies on the dashboard) to that station before jumping on our minivan to get back to Hanoi. Wow, effort!