We signed up for the Halong Bay boat trip with our guest house, A Dong Hotel in the old quarter of Hanoi, the guys here are very helpful and with a little bit of persuassion they did us a good deal, we got a 2 day and 1 night trip on the boat for $28.
The guys picked us up no problem and took us off, we got tp the port and there were hundreds of junk boats taking people out on trips, eventually we got onto ours. Remember to take your passport with you or they wont let you stay on the boat over night. Apparently the harbour police caught some terrorists 6 months ago smuggling weapons and drugs aboard one of the boats, so the police made it mandatory to know who is on which boat at what time.
The crew were nice enough, we stopped shortly after de-berthing and had some lunch, then set off into the bay itself. We were told by the guide that there are over three thousand islands in the area, however only one thousand nine hundred odd are in the actual conservation area. The whole area is a vastness of natural beauty, we have barely seen anything as nice, apart from the water it is slightly murky, not very good for snorkling! Our cabin was on the small size but you dont get a lot when you go for the extra budget option do you! The water in the shower worked when it felt like it and when it did it was only a dribble, Katie though didnt care she was just made up to be sleeping on a junk boat in the middle of Halong Bay, thats why i love her you see.
That day we stopped off at Sung Sot caves and spent over an hour walking through the caves and taking in the sights, there are a lot of stalagmites and stalagtites. The guides try to show you all these pictures in the rocks and shadows but they are hardly true and you could probably make better ones up yourselves, the “romeo and juliet” one is a real corker! After the caves we once again boarded the boat and set off for the fishing village, on the way we stopped at another cave you could visit by hiring a small boat, we decided it wasnt worth it and just stayed on the boat chatting to some couples.
The weather was gorgeous 40 plus easy and we were making the most of it all of us on the sun deck! We arrived at the fishing village and got to stop at one of the shops there that house the live fish in specially constructed rafts, the boats crew brought our dinner from here for dinner later! After this we dropped some people off at Cat Ba island that were staying the night at the hotel on the island instead of the boat (apparently its cheaper). We carried on cruising around the bay all afternoon and in the evening we settled in a small bay where we had dinner and everyone just chatted and socialised.
The next day we were awoken at 06:30 to be informed it was time for us to go KAYAKING! what the hell!!! so we dragged our sorry asses out of bed and paddled around the cove and checking out caves and stuff. We ended up really enjoying it even tho we could barely open our eyes! After that we did nothing, we dropped off more people on the island and picked up some more then took a leisurely cruise back to the main dock at Halong city. So Katie and I just took advantage of the once again gorgeous weather and bronzed up to the max!