We got to the harbor just after lunch and after the usual stop en route at a souvenir factory.
We had our own boat (junk). My room was nice. We were a while in the harbor but set off as we were having lunch.
I think the food I had on the boat is probably the best food I’ve had whilst in Vietnam. It was delicious and there was loads of it. But for good reason as after lunch we were busy.
We first visited the ’surprising cave’ - and until I saw it I was quite amused by the name. But in all fairness it is very surprising. It’s huge and really amazing. You walk through little passages and suddenly you’re in these huge caverns. They are all lit up really beautifully.
Then we went to a little island with a view point on top. Lots of steps but the view was great.
Then it was kayaking. I wish I’d taken my camera, because we went through some really cool caves and came out into an enclosed lagoon at the other side. It was so beautiful. Some people went for a swim but I’d already been warned of jelly fish. The others in my group got out of the water too once they saw a girl in tears after being stung multiple times - own! At some points you could count 4 or 5 surrounding the kayak, and they were huge.
Back on the junk we got sorted and then again were fed some delicious food. The group was really nice and we felt like we had stayed up really late drinking and putting the world to rights but when we looked at the time it was only 9pm! We had had a busy day!
The next day most of the group were going back to Hanoi. 2 of us swapped to another boat and went on a walk through Cat Ba National Park. It was a real trek and really slippery after the bad weather of a few days before. Half way through we stopped at a little hut where a local lady gave us green tea and bananas. She had some very cute puppies and gave them some rice to share with the cat. After the hen came to get her share too. It was really funny.
The trek was really off the beaten track and in places they had built ladders out of logs and there were ropes to hold as you walked over make shift bridges. It made the walk more exciting because as we were in quite dense jungle there wasn’t much of a view. We cane out into a little bay and our guide whistled and our boat came round to pick us up!
We had another great lunch and then I got to take a kayak out by myself, I really enjoyed this. Halong Bay is just so beautiful. Its also really interesting to see all the people who have made there homes out on the water. There is even a little boat/shop that comes around and tries to sell you drinks and snacks.
We spent the night in Cat Ba town, which wasn’t much to write home about but was fine for a night. We left early for the boat and got back to Halong City for lunch. I just spent the morning on the upper deck looking out at the bay, it’s such an amazing sight, the postcards don’t do it justice, and i can’t think of any words that would do it justice. Just beautiful.
Got back to Hanoi and my nice hotel was full so I spent one night in a different hotel with more scurrying overhead!