31
Jan
10

Jan 28-31: Hanoi – Halong Bay (and back again)

On Thursday, I was awake from 4AM until about 10PM, so I went directly to bed after the water puppet show. In Vietnam they like to charge for absolutely EVERY experience they possibly can, so I don’t have any photos of the show because I didn’t want to pay an extra 15,000 Dong (really, only about $1, but hey, I’m being cheap right now) to take photos.

Limestone karst of Halong Bay

Friday we left early for the three hour drive to Halong City, where we caught our private boat to Cat Ba island, via Halong Bay. I had been looking forward to this part of Vietnam for months, so I was a bit bummed that it was overcast and hazy on Friday. But the weather was relatively warm, and our tour leader Dat said that the conditions were actually pretty good for this time of year, so we made the best of our journey and still took plenty of photos. Unfortunately the computer I am at does not have the proper connection, so yet again you will have to wait to see them :p

During the boat ride we had the opportunity to explore some of the limestone

Me outside the caves at Halong Bay

caves in the bay, and were served lunch on the boat. We passed by many villages on the bay, where people literally live in a boat the size of our bathroom at home!

Yesterday seven of us went for a kayak trip around the bay. It was still hazy, and the rain was pouring when we woke up, but by the time we set out the sky was clearing up and the rain had stopped. I was definitely happy I went, despite getting all my clothes wet (and having aching arms afterward!) because we got to see some very cool sights. The coolest part was when we stopped at a beach and our guide took out a bag of bananas.

Monkeys!

Can you guess what these were for? The MONKEYS! There were about seven monkeys sitting on top of a hut on the beach, and they came running when we beached our kayaks! Some of them were a bit aggressive, so we took to throwing the bananas at them, but a few of them allowed us to venture closer (armed with a paddle for defense, of course!) The photos of them gorging themselves on banana peels are adorable (too bad you have to wait to see them 🙂

Me and my Bun Cha

When we arrived back in Hanoi yesterday evening, after a long day of travel (it looks close on the map, but it actually takes close to three hours to get to Halong Bay from the city), we had our “last supper” together as a group, and with Dat, our fantastic amazing tour leader. We sat in a private room and had a scrumptious Vietnamese dinner (I had a traditional Hanoi meal called Bun Cha) followed by not-so traditional ice cream (mint chocolate, finally!) We then headed to a local club for some hookah before heading back for a good nights sleep.

Today Court and I are having a lazy day, walking around the city, taking photos, and buying baguettes for the bus trip to Vinh. Tonight we will meet our new tour leader and group for the Laos portion of our tour. I’m looking forward to Laos, and I’m hoping our group will be just the eleven of us that have been together since Day 1 in Bangkok. Since I put all my photos on a CD, I don’t have them with me, but I hope to put some up when I make my next post.

Until Laos,

Lex

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