Updated on April 10, 2010
It is one of Vietnam’s most treasured sites. Halong Bay. The bay includes more than 1500 islands and islets with sky scrapping limestone pillars.
We had planned on meeting Jeremy, Seb’s cousin, and his friend Romain in Vietnam and taking a cruise through Halong Bay.
To make a long story short it was a pain in the butt to schedule a boat in Halong Bay City. Most of the tours are scheduled in Hanoi. Our hotel, Sunlight Hotel, arranged for us to go to the dock and talk to an agent. It was a confusing process but we were willing to pay a little more to make sure that we had a nice boat. We should have used a website for Halong Bay.
After paying for the best we ended up being placed on a boat/junk with others that paid half of what we paid along with several cockroaches whom I am pretty sure didn’t pay anything.
We spent one night with the cockroaches and another night in the “4” star hotel on Cat Ba Island which was old and ugly.
Side note: Northern Vietnam loves the old style. I am pretty sure over the past 50 years the Chinese style had not changed here.
Besides the accommodation disappointments, Halong Bay was beautiful. We visited a very impressive cave, trekked through a rain forest, and witnessed the celebration of Ho Chin Mihn‘s visit to the island 51 years ago. The best part was hanging out with Jeremy and Romain. We all had a lot of laughs!
I wish I had a better camera! Halong Bay was cloudy and cold each day.
There were many other junks taking the same route as we were.
The cave was huge and had lots of colorful lights in it.
The boys couldn’t handle the trek but that didn’t stop me! It was very steep and it started to fog up as I got to the top, which was disappointing because they said you could see the whole island from the top.
There are many fishing families that live their whole lives right on the water.
This boat is how the families of the fishing village get fruits from the mainland. Not a bad way to do groceries. There is even a bank that floats on the water near the village.
The posse! The puffins, cousin Jeremy, and Romain at Prince Hotel V in Hanoi (probably the best hotel in town).