Vietnam :: Halong Bay

““If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it’s lethal.”
– Paulo Coelho

Another bucket list item from the early days of planning this trip. I had heard it was not the right time to see Halong Bay and I “should come back later because there wouldn’t be much sunshine so there was no point. Respectfully, I disagree…

“Ha Long (“Descending Dragon”) Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular travel destination in Vietnam, historical research surveys have shown the presence of prehistoric human beings in this area tens of thousands years ago. The bay consists of a dense cluster of some 1,600 limestone monolithic islands each topped with thick jungle vegetation, rising spectacularly from the ocean. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves.”

I had heard a lot of stories about how the different companies operated with fake pictures showing vastly better boats and tours than they actually offered and that you definitely should not go for the cheapest ones because they could border on the unsafe. By the time I got to my hotel in Hanoi I just handed everything over to the awesome dude at reception who organized everything for me and quoted me a price. I ended up paying $155 for a two day, one night trip with everything included (except drinks on the boat, obviously), and I am happy I did. The company was professional and took great care of us, the boat was really nice, there were no safety issues (that I could find at least), the food on the trip was really good (and plentiful, god, there was so much food!) and the schedule was ok (I was afraid it was going to be a rushed 48-hour sales pitch, but it wasn’t). I got put in with a group I really liked and met some awesome new people too (of course, quite a few of them were German #FriendlyTakeover)

Things I’ll remember from this trip is the random dude from another tour group who wandered around making cockerel sounds. We still don’t know why he did this, I mean, he was good at it, it sounded like we were on a farm, but he was milking it a bit. I’m thinking some really hot girl once told him this was funny and now it’s his “thing” 😛 The thing got slightly annoying after half an hour…

I also remember the food. The food… There was so much food, oh my god… Good stuff too… We had a “cooking class” the second day, which basically meant we made some spring rolls. After making two or three of them, we ate them of course. After which, our guide, Kevin, declared: “And now: Lunch!” and out came the enormous amounts of more food… We were so full, jeez…

I also remember, Martine, the French woman I befriended (and kayaked with) had booked a single bed, not a whole room to herself and she got put in a tiny room with an unknown guy and a single key – made me glad I splurged for my own room. Not that I wouldn’t have made it work, but it was really nice to be able to just dump my stuff, lock my door and have privacy. It was nice.

Robert spent quite some time fishing for squid (we were afraid not catching one would mean no lunch the next day, but luckily that wasn’t the case) but all we caught was garbage. Unfortunately there was quite a lot of rubbish in the bay… Now, we were drinking a few cocktails at this point, but I suspect there were no fish or squid in the bay to be honest 😉

I would write more, but I’m sick, so this is it. Halong Bay was cool – I would do it again, glad I saw it. Mint stuff. Kthnxby.


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