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Halong Bay

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

You can get away with paying just $30 to tour Halong Bay – $10 for the tour and $20 for the coffin. We played it safe, paid well over the odds, on the basis that the quality would be worth paying for – and it was. The cruise takes you into the 1500 sq km bay where nearly 2000 limestone karsks puncture the horizon. Being winter, there is a near permanent mist, adding to the sense of wonderment creating layers of diminishing shadows into the white misty distance.

 

anticipation on dry land, crusing out and then taking to the sea kayaks

the bay in the mist was surreal

Our boat was super posh, so much so that even the children decided that best behaviour was the order of the day. As we cruised, we enjoyed a 4 course seafood lunch, that was prepared in the engine room, before dropping anchor and taking to the kayaks to explore the floating villages. These villages have upto 700 people, including a school, hospital and community centre. If you ever wanted to know what a rubbish life looks like – come to a floating village; stinking fish, scabby dogs, dodgy oysters and if you want a girlfriend, you have to choose between your sister or your cousin.

 

Kai and I cruising between the islands

the boat was nice - really nice.

Dinner on the boat was another suitably posh affair before settling the kids to bed and catching up with our many varied guests; the Thai businessman and his wife, the American gym owning brothers, and the Vietnamese/American man with a funny hat who was adopted as a four year old during the Vietnam war, we think as part of the “Operation Babylift” adoptions. He still has nightmares to this day, there were some interesting stories going round!

apparently the first sunset they had seen for 3 months

Our late night stories were only interrupted as we dragged anchor in the strong tidal current and drifted straight into another boat, disaster only averted as Grannie noticed us moving and woke the staff. Safety is pretty low on the agenda.

 

Next day after a slightly restless sleep worrying about the bit of welded re-inforcement bar we had as an anchor, we cruised through the bay to the “Surprising Cave”. Discovered by a Frenchman in 1906 whilst chasing butterflies, his first words where “Oooh La La – Quel surprise!”. Hence the name – it could only have been a Frenchman.

 

"ooh la la" cave

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