Halong Bay

Continued from Hanoi Day 2.

Ugh, it’s so early. Got up at 6:45am to get ready and pack up. Our ride to Halong Bay will pick us up at 7:30 or so.


No photos of breakfast, but it’s basically the same as what we had the previous days. But I do have a photo of all the different sugar packets here, with many from airlines. I wonder how all those ended up here??


Here comes our ride. It’ll take nearly 4 hours to get to Halong Bay, ugh.


While leaving Old Quarter, we drove by a whole row of shops that sell nothing but nicknacks for a home religious alter.


Our van wasn’t too crowded, only 6 of us.


Crossing the Mekong River.


Not the most inspiring drive.


Zzzz….


Some small mountains to our left(North) side.


Nooo, not again! Halfway into our trip, we got dropped off at another one of these souvenir shops. Sorry, not buying anything here!!


They did have a clean restroom though. Tour groups gets to use their bathroom, and in return, they are forced to browse these aisles for 30 minutes.


Really?


Errr….Deaf and Dumb. That’s terrible….well, until RL told me that Deaf and Dumb means deaf and mute….Still terrible!!!


We are getting closer! Started seeing some karsts on our right hand side.


When we have children, they will not get any snacks. It’s not because we won’t allow them to have any, it’s because their mother can’t open packets of snacks to feed them.


Still mountains on the left side and some karsts on the right hand side.


Finally! We’ve reached Halong Bay! This is easily the most famous sight here in Vietnam.


And now, we wait some more, for the tender to take us to the ship.


Let’s go!


Lots of sightseeing boats here.


One of those is our boat.


Everyone needs to wear a life vest. No one is too cool to not wear one.


The waters are so smooth out here. There are essentially no waves.


Ohhh, Ahhh.


Go through our itinerary and some safety instructions. Unlike American cruises, the safety part on this cruise only took about 2 minutes.


Our room. This is what $355 for two people gets you aboard a very nice one night cruise in Halong Bay. Kind of pricy, but it does include the transfer from Hanoi and all the food on board.


With that said, the accommodations are the most luxurious that we’ve had in Vietnam.


Our first floor hallway. There are only 24 rooms on this cruise, but it’s the largest junk(wooden ship) in the bay. The cruise is only about half full right now since it’s the low season.

While waiting for the tender to come pick us up, we spoke with another fellow traveler about her booking experience. She had originally booked with another cruise line, but the night before the cruise, she received a call that the boat was experiencing “engine issues” and that the cruise would be cancelled. Then she had to scramble the night before and try to find another cruise to book.

I am guessing that the “engine issues” aren’t really engine issues at all. I suspect it’s because that cruise wasn’t able to get enough passengers during the low season to make the numbers work, so they had “engine issues” at the last moment. Lame.


On our way into the bay.


Lounge area.


RL’s fancy drink.


My blue collar drink.


Ahhh, this is nice. We feel relaxed.


View from our dining table.


Lunch!


More drinks.


More lunch.


KL points.

So, a big lunch and several drinks later, we are very happy, and very sleepy. I think it’s time for a nap…


A couple of hours later, we woke up because we had to get ready to get on a kayak to see the floating villages.


Neither of us have actually been on a kayak before, but that’s ok because it’s not rocket science.


Our waterproof camera comes in handy again!


There are what seems to be oysters all along the water’s edge on the karsts.


Beautiful, but we are too busy trying to keep our kayak going straight than to be looking at the scenery.


Finally sighted floating village. Our guide said that there are some 600 people living on these floating villages and they mainly fish for living.


They even have an address plaque on their homes.


Most of the other guests on our cruise elected to be paddled around by the locals in bamboo boats instead of kayaking it themselves. We did, however, have to pay $10 each extra to use the kayaks.


That’s a floating school for the children who live here.


Many of the houses here even have TVs!! They use solar power or a generator to power them.


One of the fishing boats in the area. Look at all those lights.


Looking back at the floating village.


We asked a fellow kayaker to take a photo of us…this is the best out of the bunch. Not the greatest, but you get the idea.


Finally heading back to our boat! Yes!!! Our arms are getting tired. We’ve been out here for almost an hour!


Well, that was fun, but glad to be back. Our arms will probably be a little bit sore tomorrow. Also, our boat is not really made of wood. It’s made to look like it’s made of wood.


Enjoying the sunset in Halong Bay.


Dinner buffet will be served tonight!!


No photoshop needed. When we took the camera out from the cold cabin to the outside, the lens got fogged up. And when the condensation started clearing, it started in the middle of the lens in a circular pattern, therefore creating this effect. Neat.


Watching the sunset on the top deck. Pretty epic.


Opposite the sunset is the moon.


Peanuts inside those little balls of flour.


It’s happy hour, so buy one get one free. RL convinced me to get a fruity drink.


This is where we’ll anchor for the night.


Portrait series.


The weather out here has been gorgeous. Gentle cool breeze and not too hot. Perfect sunset.


Then literally 5 minutes after the sunsets, the wind started to pick up. In no time, the wind is so strong that we can no longer even hold the camera still to take photos. I guess that’s our cue to go inside and get some dinner.


Don’t mind if we do stuff our faces.

After dinner, we went back to the room and crashed. It’s been a long day. No worries about getting seasick out here, the water is so smooth, even with the strong wind outside. Zzzz….

To be continued at Hanoi Day 3.

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