So!! Halong Bay!
The bus came to pick Tamara and I up early on Sunday morning before heading directly for Ha Long Bay. We’d chosen the three day, two night option, which meant we’d be spending the first night of our tour on the boat! We drove for a few hours and then arrived at the Bay, from which we boarded our boat. There were eleven of us in total, which was a small but awesome group; it was soon established that everyone on the trip was excellent. We ate a seafood lunch shortly after boarding, and headed for an island on which we disembarked to visit a cave. It was fairly similar to the Seven Star Cave, but more open. At one point, we reached a stalagmite that looked somewhat… ahem, phallic, and our tour guide informed us that they called this “Happy morning.” He chuckled as he made sure that we all understood was he was getting at, and told us that happy morning is very lucky and everyone likes happy morning. He immediately proceeded to look at me and say “When comes to happy morning, some women prefer cannon, some prefer gun. You prefer cannon or gun??” I WAS MORTIFIED. The group all had a laugh at my loss for words. We soon left the cave, and went to ride in some kayaks. Tamara and I shared a kayak, and the whole experience was serene. The hills sometimes creates tunnels to completely isolated islets. Rowing into these areas and then just enjoying the isolation was incredible. We didn’t have long to explore, but the time we spent kayaking Ha Long Bay was so memorable and so beautiful. After kayaking, we reboarded the boat and sailed for a while. We then anchored for the night, at which point we were told that we could go swimming and jump off of the boat into the water if we so pleased… which we did. The next hour or two was spent swimming until the sun set, after which we enjoyed a seafood dinner. Some participated in karaoke… but that’s not my thing, so I sat on the side of the boat and enjoyed the ocean sounds.
On Monday morning, we were informed that due to the hurricane headed our way, we would unfortunately have to cut our stay a night short and head back to Hanoi. While this news was disappointing, there was nothing that could be done to change matters, and all that was left to do was appreciate the wonderful time we’d spent on Sunday. We sailed to shore and saw evidence of the unpleasant weather that was due to head that way. We ate lunch at a mainland restaurant and then headed back to Hanoi.
The cave that we visited
Our boat, again
Somewhat blurry… but here Tamara and I are, kayaking.
Halong Bay at sunset
Halong Bay at sunrise