Saving the best until last…
Today was our final day in Vietnam so we really wanted to leave on a high, and couldn’t think of a better way to do so than taking a day trip to the one and only Halong Bay.
Situated in the Gulf of Tonkin roughly 165km away from Hanoi, Halong Bay is a majestic area made up of some 1,600 individual limestone pillars, considered to be some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world. Unfortunately for us though, for half of the day we could barely even see anything!
Now before you start making assumptions let me assure you that we did in fact check the weather a before leaving Hanoi, but despite the fact that it was meant to be relatively clear all day long, it fogged over quite considerably and rained for the entire morning too. Still, we made the most of our afternoon, so let’s focus on the positives shall we?
It took us four hours to reach Halong Bay by bus, and our super friendly tour guide managed to find a perfect balance between giving us relative information to keep us entertained, and being quiet so that we could catch up on sleep after starting the day so early. When we swapped the bus for a boat and took to the water a buffet lunch was served straight away, which gave us a chance to get to know other members of the group and keep ourselves distracted from the fact that the weather was pretty dismal:
Thankfully it started to clear up after an hour or so, and although none of the islands seemed quite as picturesque as the brochures may have made out, theres no denying that our surroundings were still absolutely gorgeous:
We had the chance to go kayaking in the afternoon, which meant getting up close and personal with the islands and exploring a few lovely little areas that we wouldn’t have found otherwise. What I liked most about kayaking was the fact that it allowed us to detach ourselves from the rest of the group and gave us a real sense of freedom, something that no amount of rain or fog could have ever put a downer on. Unfortunately my GoPro is playing up so I can’t upload any kayaking photographs for now, but as soon as I can I’ll update this post and let you all know so that you can come back and have a look!
After a while we regrouped on the boat and made our way to Dau Go Cave, the largest grotto that can be found on Halong Bay. In all honesty it felt a bit like a tourist trap – in complete contrast to the kayaking which gave us some alone time, we now found ourselves amongst a group of at least a couple of hundred people. The flourescent lighting was enough to deter me from taking photographs, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned since travelling it’s that people will snap away at absolutely anything, and this was a perfect example of that!
Sadly the clock was ticking and it was already time to head back to the bus after visiting Dau Go, but I think by that point we’d seen enough anyway. In fact, given the fact that our morning looked so unpromising, we should probably count ourselves lucky! Alright it could’ve been better, much it could’ve been a lot worse too. Like I said earlier, let’s focus on the positives eh?