Rock Long, Rock Hard!!!!!!
11/17/11 - 11/18/11
We got our night train from Sapa at 9pm, arrived back in Hanoi at about 5am, caught a cab back to the Hanoi Backpackers Hostel, repacked our bags, and left at 8am sharp on a 4 hour bus ride to HaLong Bay. Was it worth it? Absolutely!
We got on our boat- the Jolly Rodger- and sailed for about 2 hours weaving through the islands before stopping in the Bay. Kourtney, along with the two Australian guys from Sapa, were the only people I knew on this trip but we made new friends quickly.
Words cannot describe HaLong Bay. The bay itself is a maze of limestone cliffs sticking hundreds of feet into the air, with thousands of them in every direction. It is located in the Northeast Corner of Vietnam, and was recently named one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Only locals can navigate through the islands, as it is impossible to see the ocean or the mainland once you get lost within them.
After our cruise, and us staring at our surroundings in amazement, we got lunch and settled into our cabins. Then we were able to tan on the top deck, swim in the bay, and even jump off the side of our 3 story boat- which was awesome! People were diving into the ocean, and our tour guides were even doing flips from the third story.
After swimming we set off for a sunset kayak tour, where we ventured through tunnels, around rocks, into caves and we were even able to climb on some of the islands. We stopped at a few floating villages, filled with locals who live on the water, where we could load up on drinks, snacks or whatever you wanted to get.
I felt bad for my kayak partner Leigh, because I stopped paddling like every 2 seconds to take a picture, but I did warn him this would happen so he couldn't yell at me in the process!
It was dark by the time we finished kayaking, so we went back to the Jolly Rodger and the "Rock Long, Rock Hard" party officially started. Although I have zero pictures from the rest of the night (I couldn't charge my camera in Sapa or on the trains/busses so my battery died), it was a great time with a group of random people in Vietnam.
We got up the next morning for breakfast at around 7:30 and basically sat around the top deck for a few hours enjoying the views and trying to recover from the night before, reenacting some of the funnier events. Eventually it was time to say goodbye to HaLong Bay, and we sailed back to port before catching the bus back to Hanoi.