We have heard from all the backpackers throughout the Asia, this is the place to go in Vietnam. It took a 2 hour hour bus ride, a half hour speed boat ride, another 45 minute bus ride until we arrived to the bay. We booked the Hideaway tour through our hostel, and there were about 10 people in our group. The bay was beautiful, with giant rock formations poking out of the water for miles.
The first stop was right in the middle of the bay where you had the option to jump off the boat. Due to the gloomy weather and seeing the looks of people’s faces as they hit the water shivering I opted not to do this as I do not like being cold. I was one of the few who didn’t participate. Rob was one of the first ones in the water of course.
Next we went kayaking. We learned about the history of Halong Bay. We kayaked through a fishing village. I noticed that there were many dogs around, I asked if it was their pets. Our guide advised they are not pets, but actually guard dogs to ward off people from stealing anything in their homes while they are away fishing. We learned that the kids don’t go to school because they can’t afford it, so they fishing when they are young instead and do it their whole life. The fishing was mainly done at night and they catch squid, tuna and oysters.
That night we were able to try the oysters and squid that was caught from the bay! I’m not a fan of either but I gave them both a shot, still not much of a fan 🙂 I enjoyed the rest of the buffet which included rice, spring rolls, grilled meat and french fries! After we played games and Rob played music from his phone while we danced the night away. It was a really fun group!
Rob and I stayed in a really cute hut on the water, while everyone else was in the dorms up on the cliff. Apparently their showers had see through windows so they had a great view of the bay.
The next day was also gloomy weather unfortunately, but it also made it kind if eerie and the boat ride reminded us of Pirates of the Caribbean. Today we were with a small group of 5 as some people only stayed for 1 night. We went to Cat Ba, the biggest island, so go biking. It was a beautiful ride along the bay and than into the fields surrounded by mountains.
Than we went for what I thought was the most difficult hike of my life. It was up these jagged rocks, and I cut my shoulder on one within the first 5 minutes. Normally this hike you see a great view of the bay, but because it was so foggy out we went to some caves instead.
And of course we were greeted by Rob’s biggest fears – bats. Ever since we had a bat in our house last summer and had to try to get him out as he flew at his head. Climbing through the caves, or spelunking as they call it, was quite a challenge – especially since it was dark. We finally made it out alive and got to enjoy a delicious lunch of sweet and sour chicken with rice and spring rolls.
On our bike ride back we stopped to take a picture of a dog with 3 three adorable puppies. The rest of the group was ahead of us, but our guide stopped to show us something at the home behind.
He offered us some snakes wine to drink – no thanks. Than showed us where this family made rice wine.
Than we were greeted with a mom and her cute piglets! Than before we knew it the owner was neutering one of the piglets right in front of us. That was too much for our eyes and ears to handle so we got out of there stat!
We biked back to the boat. But before we walked the short bridge to the boat our guide insisted we get into the back of the little trailer on his moped to drive us the 5 seconds to the boat. All the people at the shops were taking our picture as we drove away over the bridge.
The next day we went hiking to the other side of the island where there were monkeys! It’s very ironic considering the island we stayed on was called monkey island. They were selling peanuts to feed them. The poor baby monkey could never get any peanuts cause his big brother kept stealing them from him – but I managed to sneak him one and he was quick enough to run away before his brother stole it 🙂 I must admit I am a bit afraid of monkey though after getting bit in Ubud, but they’re so cute I can’t stay away!
We hiked up to a beautiful view of the bay after. This is definitely a place I would love to come back to when the weather is warmer. Our guide advised the best time to visit is May or September. On the bus ride back Rob and I were the last ones to get on since I had to use the bathroom on the boat so I got the last seat in the very back middle, and Rob had to sit on a small folding chair. Needless to say it wasn’t a very comfortable 3 hour ride. Stay tuned for our next post on a new country I had never even heard of until this year!