22 November 2008

So Long Halong

On Thursday we made the trip out to Halong Bay which is on the North Eastern coastline of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin, about 60 miles South of the Chinese boarder. The bay contains more than 3000 limestone islands and is also home to the legendary Tarasque, Vietnam's equivalent to the Loch Ness Monster. The bay is renown as one of the natural wonders of Vietnam. The trip out to the bay from Hanoi took about three and a half hours by coach. From there we transferred onto a converted rice junk which would be our home for the next 2 days.

We spent most of the time just sailing around the bay, looking at the beautiful scenery whilst sipping cold beer and exchanging travel tips and stories with the other people on the boat. We also had a couple of stop offs to explore some limestone grottoes and to go sea kayaking.

The scenery was really beautiful but it was a real shame that the weather took a turn for the worse on the second day as the mist descended. It was still a great trip though and a much more tranquil couple of days after the chaos and horns of Hanoi.

We're not big fans of going on organised tours and always try to avoid them wherever possible. However; the guide books advise against doing this trip independently due to the hassle factor plus the tours are no more expensive.

There are two main reasons for our dislike of tours. The first is that you can't take things at your own pace or divert from the plan if you see something else of interest on the way. The other reason is that you can sometimes end up spending a lot of time with people you don't actually like!

This time though we had some great company, particularly a young couple called Jeroen and Judith from Holland (or was it the Netherlands?!?). They were great fun and taught us how to play a bizarre card game called cow trading. I wont go into the technicalities of cow trading but we were all soundly beaten by a couple of girls from Israel. We then played an Israeli card game called Janiv, which I was also quite hopeless at and managed to loose by some margin.

Jeroen and Judith are spending 6 months traveling through Asia before going to South America for 6 months. Their friends and Family will be flying out to Costa Rica in February 2009 for their wedding. We wish them all the best. Their blog can be found at the following link . However; I think most people reading this, myself included, will need a little assistance from Google Translate or Babel Fish.

Although we didn't see the legendary Tarasque on our visit tp Halong Bay we did see the very rare sight of the much fabled Vietnamese cave penquin!

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you are still having your games nights!!