LIFES ONE LONG HOLIDAY - 2005 travel blog

Boat suppliers

Ha Long Bay. 1 of 3000 islands

I think this counts as an island!

On route to the caves

7:30 am pickup for a tour of Ha Long Bay. WE got picked up at 8:30 by a guy on a bike who asked us to follow him to the bus. We then joined about 20 people for a 3 hour bus ride to the Bay.

Stopped along the way along with 20 other tourbuses who were heading to the same place. And here we were thinking we were going to get a private tour...

Oh well. Finallly arrived into organized chaos (seeming to be a trend on this trip). We were herded like sheep onto one of 20 tour boats, which were crammed into the dock like mismatched puzzle pieces. Then we sailed out onto the bay, which apparently has 3,000 islands. Unfortunately, we didn't have the clearest day to see them all, but we were able to see quite a few and used our imaginagtion for the rest.

We then stopped for lunch (fresh noodle, rice and seafood dishes and spring rolls cooked on the boat)aside someone's floating home. A baby was running around these thin wooden planks in front of the house connecting a series of fishing nets and surrounded by water. Made me very nervous but he seemed to be on familiar ground...

We then stopped at a 2 caves - one discovered 10 centuries ago, the other only 12 years ago - by accident - by a man who fell through the opening, broke his leg and had to crawl hs way out in the dark. So the story goes. This was surprisingly quite a sight. Looked like a huge Winter Wonderland inside with all of the white limestone literally cascading from the ceiling. The older cave not so impressive - but then again, probably because it's lost it's charm in its old age...

Then back on the boat and back to the bus for the long journey back.

Once again found ourselves with a few hours to kill before getting on another overnight train... Did someone say beer????

We had passed this pub called Le Pub several times and refused to go in on the principal it wasn't Vietnamese - but decided to give in. Turned out to be a great move because we met one of the owners of the place, Matty, who told us his partner runs a charity for poor kids to train them in the food and bar industry and to teach them English. He employs 5 of the graduates at Le Pub. He gave us some great recommendations for places to go in Hoi An.

Many beers later we came close to missing the train because we couldn't find our way back to the hotel! Finally jumped in a taxi who managed to save the day despite the little English he spoke...

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