Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Kayaking in Ha Long Bay

While in Hanoi, Angela and I decided to visit one of the famous wonders of the natural world, Ha Long Bay. There are tours available that can let you spend several nights there but we decided just to do one day since we were trying to save a bit of money. The highlight of the trip was the kayaking we did among the beautiful limestone pinnacles of the bay.

A few hours out of Hanoi, we arrived at Ha Long City and boarded a ferry.
We met some friendly Russians on the boat. One of them, Sergei, insisted on pouring us shots of vodka every five minutes.
Enjoying some tasty seafood to dilute the alcohol.

We stopped off at an island in the bay to explore some caves.

As we headed deeper into the bay, the karst peaks became more abundant and impressive.

Now it was time to enjoy some kayaking.

Let's try squeeze through this.

Back on the ferry for some more views of the bay.

That was it for our tour of Ha Long Bay. To be frank, we weren't all that impressed with this place. Sure, it's pretty, but we've seen other limestone karst landscapes that wowed us more. Still, we're willing to admit that we might not have seen the best of it by taking a short day tour.

Afterwards we returned to Hanoi and spent a day or two more in the city, sorting out technical problems with my laptop and posting stuff home. Then we took the long bus to Laos, making this my final Vietnam post. It's been an incredibly fun country to travel through. The people have surprised us with their friendliness, and the country really didn't seem as aggressively tourist-orientated as we'd been told. We're also glad we devoted almost an entire month to travelling it, since there are so many varied places to visit: the palm tree-lined beaches of Phu Quoc and Nha Trang, the bustling cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, the deserts of Mui Ne, the European-style alpine resort of Dalat, the ancient merchant town of Hoi An...we visited so many magical places and yet there's still so much we didn't see; had we more time we might also have visited the watery villages of the Mekong Delta, the rice terraces of Sapa or the caves and mountains of Phong Na. I guess that gives us a good reason to return in the future.

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