Sunday, December 27, 2009

Vietnam Backpack - Halong Bay (28-29.11.09)

We left Hue for Hanoi at 5.45pm taking the night bus.

All in all, we traveled along the hilly coastline.

We reached Hanoi at around 7.30am the next morning

We met up with my friend - Ming, who's from Hanoi. He's my classmate in Uniten.

Another van ride for about 3.5 hours saw us reach the jetty in Halong City, the gateway out to Halong Bay. Halong City is rather uninteresting compared to Halong Bay. People mainly go to Halong Bay straight away.

All ready to go out sea

It was mid-day already

We purchased this Halong Bay package from a hotel call Hanoi Guesthouse, at USD 58 per pax through, which includes everything.

Boat transfer to the main boat

Accommodation for the night

The dragon boat cruising into Halong Bay

We were on board on The Imperial

Lunch was next after settling down our stuffs.

Simple meal

But we were offered some nice views

These are actually limestones erecting in the middle of the sea

One of my satisfying shots that became my pc's wallpaper

Fishing village

The supposingly ship captain sails with his foot!

There were 20 of us on board. We later went on a smaller boat to explore some caves nearby, which depended on whether the tide was high or not.

There were Thai's, Japanese, Europeans, Canadians, Australians...

One of the smaller caves which had to be access by smaller boats

I guess we had quite a great time (judging from this picture)

I like this place very much

Album cover for?

We reached the center of Halong Bay after around 3 hours.

It's a place to "dock" and let the anchor down for the night

Look like a painting isn't it?

We went for kayaking until night fall.

Which made me missed sunset

Me and Keat had a fear factor challenge after that... We launch ourselves from our boats straight into Halong Bay!!!

It was almost 2 stories high.

Twice.

Like any sea water, Halong Bay's really salty, and cold!!!

I was actually shivering standing on the deck before both the jumps. It's still a great experience jumping into Halong Bay!

Clinging on to the achor

The hardest part was actually to climb up the boat, using some ladders. Considering you've wasted so much energy in the water, climbing up those slippery ladders with minimal support was still some challenge.

Night was here

Dinner was here

Our friendly ASEAN counterparts

Who gave all unfinished food for (always) hungry Keat

We finished with more plates than any tables

One thing, we don't mind eating what others can't finish. It's to prevent wasting of food. But on the other hand, for Europeans or those from Australia, they will politely turn it down. I guess it's their way of life not take remains from others.

A peaceful night coped with some Karaoke session from a neighboring boat.

We slept early, maybe due to the tiredness.

Sunrise was the next target.

But disappointingly, despite waking up at around 5.30am, we couldn't see anything.

Halong Bay was covered in mist and thick clouds

Titanic - Halong Bay version?

Simple breakfast

Next up was a visit to some nearby caves, which were discovered by the French soldiers some 100 years ago.

Hang Sung Sot cave, I guess

I've been to a similar limestone cave in Ipoh, called Gua Tempurung.

But it was nothing like this

These limestone caves were formed by earthquakes and movement in the earth-crust bit by bit for a few million years.

Another difference from Ipoh's Gua Tempurung was that we didn't have to endure the bats' waste...

It was rather a cool and comfortable place, well lit-up.

It's a wonderful place really

Much effort was done to make this place attractive to tourist

Our group photo

A view of Halong Bay from inside the cave

Glancing at cave's jetty from above

Ming and myself - A great friend from Vietnam

This picture shows how strong is the wind

Our good friends in the tour

Storm-rider (风云) in Vietnam?

We were back at Halong City around mid-day.

Maxis got franchise in Vietnam?

We then had lunch in Halong City.

Cheers

While I was quite enthusiastic and passionate with Vietnam

My Vietnamese friend was obsessed with, of all places - KL

~~~

For many, Halong Bay's a must-go in Vietnam. It's quite rightly so. It's a place for you to escape from your daily stress and tension. You get to submerge yourself between natural skyscrapers in the form of limestone. Especially the calm seas at night, coupled with a can of local beer, some snacks and friends to chat with, it's rightly included in the "1000 Places to See Before You Die".

No wonder it's achieving it's status as one of the "Seven NATURE wonders of the world".

Maybe one fine day, I'll capture this shot myself

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, your blog about Halong is very interesting. I with my friend will go there in August 2012, but we don't have any idea yet about our trip until I have read your blog. Thank you so much for the info. Anyway, may I know who were your contacts for the van from Hanoi to Halong? Drop me a message in mchiyasmin_gases@yahoo.com.

:)