24.01.2013 - 24.01.2013
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.
Today was the first day of our three day, two night tour on Halong Bay. First on the agenda...a four hour bus ride to the port. I had a very pleasant journey on the bus thanks to downloading the Hangover 2 and some Doctor Who episodes onto my iPhone! Jo managed to snooze a bit!
The scenery in Halong bay is just stunning. I'll let the photos speak for themselves!
After checking into our pretty luxurious cabins on the boat, we settled down with our group for a super tasty lunch. The fried squid was amazing! First stop after lunch was Thien Cung Grotto, the "Amazing Cave". It was very nice although it didn't feel quite authentic owing to the abundance of colourful lights glowing throughout the cave (almost tacky)! It was fun however trying to spot the animals, shapes etc. that our guide was pointing out to us with his laser pen. Next stop was a fishing village in the bay where we took some kayaks out. By the end of it, Jo and I had got the hang of our double kayak. There were only a few instances of a near crash, one of which was when we were trying to kayak through the rock formation which is shown on the 200,000 Dong note!
Once back on the boat, we warmed up with a nice Irish coffee on the deck (thanks to Mr and Mrs Venables who sent Jo some Baileys for Christmas!!) and played some cards with the rest of our group before dinner.
Dinner was as delicious as lunch. We were not expecting the food or the boat to be so nice seeing as we only paid $105 for the whole three day trip!
After dinner we all somehow (I blame Jo) ended up playing "Ring of Fire"! Needless to say, a lot of Halong Beer was consumed. At one point, our guide challenged us all to try and get a cork out of a bottle into which it had been pushed without breaking the bottle. We were promised free beer if we succeeded. Of course we failed! That meant we all had to down a bottle of beer (I cheated by pouring the majority of mine into an empty glass)! We were then shown how the trick is done. I would tell you but it's a good party trick for us to know ;-)