Hanoi to Ha Long Bay to Hanoi Part Two

Yesterday I had to wake up super early (okay 7am) to take a four hour bus ride to Ha Long Bay, and boy was it worth it! I met some really cool people on my bus (one of them had been at the same bar I was at a few days ago, the other side of the country!) and the time flew by. I also got to see some rural Vietnamese country side.

The picture quality looks stormy, but it really wasn’t – clear skies and not too windy. Moving bus + window + camera housing = dark and murky photos.

I didn’t manage to capture the women working in the fields, but I saw quite a few during the journey.

Upon arriving, we got onto a big tour boat, ate a delicious seafood lunch and set sail around Ha Long Bay. I took lots of photos! And also I’ve been told off for not taking enough photos of myself, so here are a few. My face just isn’t that interesting compared to all the scenery!

After cruising around for about 30 minutes, we docked at a floating village and I went kayaking for the first time! I’m pretty sure the lad behind me put 0 effort in, because my arms were burning pretty sharpish. We were kayaking around the islands for 45 minutes. A good work out, especially as it was a bit windy.

After kayaking, we got back on the boat to set sail again, docking onto an island to visit a cave that was lit up all crazy with red, blue, green and yellow lights. Unfortunately it looked more like a place to rave with the multi-coloured lights, but I managed to get one photo which captured the essence of the place. It’s one of my favourite photos of the trip so far.

And here is a terrible selfie, upon exiting the caves.

Afterwards I went out for dinner with a chap from the boat tour, then back to the hostel to finish up yesterday’s blog and a much needed early night. I slept so well, it was absolutely delightful!

Today I tried to buy tickets for a water puppet show, but unfortunately it had sold out. I wandered across town to see Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, and got shouted at by one of the guards – I got too close apparently!

Today was cold & windy – proper jumper weather 😦

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Walking back to my hostel, I saw a lady making the most amazing looking noodle soup. At 20,000 dong a bowl, this is about 70p! You have to sit on little seats at the side of the street. While I was dropping my bag off, I saw the Dutch chap Daniel who is bunking above me so I invited him out for lunch. We’ve barely seen each other, despite living in the same room for three days, so it was nice to get to know him.

Afterwards I showed him that awesome little coffee shop, which you can only access by walking through a shop, then through a courtyard and up three flights of stairs and has the amazing view of the lake. Vietnam is famous for its egg coffee, I went for an egg hot chocolate instead. SO LUSH!

My time in Vietnam has ended. I finished it off by having dinner with two of my other dorm-roomies; pictured below is not someone’s back room, but in fact the restaurant. Cat included!

I felt so blurgh when I arrived in Hanoi, but I had no need to. I just needed some sleep and get my bearings in a new city. Tomorrow I fly to Laos, where the wifi is questionable. I’m excited for Laos; once I get to Vang Vieng in a couple of day’s time, I’ll be tubing down the Mekong, exploring some caves and lagoons, and hopefully doing a bit of kayaking while I’m at it.

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