Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hanoi/Halong Bay

The drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay took 3 and a half hours. When we got there around noon we realised we were in no hurry because our cruise would not start till 2pm. Our 4-hour boat trip started with lunch being served on board when it was moored at the pier. How lame. It's not like they had to get food from the shore as everything was prepared on board. Anyhow there must have been about 50 or 60 boats at the pier all doing the same thing and they all left at the same time at 2pm. Not a good sign.

Our first destination: Thien Cung Cave. The bay was packed full of junk boats and docking was an experience. Basically our boat just kept on bumping off other boats by crashing into them in order to get to shore. We liked the captain's style.

A Kodak moment inside the cave.

Unfortunately the rest of the cave was lit up with tacky neon colors.

And there must have been like 10,000 people in there shuffling at all times. It was getting hot and smelly.

The second cave Dau Go. There's some history about one of Vietnam's famous General using the cave to fight invading Mongol army. I didn't care much at that point.

We were happy to be back on the boat away from the crowd and sun. The second part of our cruise was rather peaceful. The scenery was also getting more interesting definitely.

Halong Bay's famous exotic rock formations.

Local fisherman.

The Fighting Chicken Rock. We were like, okay....which one is the chicken again? Can't believe they put it down as a sight. Mind you at least we got to have an enjoyable cruise en route to the rock so we weren't complaining.

Perhaps the 2-day+ trips would be more interesting as you get to kayak and swim in quieter parts of Halong Bay. Still I think it's pretty crowded as there are hundreds of those junk boats going around. My verdict: overrated.

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