So, the next morning we met the rest of the group of eleven (nice small number) for our trip down to Ha Long Bay with a night aboard the good ship Kangaroo. The others in the group were a mixed bunch, an Aussie mother & daughter, a couple of Aussie students, a Kiwi couple, an older couple from Hong Kong plus their son and, of course, ourselves (the Scottish couple on the big trip!)
The boat was lovely, lots of wood, with sun beds out on the top deck, middle deck with dining room/ lounge/ bar and 2 cabins (one of which was ours with a private deck out the back – yee haa!) and the rest of the cabins were down below on the lower deck. It all looked perfect – just one minor issue – it was cold with grey skies!! Wearing all of our clothes we bravely sat out watching the eerie shapes of the limestone Karsts in the Bay . It’s an amazing sight and as we got closer we could see small caves and arches. We landed at one of the small islands that has a 420 steps up to the top for a fantastic viewpoint. Then, the best bit was the kayaking! M & I and a couple of others got down to our “swimmers” and hired big, two man kayaks to paddle our way up close and under one of the arches. Great fun and really spectacular as we paddled into an enclosed bay, so peaceful. A real highlight!
The food was great on board and we ate well – much more than we usually ate but you know how it is in the cold, makes you hungry!
Our shipmates were far from “party animals” and by 9pm we were all tucked up in bed! Might have been something to do with the early start and the cold; at least there was heating in the cabins and we were toasty all night. The next morning after breakfast we landed for a walk through one of the big cave systems. It was a nice flood lit walkway with stalactites and stalagmites and a scalloped ceiling shaped by the sea many years ago.
After a last cruise between the islands (they estimate ~1900 of them) we headed back for Halong City and lunch – well we hadn’t eaten for at least 3 hours! Then, it was the long slow road back to Hanoi.
Martynandsarah (From United Kingdom)