It was December 2009 and we were feeling restless. It had been seven months since the five of us had last travelled together on a boat in Komodo Island. After that, only half of the group travelled together for mountain climbing but the yearning was for all of us to be on a boat again (do read my other story called Dragon-Spotting). And so we finally decided on Hanoi & Halong Bay in Vietnam in January 2010, and this time we had a total of 9 people in our group.
We did a little bit of sightseeing of Hanoi city as soon as we had checked into our hotel – Hoan Kiem Lake and the Tortoise Tower in the historical centre of the city. The following morning we were off to Halong Bay which is an hour and a half drive from Hanoi.
The moment we reached the jetty and saw our boat, we were deliriously happy! Yes, our boat trip is happening again! (it takes very little for us to get excited, hahah!) We stayed overnight on a junk boat – it had a spacious deck for us to hang out and to enjoy the panoramic views of Halong Bay; the dining room was large enough to fit two small tables, a long table and a bar; and the bedrooms were comfortable.
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the scenery is drop-dead gorgeous with waters are of emerald green colour, limestone mountains and caves. Halfway through the cruise, we stopped by at Dau Go Cave, the biggest limestone cave in Halong Bay with an incredible grotto of stalactites and stalagmites in various shapes and sizes.
One of the unique things we have observed of Halong Bay is the local women selling provisions from a small rowing boat. They would row their small boats to our boat to sell food, biscuits, snacks, beer including vodka bottles! We nicknamed them “the 7-Eleven ladies” 🙂
On our last day in Hanoi, we visited the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a mausoleum (inspired by Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow) which houses the embalmed body of “Uncle Ho” protected by a military honour guard. The mausoleum is huge and overlooks Ba Dinh Square, the site where Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence in 1945.
Although our boat trip was a short trip, just a weekend getaway, it was hilariously fun. Till today, this trip would always be remembered as the trip of delicious & cheap Vietnamese food, karaoke and singing Spice Girls songs on the boat (ok, we were kinda tipsy!), magnificent views of Halong Bay and loads of laughter!
Are you on Pinterest? Pin it for later and do share 🙂