startin the boat tour…
“it’s amazing, our seventh day here in hanoi and we’re still walking down little streets and alleys we hadn’t done before… something always new!
we departed from the old quarter on friday the 13th to halong bay, which in vietnamese means, ‘descent of the dragon’ because if you were to fly over the bay, all the islands would look like a dragon…but from the boat it’s hard to tell.
the book actually recommends taking a tour to do halong bay because it’s just too complicated and expensive to do it on your own. so after a day devoted to finding the REAL tourist companies that are listed in the book, we had a better idea on what we wanted.
we settled on a $53 each tour, three days two nights, one night on the boat, the other on the only inhabited island, cat ba. we were tempted to go for a higher priced tour guaranteeing more kayaking and boating, less island, but after all was said and done, we figured it’s all the same bay, so lets save a buck. all tours are ‘all inclusive’ minus drinks.
we left at 8:30am in a short bus with 18 other tourists and our tour guide van whee. as our trip began, our lovable crazy tour guide began his orientation to us in his best english that was very hilarious and slightly frustrating. we did learn some history of hanoi, traffic laws, history of halong and that he called the bathroom the ‘happy room’ cause you always come out happier… usually true.
after 3 hours we arrived at the harbor of halong city. not much to see thus far. plus it’s slightly misty/foggy so our sight could only go so far. but the city itself is highrises, big bridges, not much to see.
we were loaded on our junk (that’s what they call a boat) and off we went!
more about the boar trip later…..”