Day 12 – Hạ Long Bay 🇻🇳

Really early start this morning to catch our bus to Halong City to board our cruise to Halong Bay.

The journey took around 4 hours to reach the port, where we boarded a small boat to take us across to our ship which would be our home for the next 24 hours. From the shore we could already see the limestone peaks of Halong Bay, the scale of it like nothing else we had ever seen, so many tiny islands.  

Once on board we checked into our cabin and then had a 6 course lunch right away, getting to know our fellow ship mates. During lunch the boat sailed out into the bay for around 30 minutes, as we sailed the landscape got more and more impressive. Island after island, for as far as you could see. 

Our first stop was a visit to a large cave… lots of boats stopped here at the same time, so our first impressions of the trip made it feel very touristy especially comparing it to peace and quiet of the Laos caves we visited last week. 

Back on the boat for more sailing, and as the sun began to set, the light was even more beautiful over the bay. We had the chance to kayak here as the sun was going down, the water was warm and still, and we paddled along to some floating fishing huts where we left our canoes and boarded a small boat back to the ship. 

The evening was full of more food, about 8 courses this time including a BBQ (freshly caught squid) , after which we enjoyed some Halong Beer and played Vietnamese wooden puzzles – which we weren’t very good at! 

After dinner we went up on top deck to enjoy the night sky, surprisingly it was still really warm with a calm sea and no wind. All of the other guests and crew went to bed pretty early, so we stayed up and went squid fishing off the front of the ship. The idea is to shine a light into the water from the boat, and dangle a glowing fishing rod hook into the water, slowing moving it up and down. In the dark this should attract the squid to the hook.. our challenge; to catch at least one before we could go to bed.

The only thing that seemed interested was a few tiny fish and flying fish, which flapped around the surface. Unfortunately after a while we gave up on squid… the full moon was really bright, so we are blaming that not our technique. 

Off to bed for a 6am start tomorrow.