Halong Bay Vietnam

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Trip to Halong Bay Northern Vietnam, we booked the trip via a small travel agent in the old quarter of Hanoi. The young lady was most helpful, as they normally are when you are handing over money. She recommended the deluxe package, which included transfer from hotel to the port, boat trip, bamboo boat ride through the caves, lunch and return to hotel. We could have exchange the bamboo boat ride for Kayaking, but decided against this option. My wife does have a good point which will undoubtedly unfold as the tour unwinds. Did all pay for the deluxe tour or did we just get conned to pay more? We did ask a few people on the trip and they did pay the same amount. So it worked out that we were all paying the same cost. But just one to watch when booking your Halong Bay trip.

Monday morning we were picked up at the hotel and spent about one hour picking up other tourist’s. The bus from the outside was good, the seating however, was a difficult. Obviously the bus was made for Vietnamese as the leg room was restricted and was very uncomfortable on a four hour journey to Halong Bay.

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The Lush Green Rice Paddies

We made the customary stop for a restroom break and “you guest it” a look around the gem shop and the workshop making tapestry. All for sale! The toilets were very clean for the number of tours they deal with throughout the day. Back in the bus and off we go again.

The driver starts up the Vietnamese music, we must be near Halong. As we drive through the rural area of Vietnam you do get a feel for the country, the people wading through the paddy fields tending to the plants. The people seating outside their houses chatting and eating the Pao bowls of noodles. I managed to take a few pictures to capture the memories of this journey.

Knowing we have to make the journey back is beginning to play on my mind a little. Oh well let’s enjoy and get on with it and not worry.

At the port/harbor we are given tickets and make our way to the boat. Lunch is served and away we go out to sea. The lunch was good with a variety of Vietnamese dishes and chips! All drinks ordered you have to pay for, so keep that in mind.

The tour guide gives us a brief introduction of the Halong Bay Area and the islands.

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Fighting Cock Islands

Cruising on the ocean, we make our way to our first stop. This is for us the bamboo boat ride. The boats are rowed mainly by ladies, with a few men also rowing. As we approached the first cave the young lady steered the boat through the cave into a lagoon. The age of the rower of our boat was 17, she had been working the boat since she was 8 years of age. The boat ride comes to an end and we hop off and back to the main boat for our next excursion to a cave.

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The cave part of the trip was quite spectacular with color lights eliminating the roof and the rock formations. Just a word of warning, there a number of steps that wind up and down. With parts of way quite steep, this may hinder your progress walking around inside the cave if you have knee or leg problems. So just take your time and care.
Taking in the caves was the best part for me and I managed to click off a few pictures.

DSC_0120DSC_0133DSC_0135Off we get and make our way towards the bus. Then I start to remember the 3 1/2 hour journey back. Still the sun is going down and the rice paddy fields look green and lush. So no worries, just looking forward to a cold one and a nice dinner.

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Conclusion: Trip to Halong Bay Northern Vietnam
Cost $35
Was the trip worth the money? A little rushed for me. The tour guide tried his best, but a lot of what he had to say was lost through his lack of English speaking.
The boat could do with a paint job on the outside. Inside decor was not to bad.
Lunch, was good and plenty.
Bamboo boat ride was good, the young lady worked hard and was steady with the oars.
The cave was excellent, but there were many tourists ad this did hamper progress on the steps.
The main negative is the journey time to Halong Bay, but you do know before you book.

Bob’s Rating out of a 10 = 6

Taken from my web site travelingwithyourcamera.com

All pictures are taken straight out of the camera. As yet no post processing. I am still on the road touring. I will be publishing a ebook from my travels in the Northern part of Vietnam very soon.

Check out my two books for free from Blurb.

http://www.blurb.com/my/ebooks/480389-vietnam-street-photography

http://www.blurb.com/my/ebooks/478858-portraits-of-thailand-street-photography

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