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Halong Bay

VIETNAM | Saturday, 1 December 2007 | Views [663]

The place is amazing - but the organisation and tourists aren't.  Most people 'book' their Halong Bay tour from Hanoi, and are pushed onto a (full) bus the next morning with lots of other sweaty tourists - the first stop is a massive hall, encompassing local foods, local jewellery and art - local painting with laquer and local tapestry... You never hear about these little stopovers until they actually happen. But anyway! made it to Halong Bay and chaos reigned, as the group is immediately split up seemingly randomly and shuffled onto identical looking barges (not identical to the one shown in the tour package brochure...) But anyway. so you've got the picture - in the habour, masses of tourists, many many boats. It's only half an hour out to the islands, where we're bustled off the boat for a compulsory cave trip, which was nice, but way long. (am i sounding negative?) And then finally, the boat got going, but not very far, just to another little spot where they keep the kayaks. We paddled til it was dark, and waited for the slow poms to return. The scenery is brilliant, by the way. The morning came and we cruised back to harbour a different way, and onto shore, where we were again split randomly and sent to different places for lunch - weird. 

If I was to do it again, I'd look into finding a tour company (or just a local bloke) that would make a trip out away from all the others, to do our own thing for an afternoon, zipping around amongst the 3000 or so limestone islands... sounds better, huh?

Tags: The Great Outdoors



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