Before I insert too many pictures, I want to fore-front this post by saying that if you are travelling to Ha Noi/Ha Long Bay and are interested in doing a boat cruise among the islands, you do not need to worry about booking super far in advance. I booked in advance through my hostel, but when I got to Vietnam, I learned it was very easy to go to one of the many travel agencies in the city and book day before (or even morning of, as one of the people at my hostel did). For those more price-conscious, it can also be a cheaper comparing prices at different travel boutiques in the city, or even travelling to your chosen destination first and then finding a tour package upon arrival.
|Leaving the harbour!|
|Among the islands|
|One Happy Camper, a Vietnamese Flag and some Islands.|
|Nous parlons français (^.^)|
I love meeting other travellers and hearing about where they've been or where they are going. My cruise group consisted mainly of Europeans with people representing the UK, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany and then Argentina and Canada. And while the common language was mostly English, there were overlaps in language. A group of us spoke French most of the trip and I'm happy to report that while I am often mistaken for an American when speaking English, I am always correctly identified as Canadian when speaking French.
One of my new friends preferred to take pictures of the islands sans bâteau, but I find the boats add perspective and depth to the scenery. Even the tour boats look lovely amid the jagged points.
|From a cave lookout. I think this was one of my favourite views of the trip.|
Our first day, one of our activities was kayaking around these rugged giants. We struggled a bit against the wind and waves that pushed us toward the rocky walls. The kayaks are so small in comparison, no match for these massive islands, and yet they can slide quickly through and around the rocks. I liked being able to explore away from our tour boat, too.
|Where we boarded the kayaks (and then put down anchor for night time).|
|Out on the water.|
The island is known for its beautiful beach...
|Here is my commercial for Fanta.|
On our way back to our hotel on Cát Bà, our boat took us through the largest fishing village in Ha Long Bay. Home to 3000 people, these fishermen live right on the water. I cannot say that I'm jealous, but I definitely respect their hard work and perseverance. Props.
|The Fishing Village near Cát Bà Island|
|A closer shot of the houses in the fishing village|
Love and Hugs.
P.S. Let the record show that I caught Pokemon on Cát Bà.