Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Thursday, October 16, 2014


We had a day-tour to Ha Long Bay from Ha Noi which was arranged by a receptionist at our Hostel. At first we thought that the price that he gave (USD 25/person) was so cheap. Later we knew that if we contact the tour operator directly, we could have much cheaper price (USD 20). It made me little bit pissed off since the tour itself picked-up us super late from the Hostel. They said we will be picked up at 8:00 AM. We waited at the hostel lobby when the receptionist was still closed and dark. Minutes passed but there was still no appearance of the bus. After a long waiting, finally the bus came at 09:30.

It took for about 3 hours to get to Ha Long Bay. The bus was cramped with 20 people (or more). When the bus came, it was nearly full. Me and my friends had no opportunity to pick up seat so we were separated. The tour guide was a funny man who had strange intonation when speaking English. But he was good. After a long (and boring) journey, finally we arrived at Ha Long Bay port.

Ha Long Bay port

The boat were quite good. Right after we entered it, the foods were served. It was not really special but we were so hungry after all, since we haven't had our breakfast. So then we ate very gracefully.




Totoro enjoyed sunny day at Ha Long Bay.





Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage which features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various shape and size. Quite the same with Phi Phi islands in Thailand and Raja Ampat in Indonesia. What I remember, there was cat stone, dog stone and fighting cocks stone. Not long after the boat departed from the port, it stopped at Sung Sot Cave. It is a natural cave on a karst hill. Well, to be frank, the cave didn't impressed me. It could be more beautiful and stunning if there was no artificial neon color light. With too much color, the cave looked so artificial. There was one spot with natural lighting though, and it indeed was the very best part of the cave. The view of Ha Long Bay from the top of Sung Sot Cave was beautiful. Little bit disappointed because we didn't spot the iconic traditional boat of Vietnam.






Sung Sot Cave with too many artificial neon color lights.


God's natural light. Much much better.

The second stop was the floating village. We can kayaking there, it was included on the tour price. If you are too lazy to kayaking (because rowing kayak apparently was kinda exhausting) you can use bamboo boat to explore. Off course with additional fee included. Local people in Ha Long Bay used to make a living as fishermen. Now that this place became so popular, hundreds of ships and boats contaminated the water and made most of fish gone. So then local people make a living by renting kayak or boat, and sometimes they sell fruits or drinks to the tourist. It is sad. And yes, the water was so dirty I even saw dead fish floating :(








The floating village.







And so that was it. After kayaking, we went back to the port and were ready to have another 3 hours journey to Ha Noi. Fortunately I became friends with this nice Japanese man who chatted with me along the way to Ha Noi. At first he recognized me because I brought Totoro that I bought earlier in Ha Noi. He was like "Hey, why do you bring Totoro? This is from Japan. And I'm from Tokyo!".  He's a 19 years old student who's on his 10 months journey around the world, alone. It's so cool, remembering when I was his age I didn't wander much. We talked about many things about Japan, Totoro, Ghibli, and Chibi Maruko Chan's friend : Nagasawa-kun the onion head. He showed me the manga of onion head from his Kindle. Too bad it's in Japanese. After all, it's always nice and inspiring to meet someone like that on the trip. I always love to hear their stories about many places and things.


Enjoyed the sun deck on the boat. And hey, accidentally captured the Japanese man!

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