Last week I looked at my calendar in horror as I realised as I have less than three months left of this placement. Out of nowhere, three quarters of my time in Vietnam has slipped away and I have so much more to see. It was time for another adventure, and luckily a few days off work meant it was time for a mini break, so we headed north.
Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for beautiful waters and collection of islands, it was even a filming location for James Bond’s ‘Man with a Golden Gun’ – and whilst Roger Moore’s acting may leave a lot to be desired, the location scouts were obviously a lot better at their jobs.
We booked a boat tour through our hostel (shout-out to Halong Backpacker Hostel – some of the nicest and most helpful staff about) and at 7am the next day we set off for our 6 hour trip.
We knew from the off that the weather wouldn’t be ideal for the bay. The sky was pregnant with clouds and so the visibility was bound to be a problem. We were excited nonetheless.
We piled onto the boat with other tourists from around the world, and headed through the calm waters to our first stop.
Despite the mist the beauty of Ha Long bay was omnipresent, hanging in the air and surrounding us just as the clouds did.
We stopped at three different islands, each for a different activity. The first had stunning caves, in which the stalagmites and stalactites (who knows the difference?) were illuminated in an array of colours.
The second stop was my favourite, as we got to jump into a kayak and explore the waters ourselves. I loved this, as being so exposed to the elements made me feel part of this striking scenery.
We ate lunch on the boat, and I don’t think there is a fresher way to eat seafood than on a boat, delivered from another boat.
The last island we stopped at had a beach to relax at, or if you were feeling a bit more adventurous, you could take the steep marble steps to the top of the island. The mist obscured the full effect of the view, but it was good to get the blood pumping and you definitely felt accomplished after that climb.
The trip cost me a total of 650 VND, which is only just £20, and it was worth every penny. Although I’d love to return when the weather is better, the mist added a specular air to the bay, and I’d recommend anyone to visit Ha Long whatever time of year they find themselves in the North of Vietnam.