I just got back from a trip to Halong Bay. It was pretty foggy throughout our time there (check my photos on Flickr), but even so the place is just amazing. It was remarkable to spend two days on a boat—eating, sleeping, and just sitting up on deck watching the islands drift by. The weather was a perfect, unnoticeable mildness.
The full itinerary: four-hour bus ride from Hanoi, take a tender (small ship) to the big ship, steam over into the bay, disembark to visit a cave, go kayaking, before returning to the ship for dinner and karaoke. All meals and activities were included, although alcohol was not. They charge a little more, being a tourist trap and all, but it’s still about $1 per beer. You can find $0.10 glasses of beer on street stalls.
I Ate Seafood
Of course, seeing as this whole activity is centered on the ocean, much of the food was seafood. So I figured, hey, do what you feel. And the ocean feels like making all kinds of edible creatures. The food overall was very good, with a lot of variety and tons of small courses. I doubt I’ll be seeking out seafood when I’m back, but at the same time I expect I’ll be eating more on the trip (as it is along the coastline, after all).
Tonight marks the official start time of the tour, although it’s all orientation and meeting people. We had 13 people from the tour in Halong Bay, so there are another 15 people to meet still. Tomorrow is the first riding day—a short 20 miles after we fly out of Hanoi to escape the crush of the city. I’m looking forward to getting into the saddle! It looks like I’m pretty squarely in the middle of this group’s skill set. There are some very skilled riders here; we’re talking 25mph max speeds without any kind of gearing. That’s something like a ~230 rpm pedaling cadence.
I probably won’t have Internet access after I leave Hanoi, but I’ll post updates as I can!