We flew into Vietnam from a two day stopover in Hong Kong. Hanoi is the closest major town to Halong Bay, which was our feature destination. We stopped over here for a few days each side of our trip, as do most travelers. Its an interesting place. We stayed in the Old Quarter, a popular tourist area.
After a day and two nights in Hanoi, it was time for our Halong Bay tour. We booked a three day/two night tour with Indochina Junk, which I highly recommend, We were picked up from our hotel at 8am and arrived at the harbour around 12pm. By 1pm we were onboard and on our way, welcome drink in hand….
We chose our tour based on word of mouth, and it was the only tour that included a cave dinner as standard. We are glad we did, it turns out Indochina Junk have exclusive rights to a section of the bay, so the places we visited were less crowded.
This is our boat… the Dragons Pearl II. It was comfortable to sail in, and the staff and food were both excellent.
Dragons Pearl 2
This was our first encounter with a floating house, home to a couple of local fishermen.The local fishermen originally lived in caves on the islands, but not in a sustainable way, so the government helped set up floating houses and villages.
Around 4pm we stopped in a nicely secluded area for a bit of sea kayaking. Pretty much all the tours offer kayaking now, and its a great way to get close to the environment. Most of the kayaks were doubles, and took a bit of practice to get coordinated.
Our guide Sunny took us into a natural sea cave before escorting us on a circumnavigation of one of the islands. Up close you can hear the life in the jungle foliage covering the rocks, which includes many insects, sea eagles, hawks, monkeys and apparently even deer….
After kayaking we had a swim, watched the sunset then we were served a delicious eight course dinner.
The next day after breakfast we moved towards our next destination and it started to rain. Around the islands there are usually one or two sea eagles flying up high. When the rain eased a number of Sea Eagles started hunting fish, coming in low enough to photograph.
Halong Bay Sea Eagle
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