Halong Bay. The land of calm emerald waters, limestone rocks and beautiful sunsets. And that’s just the start!
Steve and I travelled from Hanoi to Halong Bay, it was a five hour journey by bus – boat – bus – boat, until we arrived at our destination – Monkey Island.
We were super excited for this 2 day/1 night tour as we had heard good things about Halong Bay from fellow backpackers! And we weren’t disappointed! Unlike other Island tours we have done, no other boat or tour group were on our Island, meaning our small group of about 15 were the only group here. Which was good as Monkey Island beach is very small, but pretty! Our group consisted of a couple of others from England, an American woman, one South African woman, one Australia man and a group of Germans. Personally I like doing trips with mixed nationalities as you meet so many interesting people, and end up having friends from all over the world!
First up, food! Everyone was starving! We all sat down on a huge table and were served a feast! We had a buffet of really delicious fish, sweet and sour chicken, rice dishes, salad dishes, beef dishes and more! We all filled our plates, had seconds and there was still plenty left over! Now we were all full up and ready to go we headed out on the boat to our first activity!
Cliff jumping! Scary! We pulled up to this huge limestone rock which we would be jumping from. The height of the rock to the water was roughly 30ft!! Our guide advised us only to climb the rock if we knew we could definately jump as that was the only way back down! I didn’t do this as I couldn’t even jump of the top of the boat, and knew i’d chicken out! (Even though i’ve jumped out of a plane,strange!)
Steve did however, he climbed the top of the rock and was one of the first to jump into the water. He loved it, but said he had to jump straight away before the fear took over. Everyone jumped except the Australian guy. His fear took over and he froze up. After 20 minutes of everyone trying to coax him to jump, the guides finally tried to get him to carefully climb back down the jagged rock. This took a further 20 minutes and by the time he was at the bottom, he still couldn’t jump the last little 2ft into the water as his body was just shaking! (He still did better than me for attempting it though!).
The next adventure on the list was kayaking, everyone paired up and grabbed a kayak. We kayaked past the shacks on the water where families spend their whole lives, and into a huge cove in one of the Islands were Tony (our vietnamese guide) told us the story of how the Islands came about whilst we all sat back and enjoyed a beer.
Our evening was spent enjoying a bbq of chicken, pork, squid, fish, cooked oysters, side dishes and fresh fruit before everyone grabbed a drink and played a few games before sleeping in the dorm on the Island. Tony the vienamese rep was hilarious, as he had no idea what was going on and kept bursting out renditions of ‘we don’t talk anymore’ by Charlie Puth in a super high pitched voice, before disappearing. 5 minutes later we heard his voice singing karaoke!
The following day we woke up around 8am and enjoyed a breakfast of toast, fruit, noodles etc. We had a chilled morning on the Island, played a few games of pool, sat on the beach, went for a swim before a buffet lunch similar to the day before! We left the Island at 12:10 and arrived back in Hanoi at 5pm to get on our nightbus to Hue at 6pm.