Ha Long Bay

4 hour bus ride from Hanoi via small towns and rice fields. Ha Long Bay city is a bit of a building site and mix of apartments, hotels and casinos – mainly aimed at the numerous Chinese tourists who come in there thousands…normally… Am on an organised tour which I would usually do anything to avoid but in this case it’s the simplest and quickest way to make the return trip from Hanoi spend a night onboard a boat and see the sights. Due to the virus effect there are only 11 of us and 20% of the normal number of boats so worked out a good option. Fellow trekkers (not the Mr Spock type) from France, Slovenia, Oz, US and UK. Two guys doing same as me, one following his fathers footsteps as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam war… do I mean footsteps?

UNESCO World heritage site and you can see why…. a must on any bucket list. Literally thousands of limestone islands, chunks of rock topped with rainforest. Visited huge caves and climbed 425 steps up to a pagoda vantage point giving 360deg views around the bay. Amazing sight… only disappointment was the weather – cold at around 14 deg, damp and very cloudy; gave the island vista a really mystic, surreal, monochromatic feel. Would have been nice to see the sun out and how it changed the view, I imagine the islands would look remarkably different and for sure the water would be shown in all its glistening emerald splendour. However this did not spoil the trip, it really is an amazing place.

Famous ‘cock-fighting’ rocks…

Rock with pagoda viewing platform at the top

Apologies for the number of photos but believe me I have loads more I could have put in!

Back to Hanoi for an overnight stay prior to travelling to Danang and Hoi An. Still time though for some more street food and local beverages…

This time a do-it-yourself version of chicken ‘hot pot’, of course with Vietnamese beer.

My new best mates…especially as they provided the beer!

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