Last Leg of Travel (for now!):
Soph and I headed to Halong Bay after our tour of Sapa. I hadn't really done much research for this part of the journey to be honest - I'd basically just google searched some images... But Halong did not disappoint.
We decided to go for a pre paid tour again as Sapa was a success and nice and easy - I would recommend doing this for any place you want to visit for only a few days, especially if you are in the mood to be a proper cheesy tourist.
Halong Bay was spectacular. It looked like the set for Pirates of the Caribbean but with those big floating rocks in Avatar (sorry to use film references to describe - it's a bit of a cop out I know!). Even in the mist and the drizzle the scenery was breathtaking. VERY epic film style.
The photos really don't do it justice.
Our first night was spent on 'Monkey Cruise'. Where we had our own little cabin, with a lovely big window right at water level. We had plenty of time to chat with the other travellers on board and enjoy a 'Halong Beer' or two before out first stop.
Our fellow travellers were a really good bunch, including some proper northern lads who were very funny (and very rude) right from the word go. Male banter and clowning around was just what Sophie and I needed I think.
Our tour guide, 'Smokey', also really appreciated all the buffoonery and unlike the more sedate groups of wrinkles walking around enjoying the beautiful caves sensibly, Smokey had us all trying to find the best 'mans weapon' amongst the stalactites and stalagmites...The winner got 5 beers.
We then had the chance to kayak around the islands. An absolute must for Halong. Although within 30 seconds of getting into the water Sophie and I got in the path of an oncoming boat and got trapped under it's bow... We were screaming and laughing so much...!
The silliness of course continued into the evening with everyone on board singing karaoke and dancing around to old 90s pop music. By 11pm the cabin crew were all joining in and clowning around with us. One of the younger guys ended up getting out his traditional Vietnamese flute and playing along to the pounding dance music.... A totally un-English and hilarious evening - I couldn't do it regularly but it was certainly different and really fun.
The next day we were taken to a little beach island where we stayed the night in a tiny little thatched beach bungalow. Very romantic, and again a beautiful secluded spot.
I even got to hand feed some local wild beach monkeys!