Vietnam - Halong Bay

by - 19:40

We originally booked a hotel to stay on Halong Bay but having taken advice from the hotel in Hanoi, we altered our plans and stayed on a junk boat for one night. And what a great suggestion it was too!

We booked it through the hotel and we were with LaFairy Sails marshaled by Tony who, we found later, could do anything. The group we were with were great apart from two from the UK (putting us Brits to shame!) who refused to join in and socialize. At the end, none of the group even knew their names. Even cracking a smile was hard for them!

There were activities from kayaking (Mrs Mayochup loved it even though she didn't row for half of it), visiting the pearl farm which was interesting, visiting some of the islands and caves and relaxing on the top deck of the boat. All these activities were superbly lead by Tony who told us stories and jokes along the way. We also had a French group with us and it turned out Tony could speak French too.

The only activity they mentioned which was laughable was squid fishing. I thought it was going on a little boat to a spot and seeing what we could catch but no, their version was a putting a multiple hook on the end of a bamboo stick and dangling it from the lower deck of the main boat. After a while of nothing and our group making jokes about the spectacle, we gave up.

Dinner was an array of fresh fish and shellfish with noodles and fresh vegetables. Simple but effective. Afterwards, we were surprised to find out the crew at LaFairy Sails produced a cake for us to celebrate our honeymoon and Tony mustered up a song "happy honey moon moon to you" to the tune of "happy birthday". Inspired.

We also did Tai Chi with him the following morning. As you do.

The next night was spent at the hotel in Halong Bay and it was unremarkable to say the least. Once piece of advice that I can give you is that visit Halong Bay and stay on a boat as that will give you the greatest experience you could ever wish for. There are many companies which offer pretty much the same thing with varying reviews but LaFairy Sails we very competent and enthusiastic. The boat was comfortable and clean.

The other hotels are too far away and the town is too commercialised to really enjoy. As for dinner, there were a couple of confusing restaurants which price their menu by weight rather than the item so you have no idea what you are spending. This coupled with the awkward currency conversion made it impossible to calculate so we walked out and went elsewhere. Another restaurant was serving shark fin soup which I am wholeheartedly against so we didn't eat there either. In the end, we opted for a simpler one and bedded down for the night. The next day was travelling to Ninh Binh which is another story.

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