Our day started off at seven in the morning because we had to be at the pickup point by eight and it was a 15-minute walk away. We packed up our day pack with water, sunscreen, and some snacks and headed to the pickup point. After we got on the bus, we had a three-hour drive ahead of us to get to the Bay. Halfway through, we stopped at a rest stop for snacks, drinks, and the bathroom. After a 20 minute break from the bus, we all piled back on and continued the rest of the way. For the first half of the bus ride, most of the bus was sleeping including Haley and me, but for the second half, we decided to talk and try to make some friends. We sparked up a conversation with the guy sitting across from us who was from Scottland. We talked most of the way to the Bay and continued to hang out during the tour. He is a nurse in Scottland but wants to move to Australia eventually. His partner is in finances and didn’t travel with him because he doesn’t like to travel. William didn’t seem to mind that he had to come on the trip alone, but Haley and I couldn’t believe he didn’t like to travel. I guess with texting and calling it is really easy to stay in touch with people back home and from doing long distance for a while we know its definitely doable for a couple weeks.
Once we finally got to Halong Bay, we boarded our tour boat and immediately had lunch which was stir-fried veggies and chicken, french fries, grilled fish, and watermelon. After lunch, we were allowed to wander to the top deck of the boat if we wanted to. Haley and I were the first ones up there because we wanted to see the beautiful bay. Halong Bay is famous because of its gorgeous teal blue water and the limestone islands jutting out of the water. Every way you looked there were dozens of tiny islands dotting the skyline. It was incredible. After cruising around the bay for a while, we turned into a cove and got the chance to kayak around. We were able to go around the cove we were in and through two tunnels that spat you out into the center of one of the limestone islands with two hundred foot cliffs surrounding us on all sides. The kayaking was only about a 45-minute excursion but it was our favorite part of the day. After the kayaking, we got back on our boat and headed to a giant cave called Heaven Cave. We wandered around the cave as our tour guide pointed out natural rock sculptures that looked like Santa, a lion, a married couple and several others. They were surprisingly accurate and easy to see. After Heaven Cave, we headed to another less popular and much larger cave nearby. It was empty except for our tour group which was really cool but it didn’t have any natural carvings. After the two caves, we got back on the boat and headed back to the harbor. The time on the Bay was kind of short, only like three or four hours on the water but we enjoyed every second of it!
We got back on the bus and started our three-hour drive back to Hanoi. We talked with William some more and realized that we were going to SaPa the same day. Then, we also realized that we were going to be in Chaing Mai at the same time. So, we made plans to meet up and hang out one night while we were there. After a long bus ride back, we got dropped off at around eight at night and because Hanoi shuts down early there was almost nothing open, so sadly we opted to get McDonald’s on the walk back to the hotel and called it a night. Tomorrow was going to be even earlier because the bus ride to SaPa was going to take six hours.