Posted by: Bert and Tania | February 3, 2010

Halong Bay & Journey to Laos

On 28th Jan we took a three day tour of Halong Bay, a bay containing more than 3000 islands which were apparently created by a dragon which lives in the mountains. Because we were on a tour we met quite a few other travellers including some American students, a French guy who’d lived in London and a French-Canadian teacher called Eric. Conversation was fuelled by various bottle of cheap local wines and spirits.

Halong Bay is incredible – the sheer rock faces with vegetation rising up out of the sea are amazing but we didn’t get the best weather. We explored floating fish markets, a school, water caves and kayaked around the bay, staying overnight in the boat on the first night and in a hotel on Catba Island on the second night. Us tourists struggled a bit with the muddy and steep 2hr climb to a rusty and dodgy viewing tower on top of one of the hills on Catba Island.

On the way back we were late for our bus to Laos and had to get motorbikes to take us to the bus station – we just made it. We then settled in to the 20 hour journey to Vientiane, the captial of Laos. I say ‘settled’ but for Bert it was more like physical torture thanks to the tiny bedseat he had to contort himself into. And Tania endured the mental torture of a group of over excited and aggressive English and Dutch students who lacked any patience with any of the locals who tried to get on the bus. Our 4hr journey from Halong Bay and 20hr bus to Vientiane were immediately followed by 11hrs to Luang Prabang, arriving knackered on 1st Feb. Our border crossing into Laos was confusing but fine, although we were given about $40 american counterfeit money by the official exchange bureau. Nice.

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