We opted to stay in Ha Long to do the Ha Long Bay Tour, rather than stay in Hanoi and do the 4 hour each way bus journey in one day (which seems to be quite a popular option).
We took a flight to Hai Phong, then a 40km public bus journey to Ha Long. The bus journey cost 60,000 dong for each seat (just under £2) and we had to pay an for an additional seat because of our rucksacks. The bus journey was fairly pleasant, although the bus conducter had used every space possible as a seat, with passengers sitting in the aisles! We were dropped off in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, but there were taxis around and we were only 2km from our hotel. As we left the airport we started talking to a German couple who were taking the same journey as us, and we shared a taxi to our hotels with them to reduce the cost. Ironically our hotels ended up being next door to each other, and we had even considered staying in their hotel!
There isn’t much to do in Ha Long itself, other than the Ha Long Bay boat trip which hotel staff had organised for us to go on the next day. We didn’t venture far from our hotel that evening, as it was freezing cold, something which we definitely haven’t been used too!
Unfortunately the day we were supposed to go to Ha Long Bay, John was unwell with a virus. The hotel staff kindly brought breakfast to our room, and helped me phone the travel company to rearrange the trip for the next day. We both spent the day sleeping and resting as we were both feeling exhausted from all the moving around.
John was feeling a lot better the next day, so we had a very early morning start for our trip to Ha Long Bay. We were picked up from our hotel and dropped at the pier to pick up our boat for the tour. We got chatting to a couple from Barnsley, and also some Australians, who gave us a list of some places to see when we reach there’s we spent the day looking at caves, kayaking and enjoying the scenery. We were also taken to a man made beach for a dip in the sea, however having read they pump raw sewage into the water near there, we opted to stay on the sand rather than in the sea…