I was so excited to get on that bus that would drive us about 4 hours to Halong Bay. It expected it to be my highlight of the whole vacation. The girl from Ho Chi Minh and more people from her hostel were on the tour as well, we were a nice group of people so I was sure it would be a great couple of days on a boat in the bay.
Due to my past experience with the Mekong Delta tour I was a little anxious how this tour would turn out but believe it or not, we got exactly what we paid for!
We stayed on a really nice boat for about 24 hours, cruised around Halong Bay, visited the Thien Cung Cave (now I’m not so sad about having missed Paradise Cave any more!), saw the biggest floating village in the bay and later stopped for kayaking, swimming and jumping off the top of the boat (5+ metres). We spent the evening chatting and listening to loud music in the disco light of the bar, enjoyed the clear and starry night (I wished I had my tripod for taking a photo of that AMAZING sky…) and got up for the sunrise at about 5am which unfortunately happened behind clouds.
Additionally, we had a great tour guide, explaining us a lot about the history of the bay, Vietnam and the stories of the cave (it got found by accident by a fisher man who escaped his boat from a storm and climed up the stones) and in general was very eager to keep us entertained by singing his favorite American songs and making jokes. He even brought pot to the boat and told us about his experience in prison when he was younger since he once was caught with pot on a boat and had to stay in prison the minimum of 2 years. He shared some stories about the people he shared his big room in prison with and seemed a little surprised that none of us were ever in prison?!
So in conclusion I have to admit that this tour was definitely worth every one of the 51 USD I payed for it and was a great highlight to end my travels in Vietnam. I’ll be boarding my plane back home to Germany in about 5 hours this afternoon and spent the morning trying to visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum, Mausoleum and Palace but no chance. I got there as early as possible right after it opened (7.30am) but the queue was already going through the whole place inside and all the way outside on the street around the corner. I would have to wait at least 2 hours to get in – no way! Therefore I went to the Literature Temple instead, which was smaller than expected but very nice and taken care of.
Time to go home now! 🙂