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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

SUNRISE OVER HALONG BAY

Written by Jenmodelm

We all waited and waited for the sun to rise over the giant rock mountains. It was nearly 6:30am before the sun peaked over the rocks.It was a glorious magnificent sunrise.

Sunrise from the boat…a lovely sight.
 Breakfast was served shortly after, it was an Early start to the day. I couldn’t wait for coffee.Each got one fried egg and as much dry white toast as we wanted.

After breakfast we had to be checked out of our rooms by 9am so the boat men could get ready for the next tour. We were stopping by the floating village. We were greeted by the sound of blasting techno dance club type music coming from somebody’s shack. It was so odd. We got in groups of four and ladies came in small wooden row boats to take us around the small village of 300 people; the biggest floating village in halong bay. They even had a little floating primary school. Most parents don’t want their children to go to the city to get more education because it costs money and they want them to stay and hell fish.

The wooden houses floated on large ice chest sized styrofoam or big blue plastic tanks the size of a beer keg. Few people smiled or waved. I think there’s mixed feelings of tourists snapping away photos and strolling through their little village. They have to get at least one tour group a day– minimum. It’s low season here I’m Vietnam too. Our tour guide also said some local people are not so thrilled about the tourists visiting and have been doing so for the last sight years now. The people moved from the mainland to the floating villages because there is more fish available out in the open waters, they don’t have to pay taxes and they prefer the lifestyle.

After seeing the floating village we had two and a half hours back to the mainland. While most people took refuge in the shade I relaxed on the Sundeck soaking in the suns rays and view. Even though our boat went very slow and the scenery was similar I enjoyed soaking as much of it in as I could. I was so relaxed I failed to put sunscreen on my tummy.

A local  fishing boat in the bay
Once back on the mainland we had a quick transfer to our ethnic travel van and an hour drive north towards the Chinese border. We would depart from another Fishing port to our next destination. A small long skinny island with essentially no tourists but ourselves.We had seafood lunch on the boat. Always so good.

A local rows a boat in the bay. Many locals still live and work on the water in the bay.
We were able to kayak one more time, although this time much less impressive than the first. There were no large rock formations or caves to go under.Instead it seemed we were kayaking in a big lake. It was strange to think it was still actually the ocean. We went for a quick swim and jumped off the boat being careful not to get stung by any jellyfish.

Kayaking is a great way to get up close.
The boat continued on for another hour and we sat on the roof of the boat watching the sun set. It was glorious. The sun was just a bright orange ball. Like a Japanese sun in Vietnam. It was really stunning.We arrived at the pier and it was nearly dark. Two tuk tuk scooters picked us up to our homestay.

Sunset in the bay left a golden glow. A great reason to do an overnight junk boat.
I was surprised to get my own room. Unlike the homestays in sapa where mattresses are set side by side, our tour guide said that ethnic travel paid for this family’s Home to be extended into.More of a guesthouse. They wouldn’t make any Money for three years to pay off the house,Thereafter they would make money from it. The family is retired, so they seemed happy to be doing it.

Dinner was served at 7 and we helped to make fresh spring rolls with thin rice paper. Afterwards they were fried and ever so fresh and hot. Soo good! I also noticed that our leftover rice from lunch was being dried on the roof of the boat. They used it to make this amazing popcorn- tasting dried rice with corn. Never had anything like it.

After one beer at dinner and a full belly I was sapped. I called bed time at 9. Took a shower and Crashed just a little before 10.

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA would like to recommend  Kayaking Halong Bay tour. Halong Bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin, covers an area of 1500 square km. with more than a thousand limestone peaks soaring from its crystalline emerald water. The calm sea provides an ideal location for sea kayaking as we paddle through a maze of islets amid dramatic natural scenery. With our modern kayaking equipment, we are able to maximize on speed and maneuverability as we explore the open sea and the many hidden lagoons and stalagmite caves that are difficult to access by any other means. After a day of paddling we unwind on our boat and enjoy dinner. This tour offers longer kayaking expedition of Halong Bay. We will paddle amongst islets, visit hidden caves, lagoons, unspoiled beaches, floating fishing village and talk with local fishman. 

Highlights: 




  • Amazing limestone formations
  • Inclusive junk for overnight
  • Beautiful and different kayaking route
  • Support boat all the time
  • All meals included

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