So after THE journey came THE view – Halong Bay. The photos don’t do it justice, and neither do these words.
It was quite misty, which added to the mistery and majesty, but not the photos, sorry. However the water was just as emerald as it says on wikipaedia. We had the most fabulous 24 hours on the cruise ship – yep I’ve done a cruise at last, so be proud of me. I also went on a little boat, and then an even smaller boat – but that is it for me. I chickened out of going on a trip today because it involved another little boat trip and at the time we were supposed to embark, it was trying to break free from its rope the water was so rough – well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Steven went and climbed to the top of one of the islands (400 steps) – I stayed on board and drank coffee, ate Danish pastries and talked to the other sane people that stayed behind.
The trips yesterday were to the floating fishing village and the Fairy cave, although it looked more like a witch to us. The fishing village has been there hundreds of years but in the last few years the Vietnamese government has made them homes on the land, and only about a hundred villagers remain on the water now, which is about 1/3 of the original population. And there cis no internet and they appear very happy!! The children of school age live on the main land at boarding school and come home every couple of weeks.
However they are clearly very talented so watch this – Look no hands
The boat was exquisite – the staff polite, professional and attentive. The cabin very luxurious. As vegetarians (we weren’t the only ones), whilst everyone else had a more than ample buffet, the chef prepared for us 5 course meals that we struggled to finish – I don’t know why we can’t get food like this in the UK.
This area is so unspoilt, but beware there is building work in abundance on the main harbour site, including a theme park, or so it seems. Come back in 5 years and the harbour area won’t be recognisable. It even looks as if they are building on the bigger islands. I hope it doesn’t get ruined.
Back on dry land we resumed proper tourist mode, and visited the site, and shop, where they culture, and sell, pearls. The answer is “yes!”. Back in Hanoi and we went to the “Hanoi Hilton” – the prison that housed the political prisoners when the French colonised Vietnam at the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century and it housed the US prisoners, that named it, from the Vietnam war. The exhibit remind us that there are two sides to every story.
Back at the Lapis Hotel, and an upgrade to a suite – enough room for the kids, shame they aren’t here to enjoy it with us🤣🤣🤣. Off to Hanoi lake, at night, past the brides – I think they follow us around on holiday, although it is International Women’s day to day which may have something to do with the number of weddings today.