Day 10: Ha Long Bay

I woke up early and had a look outside… It appeared very gloomy. I was feeling pretty certain that we would not be able to go out onto the bay today. With my disappointment, I returned to bed. Nearly two hours later, it was time to get up and see what the day would bring. My casual morning soon became hectic when a phone call from James said that everyone else was downstairs waiting for us! Stuffing everything to our bags, we made a fast exit and got onto the coach. We were informed that our cruise in Ha Long bay was going ahead as the government had re-opened the bay! Yes!!!!!

Our little junk boat motored out of the dock towards some of the 1500+ limestone rock formations that Ha Long Bay is beautifully famous for.  It was breathtaking. 

Our boat docked at the island pictured above and we climbed up these uneven rock staircases and into the limestone caves. 

The Vietnamese didn't realise that these caves were here until they noticed monkeys entering/exiting from one particular area. On closer inspection, there were these magnificent caves just below the surface.

The humidity in the caves was astronomical!! But they were so beautiful and worth sweating for. This cave in particular is known as a dead cave as the stalactites are no longer growing (as stated by scientists). All the ‘alive’ caves are not for human visitation as they are delicate Eco-systems that they don't want to damage. 

We cruised around the cave island and through many other islands to where we were going to kayak. So beautiful!! Even ted (and his friends enjoyed it) Haha. 

It was highly recommended that only waterproof cameras should be taken kayaking as it can get damp.. No one has fallen in on a kayak trip this far!. We paired up, grabbed a life jacket.. That was difficult as many of the clips were broken. Hopped in our kayak and off we paddled! Emma and I were one of the last pairs in the water. We followed Quarn and Irvin in their kayak and went through a couple of elcoves. Breathtaking! I was able to take a few photos using my waterproof camera but the batteries died after 4 shots! Before turning back, it started to rain lightly and it was very refreshing as it was getting very muggy. Within minutes, it was bucketing down. Back on the junk boat we dried off and just had a cruise around some more of the islands.

Our seafood lunch was very filling and much needed-seeing as though Emma and I missed breakfast. We docked and hopped back onto the coach. 3.5hrs later we arrived back in Hanoi. 

Stopped at the Temple of Literature. Built in 1070, it was the first university in Vietnam. It is one of several temples in Vietnam dedicated to Confucius and scholars (as represented by the turtles)

Emma and I got to our hotel room… It's a king sized bed! We laughed that we will have to spoon tonight! Haha. 

It was our last night to get all dressed up and go out for dinner. It was the first time I've been able to stand under a shower head without crouching down! Exciting stuff!

Our dinner at Green Mongo was rather pricey in comparison to other family dinners! The menu was very extensive. I was going to eat Vietnamese as my last meal but the gnocchi sounded even better- and tasted spectacularly!! It was a great night of swapping holiday stories and having a good laugh. Kate surprised us with certificates for each member of the tour. We were then told to write on the back of everyone's.. Some of the comments were lovely!!

We headed to ‘Hair of the dog’ bar to have a few casual beverages. I ordered a Long Island iced tea. Little did I know, it was a party bucket. Only cost me $12 AUD. Bargain! Soon after finishing my bucket, a lot of people decided to head back to the hotel. I joined as I needed to confirm my flights and to pack everything. Toneya and I figured out that we are on the same flight to Sydney! I found it difficult to sleep. It's really hard saying good bye.