Exploration by Kayak
Bay by kayak was wonderful! The "kayaks" are actually two-person
inflatible rafts that are very stable and perfect for beginners.
Halong is ideal for kayaking as it is well protected from the South
China Sea, remaining as calm as a lake during our three day trip.
the morning and afternoons, breaking only for lunch on our "mothership,"
we were left free to explore the numerous caves, deserted beach
coves and hidden lakes where no larger boats could go. Kayaking
low on the water instead of on a larger boat reminded me of the
difference between being on a bike versus in a van or bus -- of
being in the environment rather than viewing it from an obstrcuted
distance. We also felt like Halong was deserted, seeing very few
tourists and no other kayakers.
tropical beach coves were empty and great for swimming, collecting
sheels or just laying out. After a long day on the water the captain
and his crew served up delicious seafood, cold beer as well as a
few things from home, like french fries. We ate very well.
On the return to Hanoi we stopped on Cat Ba island for a quick walk
around, then caught the high-speed ferry back to Haiphong and explored
this interesting port city for a few hours before departing on the
early evening train back to Hanoi (an interesting chance to ride
a Vietnamese train).
arrived tired but fascinated to be back in a large, bustling city
of land lubbers.
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was only a couple of years ago UNESCO declared Halong Bay a World
Heritage Site, its history goes back over a thousand years. A favorite
base for pirates, Halong provided numerous hidden bays and calm
waters from storms.