This morning was the first morning of my life that I woke up on a BOAT…and not just any boat…a boat in Halong Bay!! I woke up at the crack of dawn to do Thai Chi on the top deck. It was so so magical!! Sunrise thai chi on the roof of a boat in Halong Bay!!! I can’t even believe it reading that back.
After enjoying the early light, we had breakfast on the boat before getting ready to explore a few local caves. We boarded the dinghy and headed off to a little cove where we had a short hike before entering the first cave. Our guide explained that there are numerous caves all along Halong Bay, but this one in particular was discovered by a French soldier during the French’s colonization. He explained that there is a little slit in the rocks that the soldier found that led him to an even bigger cavern. Now, since it is used mainly for tourism, there are tiny stairs carved into the floor that make it easier to traverse back and forth. The original hole in the rocks is still there.
Our guide led us through the caves pointing out numerous rock formations that looked like various animals. It got to the point where all I could see were rock clusters. Maybe I’ve lost my imagination. All I could think about during our time in the caves was how could people possibly explore these caves with limited to no electricity! That would have given me the spooks!! However the fun didn’t stop there, when we emerged from the other side of the cave, we were greeted with some absolutely amazing views. I’ll stop blabbing in with useless adjectives when you can see for yourself in these photos:
We made our way back to our dinghy, which took us back to our main boat. On our journey back the the main land, we had one last delicious meal on the boat. From there we had a two hour bus ride back to Hanoi. Before leaving Ha Long, we stopped by a local pearl museum/factory. Halong Bay has the perfect conditions for oysters and growing pearls, so that region produces thousands of gorgeous pearls!
Back in Hanoi, we had dinner before boarding onto our night train to Huê. For those of you who are looking into traveling around SE Asia, I can easily say the Vietnamese night train was a much nicer experience than our first night train (don’t get me wrong, I loved our first night train…this was just a little bit more manageable). For starters, we had cabins rather than regular train cars. This was nice, because we could close ourselves in and assure all of our luggage was protected. We were cracking up because just as we were about to go to bed we noticed our door didn’t lock properly. So anytime we hit a major bump the door would fly open and light would poor in. Us four independent women engineered a makeshift contraption out of hair ties and carabiners to keep the door closed. I wish I had a photo!! Haha
And with that, we all went to bed! I don’t know what it is about sleeping on a train, but I find the whole concept very amusing. I think my night on the Thai night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, was one of my best night sleeps. Both night train experiences I won’t soon forget…but more from Huê tomorrow!!