Day 43 - Halong Bay Boat and Cave TripOctober 22, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅
We had another amazing day and another amazing boat trip in the bay!
We slept in late (after staying up late watching bad movies) and headed over to the local mall for the ATM, toiletries, and breakfast/lunch (fast food spicy baked chicken and French fries - yum!). Then we walked the two blocks from the house with our awesome host, Dinh, to the water to meet his friend for the private boat trip.
The 4 of us set off in a wooden fishing boat for a 6 hour boat trip through the bay, exploring several caves along the way. Some of the caves were easy to venture into (some were even used as old navy bases and fish farms). But a couple of the caves were crazy and huge and involved quite a bit of intense rock climbing to get through. On the first steep rock climbing cave, I cut up my leg pretty bad almost immediately and let the boys continue on without me. But by the time we got to the last cave, which was by far the biggest and the hardest to climb, I was able to get through it (not without cutting up my leg a little more!). This last cave was awesome - filled with huge stalagmites and stalactites which were dripping and wearing away at and crystallizing the rocks above and below us. We also saw large columns and holes that went down 20-30 feet, filled with water. From the caves, there were beautiful views of the water and the islands. It was a lot of fun, but pretty intense. The climb down the side of the cave back to the boat was a bit terrifying. At the end of the trip, we were going to go for a swim but decided against it. The jellyfish were crazy today - some of the biggest jellyfish I've ever seen (some over a foot in diameter and some smaller ones that had tentacles that were 1-2 feet long). So we headed back to shore, watching the sunset on the way back.
After showering (and putting on a few bandaids!), we went out for an interesting dinner. Our host recommended a good restaurant on the water, and we had seen the place packed the night before, so we decided to check it out. When we walked in, everyone kind of giggled and looked at us strangely - we've gotten used to that the past couple of days. The neighborhood we are staying in is not touristy at all and we are the only Americans (or even non-Vietnamese people) that we have seen since we left Cat Ba. As the waitress handed us the Vietnamese menu, she laughed a little, because she knew we would have no idea how to read it. Then a lady sat down at our table who spoke a little English. We told her we wanted beef pho soup and spring rolls. We got a beef stew, a giant plate of amazing spicy garlic chili beef with a delicious sauce, and a giant plate of bread rolls. She didn't understand what a bottle of water was, so she brought me a warm beer instead. She also sat with us for most of our meal and kept asking us to stay and drink beers and sing karaoke. We enjoyed the meal, but declined the karaoke invitation!
Another awesome day is in the books. We will be sad to leave tomorrow - Halong Bay (especially Cat Ba Island) has been my favorite place on the trip by far. I can't think of anywhere else in the world like it!Read more