Halong Bay – Vietnam

The sailing trip didn’t get off to the greatest start as apparently our boat was in for repairs as the tide was low?!?!?

Well, it turned out that did not matter, the boat we were on was fabulous and Halong Bay was just as beautiful as all the pictures on the internet. Our pictures on the other hand do not do it justice as the sun didn’t stay out long enough.  The cabins were fabulous, the food was abundant and great, the activities were fun – just the weather that could have been better.

The main highlights, other than the spectacular views, were:

Kayaking – A lovely way to explore the bay and appreciate the views and tranquility.   I swapped partners for the return trip, I am too unfit to be paired with Scarlett!  Laura and I did much better. The only downside was the rubbish floating at points in the bay which apparently comes from the shanty villages (imagine boats, wooden rafts etc roped together and you all have an idea) being damaged in high winds.

Caves – I must admit I was quite vocally against this trip, in my defence all the boats seemed to follow the same itinerary and that meant lots of people were there, add to that the steep set of steps and it wasn’t something I was looking forward to (and we had also seem spectacular caves in South Africa).  Well, the first cave was disappointing and I was all, I told you so, but then we entered the next cave and it was truly stunning.  Well worth the steps!

Pearl Farm – This was a surprisingly interesting visit.  They took us through the farming processing then Scarlett got picked to choose an oyster which they then checked for a pearl.  Well, Scarlett chose well and a pearl was found.  With Vietnam being Scarlett’s birthday location she came away with her pearl and a set of pearl earrings (not bad for a nearly 8 year old). What about you Maria I hear you ask? Nope I got nothing :(.

Food – Xander would say it was 11 courses (he was counting all meals in a day) and lovely.  It might not have been that many but it was lovely and fresh.  The best bit being the self-made fresh spring rolls we all attempted after our mini lesson.