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Saturday, 17 July 2010

Day 85: Karsts and kayaks and other things

If we thought that leaving India meant waving goodbye to long journeys...and we definitely did think that we were waving goodbye to long journeys...we were sorely mistaken. And I use the word 'sorely' in the truest sense of the word.

Here Team 365 would like to impart a newly learned bit of travel advice; those of European proportions should not contemplate travelling in any sort of comfort in vehicles designed for tiny Vietnamese folk. Those of, say, Scandinavian proportions should consider a double leg amputation before contemplating fitting into a "sleeper" or "semi-sleeper" vessel.

Anyway. A leg-cramping 22 hours later we had arrived on Cat Ba Island; our chosen gateway to the beautiful 1,553 square kilometers of Karst islets that is Halong Bay.
We secured ourselves a lovely room with a stunning view of the harbour and then arranged ourselves onto a tour that meant we would spend the minimum amount of time in the afore mentioned room. That's how we roll.

As soon as we departed it was clear that this was going to be a very special day indeed. Our boat passed through Lan Ha Bay - a landscape that contrasted the greenest of seas with sheer rock faces that stood precariously balanced on eroded bases. Even above the boat engine the sounds of the many species of wildlife that live there were audible.

We sailed on. Past caves with gravity-defying stalactites and, after stopping for a delicious lunch, onto one of the many desserted white sand beaches dotted around. Apart from the other guests on our boat, we had the place to ourselves - a far cry from some of the nightmare tales we had heard about those who had taken backpacker-tours from hostels in Hanoi.

And so we threw ourselves (and eachother) overboard and explored the mollusc-coated coves until it was time to sail through more stunning scenery, past 'floating villages' and onto the dubiously-named kayak farm. They weren't exactly farming kayaks in the traditional sense of the word but they did let us have one until our arms were sore.

Somehow in and amongst all the sights and sounds a whole day had passed and we were soon back at our hotel; elated, exhausted and extremely satisfied with another wonderful day.

1 comment:

  1. what can I say. Do wish I could see it all. You're very blessed and I am so glad this one was not overrun with tourists !!!!mmmmm