Sunday, August 13, 2006

Halong Bay trip

Early in the morning, set off for Halong Bay trip, which costs US$30 per pax. 3hrs bus ride to Halong City before we embarked on our boat trip to the Bay. Amazing scenery!

Met a Singaporean couple on the trip. The guy had been travelling for 3months (around China, Tibet, and SouthEast Asia) and he had quit his job before he started his journey. Met a Scotish guy - Steve, who had been travelling for 6 whole months! And he is going to continue his travels till the end of the year. WOW! Anyway, he is going to start his own business - A travel agency in Scotland. Next time when I go Scotland, I'll get free accomodation and tour! If anyone is going to Scotland, drop me a note. I can get him to bring you guys around or recommend places to go (probably at a discounted rate)

Went to visit the caves, stopped for a dip in the water and kayaking. The weather was really good, bright sun for the trip. We were so lucky! The day before, it was raining almost all day long! Sat on the top deck to await for the sunset. Real beautiful!

Just as the sun set, everyone decided to jump into the water! I did as well..after much hesitation. It was fun, almost like committing suicide, only not landing on ground. Swam our way towards the neighbouring boats and back. The water was a little cold and not very clean, but whatever! Overnight stay on the boat.

Did not manage to capture me jumping off the deck. This is me in the water after the jump

Swimming towards the neighbouring boat

Drama unfolded the next day. A lot of people were unhappy with the tour package as it was not as promised to them when they booked through some other agencies. Well the thing in Hanoi is, alot of the tour agencies promise more than what is to be offered. They sell the tours but they do not organise them. Another company does. So some of the people onboard were not happy that they did not go to places as promised. We were supposed to go to a floating market the 2nd day but did not as the boat captain refused the request. A huge argument followed with the boat captain and passengers shouting at each other. It was rather chaotic. The French guy spat on the money he used to pay the boat captain as he was really pissed off with the whole arrangement. The guide was the poorest thing in the whole saga. He had no control over the itinery. He was only following instructions from the company and also had to follow the boat captain's orders. In the end, a complain was lodged with the company and they agreed that they were in the wrong. Steve went to settle the complain and he got a refund of US$6! Damn it, I should have followed him. But overall the trip was alright. Beautiful scenery of the Bay. Word of advice, go for the more reputed agencies. Pay more and you get more and better service.

Surfed the night away. What to do, I love my Internet and MSN chatting. Last night in Hanoi and last night of my 2 weeks getaway :(

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