Caves, Kayaking and Oysters in Halong Bay, Vietnam – The Smug Monday Series Ep. 16

 

When I walked down stairs this morning and found the McAndersons eating breakfast it took me a couple of seconds to remember that they had arrived in Vietnam yesterday. But soon we were chatting away merrily and once brekky was finished we hopped on a bus to Halong Bay playing Top Trumps, Fish off and Connect 4 . The scenery was amazing, green seas of paddy fields , the worlds brownest rivers and huge ugly concrete villages. When we pulled up to what looked like the poshest boat I’d ever seen I thought we had ran out of petrol, but when we were told to get on the boat I was blown away and thought it was just a cruel joke but I got on anyway and once every one was aboard we set sail with the sails rolled up on the deck and so the adventure began.

Now if there was one thing I’d say about the boat it would be it’s slower than me pulling my self up a zip line at the Gibbon Experience. The moment we stepped onto the boat we were ushered up stairs to have complimentary wine and lunch.  Megan and Fraser discover 7up and the opportunity to eat oysters. We then headed down stairs to our rooms where we had tv, plug-in torches and safety hammers which Evan promptly whacked me with. A guy then appeared at our door saying that we had now reached the floating village so we shoved on life jackets and prepared to disembark.

Tied to the back of the boat was another, smaller, boat. We rode this to a collection of platforms made of fish farms with small houses made of wood planks perched precariously on top. There we found loads of coracles ready to ferry tourists who couldn’t be bothered to kayak their lazy arses around themselves. We chose to kayak our lazy arses round ourselves. It was awesome. You could see right to the bottom of the bay were there were loads of interestingly shaped corals and rocks. Oh and there were jellyfish, boy were there jellyfish. Some of them were as big as my hand!!! The mountains were awesome. Huge stalagmites worn into shape over 1000000s of years and covered in dense jungle too! So after that we headed back to the boat for some squid fishing.

That night we squid fished. Sadly we didn’t catch any thing except half a fish that had had an accident with a propellor. So when we woke up this morning and were again asked to get on the small boat to go to the one and only Halong Bay pearl farm. There we saw loads of ropes suspended in the water and when I yanked on some I found 3-10 oysters hanging from it and was told that to get a pearl you had to put a dead oysters pearl inside a alive oyster with some dead oyster in it too and then leave them for 6 years before the pearl was big enough and then only 10% of the pearls are not spat out so I estimate 20 oysters die for one pearl, crazy or what? Anyway we then exited through the gift shop and off to a beach.

Once the boat got to its next destination me, Evan and Megan all hopped in a two-man kayak and paddled through caves, lakes and lagoons laughing, yelling, crashing and generally mucking about. This intricate series of lagoons and lakes was very close to the sea so looming in the entrance there was a huge container ship off-loading its contents to a smaller ship to be taken to ha long city which I think kind of ruined the tranquility of Halong Bay for me. But over all I think Halong was beautiful yet polluted and way too crowded (550 boats go to Halong Bay and 220 stay overnight) and another thing, the government moved locals who had lived in Halong Bay their whole lives with there own culture and language to the city because they were polluting and the tourist boats totally don’t pollute more.

 

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