Wednesday, 19 June 2013


Hanoi is CRAZY. We're in a really nice hotel smack bang in the middle of the old quarter, so as soon as we step outside there's cyclos and motorbikes almost running over our toes as well as street food stalls, shops or coffee shops overflowing every inch of the pavement into the road and temples nestled in between the chaos. We're sorry about the blurry photos, they do give a sense of how bonkers the roads are here though!

^ a rare scene of tranquility in the middle of the city

We signed up for a backpackers tour of Halong Bay but the day before the company called to say that their boat was broken! They offered to either put us on another tour for the same price or refund our deposit, and it turned out the other tour was more expensive and swankier, with awesome extras; we were two very happy backpackers on a swanky floating 3 star hotel! 

We went kayaking too, and as the only teenagers on board we were a bit more energetic than the others and could go off exploring on our own. We found a cave that cut through an island, covered in bright purple crabs and the guide showed us a tunnel we could paddle through into a kind of lagoon, completely surrounded by sheer cliffs, where monkeys were traversing across the rock face or throwing themselves down the cliff to a tree 20 feet down, some with tiny babies clinging on to their fur. 

Halong Bay is truly stunning and there are so many islands that even with hundreds of tourist boats plying the water there was still a sense of complete tranquility for most of our high class cruise. The new cruise included a complimentary glass of wine on the top deck at sunset before our gourmet 4 course dinner! 

^ this is a fish served in a carrot net. we spent 15 minutes (we were a bit tipsy 
which didn't help) with a Dutch couple trying to figure out how on earth they 
do this before giving up and asking the waiter

^ after dinner we went squid fishing, Kat caught the big one!

^ on the second day we went to see a giant cave. 
obnoxious Chinese tourists aside, it was awesome

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