41. Serenity Bruises

Today we returned from our two night stay at Ha Long Bay with bruised knees, sore backs and burned red ankles; all the signs that you had a great time. Ha Long Bay is one of the seven wonders of the world and of course completely indescribable – but Im gonna give it a try anyhow.


Originally we wanted to visit this unreal place on our own, but after getting the sales pitch from the staff at our hostel we decided to go on the Castaway tour – the reputed hardcore party trip. It took five long hours to get to the hostel’s private island from the capitol but once you finally arrived you forget all about the slightly uncomfortable travel.

The weather was perfect through out our entire stay (relative to the season), the food was good (all though very repetitive) and the view from the bungalows were to die for. Shortly after our arrival we were fed (we were all absolutely starving at this point) and then there were the activities! On the first day you could go rock climbing on the cliffs enclosing our lovely beach strip, high speed water tubing or wake-boarding – assuming you are too drunk to any of this on the second day. We timidly made our way to the rock climbing and followed the climb of a much braver person than us before we jumped the gun. Without thinking too much about it I put on the gear and started to climb, taking it one step at a time. Most of you probably know that I have no experience climbing what-so-ever so I have never been so proud of myself when I actually managed to reach the top, despite some momentarily difficulties. I was literally shaking with adrenalin long after I returned to the ground and I knew I was hooked – the next day I climbed the other and much harder route and succeeded again. Niamh also attempted to climb the cliff and made it half way before she cut her leg and climbed down again – hence bruised knees. The water tubing was so much fun as well and soon a whole day had gone by. Our parents will be happy to know that we were perfectly responsible and didn’t join in on the drinking and went to bed at a reasonable hour – after all we didn’t go for the partying but for the nature. However, we met some awesome and sweet people there and had an amazing time while staying sober. Even on the second day – the big day with the booze cruise – we were able to enjoy the scenery with our minds’ full capacity. On the booze cruise we also went kayaking among, and under, the impossibly stunning cliffs/islands (we regret the lack of pictures for this part of the trip) and jump of the boat into the sparkling blue water.

After a long shower we feel much more like our selves again and then we went back out on the familiar streets of Hanoi to eat and enjoy cold beverage alongside the locals.


// Louise