How long to Halong?

Halong Bay has to rank right up there as one of the most beautiful places in the world.  It is a 1,500 sq km area consisting of more than 2,000 limestone and dolomite outcrops (karsts) dotted throughout a calm bay.
It is about 160 km by road from Hanoi to Halong Bay. In Australian road-terms that would be about a two hour trip.
But in Vietnam? Where roads are narrow, traffic is ridiculous and your vehicle is constantly swerving and weaving?
It takes four hours.
Add in a vomiting child (yes, again) and it’s like the road to Hell-long Bay.  However, it’s becoming such a popular tourist destination that I imagine it won’t be long before they put an airport or heliport or something out there just so you don’t have to do the horror-trip.
Luckily it was well-worth the suffering.

We overnighted on a wooden junk (a replica of the ones that plied these waters in the past). You can just see it at the right of this pic. Our route on the first day took us to an island that the junk company owns where we climbed up to a limestone cave and then had time to swim/kayak/laze on the beach.

Then we moved on to the quiet spot where we anchored for the night. On board the junk, there was plenty of space. There was an outdoor eating area, and a sundeck…but it was raining quite a bit of our two days, so we just had to grab our fine moments to laze out there and watch the islands go by.

The junk had five cabins and six crew…but we were the only guests on board. We pretended we were movie stars who had chartered our own boat.

The chef was amazing – there was course after course of delicious Vietnamese food for each meal. At dinner time, the main dishes were accompanied by intricately carved decorations, like this one of the junk itself.

And overnight, we slept soundly in our ensuited cabins.

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