We arrived to Halong Bay after driving from the station in Hanoi. The place was not as expected at all, the beach was none existent and had a large theme park being built on it. It seemed they were turning this place into a mega tourist trap.
We checked into the hotel and got ready for the boat trip to the bay. We were taken by coach for around 10 minutes to the pier and then finally boarded our boat.
The boat was huge and as there were only 12 people on our small group seemed mad that we needed such a big boat. The other group who were on the same G Adventures tour as up also had their own boat. This was something that we all picked up on and felt it was so stupid our two groups to be on 2 boats. Considering the poverty in the country, a lot of money could be saved including fuel if we all shared one boat. Anyway, rant over.
We set sail and were brought lots of different things to eat including whole fish, prawns, squid, noodles and rice and also chips (random!). We were promised by our guide an amazing 3 course meal, but I would hardly call it that. The fruit salad for dessert was a slice of watermelon each!
We then headed to the top deck to check out the views and take a billion and one photos! The day was gloomy and dull which was a shame but we all remained in positive spirits.
We then were taken to a cave which again was a bit overrated and a complete tourist trap. They had even pumped water into the cave and tried to pretend it was natural. If I am completely honest the whole cave felt fake and all of us were baffled as to if it was real!!
We then headed back to the boat and some people had opted to do some kayaking, but most of us chose to stay on the boat where we all did some colouring in from my colouring in book!!
We headed back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. The group were told to meet at 7.30 for dinner but we didn’t think we needed 2 hours to get ready so we decided to meet earlier. We were warned that there was not many places to go for dinner and this certainly was the case. Its crazy that a place that one day hopes to be a huge tourist destination with a massive theme park literally has no where to eat. We ended up at some restaurant and the food was gross with no flavour!
The next day we left Halong Bay super early. I am in 2 minds as to whether I would return to Halong Bay. Part of me wants to come back when the weather is guaranteed to be nice and see Halong Bay in the sunshine just like the pictures in the guide books. However another part of me thinks that I will be even more upset as to how spoilt the beach is…….