Hạ Long, Descending Dragon Bay

After a two-day stop at Huế we boarded the plane again and this time flying to the nation’s capital Hà Nội. This was a first for me because I have never been north of Huế before. I guess for Brandon, Matt, and Sylvie, the entire trip was as an exciting experience with one new city after another. But as a native speaker and an expert of Việt Nam (well, compared to them anyway), I felt pressured to plan and take care of every detail of our excursion. When we got to Hà Nội I was both excited and apprehensive. The northerners have this bad rap of being unfriendly, but luckily we didn’t have any problem during our short stay besides the hard-to-understand accent. (The 3 regions of Southern, Central and Northern Việt Nam sport 3 distinctively different accents.)

Our next adventure was aboard a junk boat in Hạ Long bay! To get there from Hà Nội we had to take a very cramped 3 hour bus ride. The port was super crowded with tourists (Việt Nam has become a very popular destination for Australians) and tour guides trying to lead their group to the respective docked junk boats. We had booked a 2 day, 1 night tour package for all four of us and it included transfer to and from Hà Nội, all meals and private cabin for each couple.

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On the right is our private room (with window opening out to the water!). The main dining room on the left is where we share all our meals (3 per day) with all other passengers.

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Pictures can’t really capture the beauty of the bay

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We got to visit a (really large and well-lit) cave located inside one of the many isles that dotted the bay

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The daredevils jumping off from the side of the boat. It was about 30 ft high!

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The meals we ate on the boat were abundant and adequate in variety, if not in taste

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Matt and Brandon have discovered a very popular game amongst young Vietnamese men called đá cầu, or shuttlecock. Many consider it a sport for there are nationwide, and even international competitions. What is fun is you can see a game in progress on the street and just ask to jump in. The locals were super thrilled to have Matt and Brandon participating.

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While waiting for our bus back to Hà Nội Matt and Brandon killed time with the game shuttlecock

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