Still thrilled about Sa Pa I stepped into the Friends Travel Vietnam office, a travel agency that helps people with all sorts of transport and tours. Since I wanted to spend a few days at Halong Bay I thought I came to the right place. And I wasn’t wrong. Within minutes I had a few options that I could consider. With the knowledge that a few guys that I met back in Vang Vieng, I decided to contact them first before making a decision. Although I love traveling alone, good company is always welcome!

I met up with Charlie, Freddy and Matt and took them to the travel agency. After some deliberation, Matt would tag along with me and Charlie and Freddy would go on a more party-like cruise.

The next morning we met up again for the bus that would take us to Halong Bay. Once we arrived there, the weather was cloudy but I was still really excited for this trip. And since this was also a 3-day trip, things could always get better!

We were welcomed by the friendly staff on the boat with refreshments and a decent lunch. Quickly after, we went to a really nice viewpoint at Halong Bay. After a lot of steps we reached the top which was packed with people. Luckily we found a spot here and there to take a nice photo.

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Sung Sot Surprise cave

The next day I woke up early to watch the sunrise, but unfortunately it was too cloudy.. This day we had a nice planning. After a decent breakfast we took the boat to the Surprise Cave. Sung Sot Cave is firstly explored by a group of French tourists. Being surprised by the magnificent beauty of the cave, these French tourists named the cave as “Grotte des surprises” – the cave of surprise. And yes, it was a BIG surprise when we entered the cave. It was huge! The colored lights gave a nice effect and it’s crazy to think that nature is capable of creating a cave like this.

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Cat Ba Island

After coming back from the cave we set course to Cat Ba Island, an island where we could relax more and we would spend one night before heading back to Hanoi. Then we hopped on another big boat and the ride was amazing! It was so cool to see thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes and sizes. This is what Halong Bay makes so truly beautiful! Once we arrived at the island we had another great lunch. From that point on we had spare time so we could do what we wanted. Matt and I decided to go out with the canoe and explore the surroundings.

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Off to Ninh Binh

After an amazing time in Halong Bay it was time to head back to Hanoi. We already arranged a night bus that would take us to Ninh Binh, a city famous for the nearby Karst scenery around the village of Tam Coc. The city itself isn’t really that inspiring, but we mostly went here to see Tam Coc and also to take some time since there was a storm coming to Vietnam that would cause flooding in the south.

Stay awesome ♥

— Simon

simonvanacht@gmail.com