The squid weren’t willing to bite last night so we only had eggs for breakfast this morning. But with waking up in the middle of a beautiful part of Ha Long Bay any breakfast would have been just fine. After breakfast our happy and most funny guide Duc, without K with K is good for bbq and me not good for bbq, informs us about today’s activities. We start of with a stop at Ti Top rock, this small island offers a great view of the bay and is named a Russian astronaut. Russia and Vietnam are good fiends as both are communist countries although Vietnam has a capitalist economy there is still only one party, the communist party. The main cause for the switch to capitalism was the fact that the communist system didn’t motivate farmers to farm which let to food shortage which let to hunger which let to unhappy people which let to capitalism. (History in a nutshell, thank you Duc) The view indeed is amazing and worth the 362 steps it took to get to the viewing point.
Once descended from the 362 steps we receive a towel and run straight in to the sea to cool down. We actually it was more tiptoeing and hesitating as its still winter and the water wasn’t at a temperature that we where comfortable with but eventually we pulled through. After some chilling on the beach we returned to the boat for a wam shower and settled on the top deck to enjoy the most beautiful part of Ha Long Bay. The bay was formed by the movement of the tectonic plates many many years ago, the collision between the plates have created a giant maze of impressive rock formations rising from the water. The location has been used as decor for movies such as King Kong and Tomorrow never dies. With lots of oh’s and ah’s and camera clicks we sail through these wonders of nature, at the end we come to the point where May, Clarkson and Hammond finished their Top Gear trip through Vietnam and it looked even more beautiful in real.
Before we step of the boat we are treated to another splendid lunch with endless variety of dishes coming from the the small kitchen in the stern of the ship. The biggest part of the 4 hour bus ride back to Hanoi we spend sleeping or reading, three books in one week confirmed the holiday mode. Duc delivers us to the doorstep of our hotel and as our arrangements for our next trip have already been made we go into town for a few drinks to kill time. We meet up with Menno, the little brother of one of our friends who is traveling Asia for four months. We eat and drink and get back to our hotel in time for the taxi that will bring us to the train station. Yes indeed train station. We have booked a nighttrain to Hue from where we’ll continue our journey south.
As some of the members of the group to Ha Long Bay had shared some experiences of traveling by train we had some doubts whether we had taken the right decision. Their stories were about sleepless nights and cockroaches crawling around by the dozen. Somewhat hesitant we enter the station and walk towards our carriage, when entering our cabin it becomes clear that no cockroach will be there as it’s almost below zero and any cockroach must have frozen to death. Our supervisor quickly flicks a switch and the cabin is filled with warm air. We settle down, stow away our backpacks, open a beer and relax.