Tuesday, August 28, 2012

31 July: Halong Bay to Hanoi

Slept fantastically on the boat. We both woke up at about 3 to the rain tho - we'd decided to leave our curtains open during the night.

We were up quite early in the morning although there was no real sunrise, it was very overcast in the morning.

After some pastries, but before proper breakfast we went to Sung Sôt Cave. I knew it was big but I really had no idea how huge it was. Absolutely massive, with multiple chambers.

Back on the boat, we freshened up. It was very hot and sweaty in the cave! Then we packed and went for breakfast. Another Vietnamese coffee to finish and then we sat watching the view as we headed back to Halong City.

Halong Bay was absolutely beautiful and really the photographs can't show it sufficiently. The one thing I was quite horrified by tho was the amount of pollution in Halong Bay. We saw plenty of plastic rubbish floating past us while we were on the boat. Very sad :(

We caught our 3hr transfer back to the Eclipse Hotel in Hanoi, left our luggage with them and went out exploring Hanoi some more. We had a look at the Temple of Literature. It's not that interesting and I wouldn't recommend the effort. We also found a shop to buy supplies for our overnight train - quite handy being so well train-traveled this time around, haha.

We were exhausted and our feet were sore so we headed back to the hotel and managed to get a room for an hour so we could shower and cool off in the air-con and rest our feet for a bit. Much needed!

They called us a taxi, which was there pretty much as they hung up the phone. And we were delivered to the train station.

All aboard the SE19 to Hue. We watched the city at night for a while, had some spicy beef instant noodles for dinner (oh, the memories of China!) and then read our books before we switched off our light. Our carriage is 4 berth cabins and filled with mostly French people from what we've heard.

Travel Planning tip: We booked all our sleeper train tickets online before we went with Vietnam Railway.

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