Ha Long Bay - Boat trip, Monkey Island
After returning to Hanoi Backpackers where I was able to lock up my big bags and take a smaller bag to trek with for Sapa, I switched gear, and headed over to Ha Long Bay on a boat trip. I was impressed with the service and security I got from Hanoi Backpackers making travelling around the area a lot easier.
I had originally wanted to just book a bus, boat ticket in order to get to one of the islands in Ha Long Bay, but it was on a weekend and I was told I would have a really hard time trying to find accommodation, thus I decided to book a boat trip where all was included, meals, transport and everything.
Again, lucked out with a very fun group, which is never hard to find when you are backpacking with a whole bunch of fellow free spirited nature lovers!
We enjoyed sailing around the islands, rented kayaks and soaked up endless amounts of sun! Spent the first night on the boat, after an endless amount of food being dished to us, and celebrated one of the girl’s birthday.
The next day we made our way to Cat Ba Island, and stayed on Monkey Beach. It was on the mainland on our way over on the boat where I seen the Amazing Race pole that I got super excited about, I hope this was one of their destinations, there were envelopes in the box, I just can’t be sure if it’s the real amazing race, or if Vietnam has it’s own little thing going. After all, there are tons of doubles, copies and fakes all over Vietnam.
In saying that, I mean, you have to be careful in Vietnam about hotel names, restaurants and shops alike because if one business is successful, 10 others will copy the name to trick people into going there, so if you have a booking be sure to go to the correct address!
Once arriving to Monkey beach (last photo above), we were escorted to some swanky beach bungalows, equipped with electricity, and an air conditioner! (which didn’t work, but pretty sweet if it did) As well as a shwackload of cockroaches!
The beach itself was definitely not swim-able because a typhoon had hit a few days prior, stirring up a lot of the junk in the ocean. We did indeed have amazing weather the entire 3 days though!
The food was incredible, and the group dynamic was a ton of fun, played some new card games and met some interesting people.
All in all, I would say Ha Long Bay is very pretty to look at, but far too many people on a beach for my liking, and only tours going around, so not a lot of freedom to do and go as you wish. It was very well organized but too much planning is never my thing, we were on a constant itinerary. The upside is that I didn’t have to plan anything and got to go with the flow, which is always a complete change in pace to having to always plan the next move. (Just not as exciting)
The 3 days, 2 night trip cost around $80 CDN for everything, food transport, accommodation, activities, all included. Drinks not included.