Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Contiki Tour: Ha Long Bay and Ha Noi

DAY 7: 14/05

Hue to Ha Noi

We caught an early morning flight from Da Nang to Ha Noi (Vientman's Capital City). We were hit by the incredible heat as we took a bus ride around the city with our new local guide, Sinh. Our first stop was the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where the body of Ho Chi Minh is preserved and displayed. We could immediately feel the presence of military forces and were told by our guide that there were certain government buildings that we were not allowed to take photos of and lines that we were not allowed to cross.

Ryano and Lisa standing behind the yellow line outside the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
We then stopped for lunch at KOTO (Know One, Teach One) which is a non-profit organisation which takes children off the street, teaches them culinary and hospitality skills in the hope of giving them a brighter future.

After lunch it was off to the Temple of Literature, where the first university in Ha Noi was established.


They had amazing topiary of the twelve symbols of the Chinese calender year.
Joy along with her snake symbol
Andrea from Germany and Roxy posing with Harold in front of the golden tortoise.

Joy imitating the Phoenix position
 Chelsea from Australia and Joy trying to absorb knowledge from the 'Well of Heavenly Clarity'

DAY 8: 15/05

Ha Noi to Ha Long Bay

We took an early morning 4 hour bus ride to the harbour at Ha Long Bay where we boarded our Junk Boat for our overnight cruise.


Roxy getting her sea-legs on

Joy stroking the lucky dragon head at the front of the boat

Exploring the cabin on board

                                                        Enjoying the view from the sundeck
Left to Right: Jordy (Canada), Dr Rich (UK), Grace (Australia) and Chris (Australia)

We docked at one of the islands and climbed to the top of the mountain to enjoy the spectacular view of one of the recently proclaimed 7 Natural Wonders of the World.

So many stairs...
Our fellow SA ladies also from EC: Lisa and Justine

                                                                       Enjoying the view

Man love
Although we were posing for our own photies, a group of Chinese tourists were taking sneaky photies of us and we shall now be appearing in a number of family holiday albums! Haha!

After the long hike down, we were in need of a swim. The water was amazing but as we ventured beyond the buoy, we were whistled at to return.

On the beach we took part in a little beach volleyball and some soccer. Such fun but made us realise how unfit we have become.

Later that afternoon we went kayaking amongst the many islands.

Whilst kayaking we decided to abandon our boat and take a little swim around the cave. When we returned to our vessel we were disgusted to discover our hats had been commandeered and our boat filled with sticks and stones. Upon closer investigation we uncovered that the filthy pirates Jack-Attack and Ryano were to blame. Do not fear, later we hunted them down and exacted our revenge (we splashed them a lot).

We enjoyed the most amazing sunset...absolutely breathtaking!!!

That night it was a Pirates and Pyjamas Themed Party on the boat. So it was time to get into character...AAARG!  

Edmund was brave enough to go the whole nine yards and gets his eyes pencilled!
Even Leroy, our mascot, got into the spirit

We had a wild night jamming to some good old tunes courtesy of Grace! After the party got shut down at 12, we headed to the sun deck where we slept beneath the stars.

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