Travel Diary: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – Part Two

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Ok so if you haven’t read my previous post I suggest reading that before reading this because as the title suggests, this post is just the second half of the story. So that said, I guess I’ll jump straight back into it.

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Outside our cabin door 🙂

Once back on the boat we headed upstairs to the table we were sitting at previously and found that all of our drinks that we had left there had fallen off the table and smashed. We felt pretty dumb about the smashed glass because now that it had happened, it seemed quite inevitable given that boats are notoriously unstable. After cruising along for a little while we pulled up at a floating pearl farm and once more piled into the small boat, taking our drinks with us this time. 

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Protecting our drinks haha.

We found ourselves in a room that looked like a miniature oyster museum. There was information stands and under the sea decorations everywhere and it was here that we received our Pearl farm introduction. We were then led out the back of the room where we were walking on wooden decking kept afloat with big plastic 40 gallon drums. The lady showed us how the oysters are kept in the farm when they are in the water growing and pulled oysters of different ages out of the water to show us the comparison. 

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The set up at the pearl farm was so cool!!

She then lead us further around the deck to a pre prepared area with a big fish tank on the table. She showed us how to get the pearls from the oyster and how to pick a good pearl that can be sold or a blemished pearl that cannot be. 

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Post-pearl extraction.

The final stop of course was their showroom and it was bigger than most jewellery stores in a shopping centre. Elegant pearl souvenirs and jewellery were displayed in security casing stretching around the entire perimeter of the room as well as down the middle and it took all my power not to buy any of the pretty and shiny things available. I was so strong. 

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Pretty flashy showroom!

Once back on the boat we had dinner and hung around the dining room chatting for a little bit. We asked Frank if there were any fishing rods and he found us some bamboo rods with line and squid jigs tied to the end. We spend most of the night on the bottom deck and managed to get a fair few other people involved in the boat. All up everyone managed to catch about half a dozen squid with these funny little homemade rods while drinking a strong drink that had been recommended by the bartender. Eventually though the fishing crew began to dwindle as everyone made their way to bed for the busy day to follow. 

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Night-time antics

We woke up early so that we could shower before the hot water ran out and made our way into the dining room for breakfast. After breakfast we were back on the little boat again, this time to visit a floating village. These were little houses and were built similar to the pearl farm, using decking and plastic barrels. Most houses were attached to others however some were not although they were close enough without that.

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Pro squid-catcher.

We pulled into another little concrete island with a kayak rental shop on it and chose some kayaks out of the ones that were waiting for our boat. It was so cool kayaking right up to these unique houses and seeing the way these people live. There was a lady rowing around on a boat filled with all sorts of things like a floating convenience store. We bought some cigarettes off her and paid double the price we were paying in the rest of Vietnam but hey, we were floating in the middle of the water and it was actually half what she originally asked! 

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Floating village

Once we got back to the concrete island we waited for the rest of the group and checked out some of the shopping boats that were moored to the concrete. Some little green fruit caught my eye and I asked our tour guide what they were. He had to ask the lady but he then told me they were apples so I bought about a dozen of them for 1000 dong. They were only the size of a cumquat so they were mostly core and as far as apples go they were pretty flavourless so I ended up throwing them away in the end, whoops.

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I helped paddle for the first 10 metres but then I gave up

Once back on the boat, we were asked to pack up our rooms and leave our belongings outside the door ready for the cleaners and meet back up in the dining room to return the keys. We were then treated to a hands on cooking lesson and we learnt how to make Vietnamese spring rolls which we later ate for lunch along with the squid we caught the night before. 

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Cooking lesson time

After lunch it was time to step back into the mainland and head back to Hanoi. After waiting awhile for our bus, we were starting to worry that we hadn’t left ourselves enough time to get to the airport for our flight to Da Nang. Luckily we had the worlds best tour guide and because we were stressing he managed to organise for a taxi to meet us at a service station just outside Hanoi which would take us direct to the airport. This was really helpful as it saved us an hour of unnecessary travel time and we managed to make our flight in time.

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Vietnamese spring rolls

Since we rushed so much to get the plane it is only natural that the plane was delayed however since my boyfriend is 6’4 we managed to score a free upgrade to the emergency exit seats and we had plenty of leg room for the whole hour we were in the air. 

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The lady I bought my shell from

Once in Da Nang we settled in to Hotel Al A Carte where we were sharing a two bedroom room with Krystal and David for the first night we were there. Krystal and David hired scooters and headed out while me and Eddy decided to stay in as we were exhausted. Little did we know that Krystal would wake me up at 5am in a completely drunken state and scare the shit out of me, but that story will have to wait for my next travel diary.

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Oyster farms

Make sure you follow this page so you can read my next post about our travels in Danang & Hoi An. 🙂

Kels xo.

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