|Was pretty keen to get out of Hanoi (i liked it as a city, just need a break from the noise and stress!) so the 4 of us booked a trip to Halong Bay. Halong Bay is a UNESCO world heritage site and deservedly so, it was stunning. First day we spent on the boat crusing around the bay admiring all the limestone cliffs jutting out the water - spectacular scenery. We also had a long walk through some caves - lots of stalagtites and stalagmites and all sorts of other formations to look at which were pretty cool - although ruined slightly by the hundreds of boatloads of tourists arriving all at the same time - will be glad when the European summer holidays are over and everyone buggers off home!!!
Spent few more hours chilling on the boat and then the evening we arrived at a "Paradise Island" where we spent the next 2 nights. Was a lovely & peaceful beach resort with just a few tourists - totally idyllic! It was the first day in i can't remember how long when have not had to do something or to go somewhere - such a nice feeling - so didn't do any of the activities, just spent the whole day lying on the beach (in thick grey clouds - but didn't care!) reading my book. Definitely a much needed rest - am craving more beach time now, it's been too long! And am getting tired - travelling is hard work sometimes & v tiring, although am sure no one at home believes me or will give me any sympathy from anyone! I'll need a holiday as soon as i get home at this rate!
So after 2 nights in Paradise (although i wasn't calling it that on the last morning on finding some very suspect looking animal droppings in my bed! - definitely time to leave!) we all headed back to Hanoi. From there Marleen & I took a night bus straight away heading south - leaving the others behind as they've got much more time than us.
Our next stop was Hue, just for 1 night to break up the journey and to visit the Lost City there. The bus journey was probably one of the worst of my whole trip so far, the driver was so bad i really thought we were going to crash. Continuous sharp braking so we'd roll off the seats & constant honking of horn (as usual) - got no sleep whatsoever! Am now convinced that none of the drivers here have taken any sort of driving test whatsoever or even have licenses - they are truly crazy!