After breakfast, drive from Hanoi to Halong. Stop en route at Hong Ngoc handicraft village. My dad got me a beautiful ring here and I wear it everyday.
This amazing bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is dotted with thousands of limestone karsts and isles. Local legend has it that long ago, when the Vietnamese were fighting Chinese invaders, the gods sent dragons to help defend the land. The dragons spit out jewels and jade, which turned into the islands and islets of Halong, forming a great wall against the invaders. Here you’ll board the deluxe Emeraude, a wonderful replica of one of the classic steamships of the colonial era of French Indochina. With 36 luxurious air-conditioned cabins, a restaurant, two bars and a sun deck, this is the ultimate Halong Bay experience.
[THIS IS ABOUT TO BE TMI FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC, but my rediscovered intention for this website is it’s for me! For me to remember all my travels and share with whoever wants to ride along…]
10 mins before the bus arrived at the bay, I started feeling nauseous. That was the bad beginning to my terrible sickness. In one of the most OUTSTANDINGLY gorgeous places in the world, I could not get off the floor. Literally. I crawled from the bed, to the bathroom and could barely lift my head.
Once the steamship reached a resting point, they offered an option cave hike. I couldn’t pass it up even though I felt like like I was dying. I took a gallon Ziploc with me and walking like a hunchback, I slowly made my way through the hike. A few times I had to stop to hurl, and although I did not have the cognitive ability to realize the magnitude of it in the moment, my dad stood by my side. What a guy. If I were him I would’ve kept walking…at least 10ft away…so he didn’t have to associate with me. But he stayed by my side. I was so sick I couldn’t even consider what other people were thinking as they walked by me on the 2ft wide trail. I HAD to see these stalactites and stalagmites. Damn that cave was worth it. By the time I got back to the boat all that was coming up was white foam and I was on the floor the rest of the night. HALONG HELL. And tomorrow is my birthday. Happy birthday me.
Lunch is served on board at 1:00 PM. While cruising on the emerald green waters of the bay, try a traditional Vietnamese massage. Then, join your fellow shipmates for a beautiful sunset on the sun deck followed by a delicious Vietnamese buffet dinner. Needless to say, that was not my experience. Because of my feverish and delusional state this part of the trip feels like a dream. I actually do have dreams where I’m back at Halong Bay, drifting. Luckily not sick, but I see the fog sitting still along the islets.
Turns out I had a gnarly case of NOROVIRUS.