Monday, November 10, 2008

Transportation in Hanoi, Halong Bay

In Vietnam you can transport anything on a motorbike or bicycle! A mattress, for example. I saw a big wooden desk on a bicycle taxi, and a ladder being transported on a motorbike. The passenger precariously held the ladder sideways as the driver navigated traffic. I even saw two motorbikes driving in unison, one behind the other, the passengers on each holding one end of some long poles that they were transporting. And everywhere, there are motorbikes transporting huge piles of chickens in cages all strapped down to the moborbike.

Me on a moto-taxi

Here is a short video of a local crossing the street in Hanoi.

I am back from the Halong Bay tour, which was much more posh than I expected! We explored the beautiful bay of bluegreeninsh water surrounding many limestone islands and towers, aboard a beautiful old junk. (why do they call boats junks?) I had my own cabin with air conditioning and a private bathroom and shower.

There were only five of us on the tour, me and two really nice Australian couples. We had a guide, a chef, and several crew members who waited on us hand and foot, and served us delicious seafood meals.After exploring a cave and seeing floating fishing villages, we anchored the boat and kayaked into a beautiful cove where we saw jellyfish and monkeys, and took a swim. We spent the night anchored.

The next day we visited an island that is a national park where we hiked through the rainforest and limestone mountains. On theisland we visited the shack of an elderly woman who served us tea. She and her husband have permission fromthe government to live on the island as its caretakers, sort of the local version of forest rangers. They live in a thatched structure with tarps for walls, and they subsiston their gardens, chickens and fish that they raise, and whatever they can gather from the land.

We spent the second night in a hotel on Cat Ba Island, and the next day we headed back to Hanoi. All this, three days of adventure including transportation, lodging and meals, for US $98!


Al Comanchero said...

Re: Why do they call boats junks?

junk2 (jŭngk) pronunciation

A Chinese flatbottom ship with a high poop and battened sails.

[Portuguese junco or Dutch jonk, both from Javanese djong, variant of djung, from Old Javanese jong, sea-going ship.]

Anonymous said...


That video clip of a local crossing the street is both terrifying and fascinating.

Your tour of Halong Bay sounds and looks incredible. That is an amazing deal. I hope you get to do more of these tours, given the fantastic value and wonderful sights.

Thank you for your posts. They are tremendous fun to read.