Saturday, 3 September 2016
Our next stop in our adventures around Vietnam was the beautiful and serene Ha Long Bay, and even though we didn't spend that long, it was definitely memorable and action-packed.

We were picked up early in the morning by our cruise company, Viola Cruises, and embarked on a 4 hour journey to Ha Long Bay. Being taken away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi was a bit of a treat, especially since the smell was making us both feel a tad nauseous. The journey was bumpy but picturesque, the roads have a fair few pot holes and cracks - definitely not like the roads in New Zealand - and we even had a pit stop at a workshop that sold handmade goods such as clothing, statues, paintings, food.. practically everything.

Eventually we made our way to our junk boat, which was absolutely beautiful, and embarked on our overnight cruise around the Bay. Our room was decked out with the most comfortable bed I had slept on since we had left home, our own bathroom (with AMAZING water pressure and hot water), and we even had our own balcony.

The first part of the journey around Ha Long Bay was a boat ride around the incredible limestone karsts and aisles that protrude out of the water, which ended in a visit to a floating pearl farm. For me, the boat ride was a little terrifying, but still beautiful. I was incredibly surprised that for Ha Long Bay being a tourist heavy location, there was no noise pollution at all - it was so quiet - which made it incredibly enjoyable.

I got chosen to pick an oyster to see if it had a pearl in it. It did.. but apparently it wasn't a good quality pearl because of its blemished colouring. 

After returning from our day out in the Bay, the rest of the afternoon and evening was spent with a "Sunset Party" on the deck which involved wine and fruit, a six course dinner, and then squid fishing (for me at least, Dylan spent the afternoon and evening in bed with an upset stomach - poor guy). But most important, Dylan asked me to marry him! Obviously I said yes.

On our last day in Ha Long Bay we explored a cave (along with every other tourist in Ha Long Bay), hung out on a beach and then headed back to the boat where we had a cooking lesson.

 Highlights were (obviously) getting engaged, the incredible staff on the Viola Cruise and seeing the famous Ha Long Bay in person. Low lights was how polluted the water was - it was filled with rubbish! And definitely Dylan having an upset stomach. 

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