Last May -- about a week or so after I first arrived in Hanoi -- I went to Halong Bay with a bunch of friends. I remember saying to my friend Devin that I'd bet I'd end up going to Halong Bay at least six times in the next year with other visitors. Well, I'm glad I didn't make that bet because I never went back until last week.
My long time friend Veronica is traveling around the world for a couple of months and just stopped in Hanoi. Veronica was planning on going to Halong Bay, and since Huyen had never been, we decided to join her. We made this decision at midnight the day Veronica arrived and thus didn't book a tour ahead of time. The next morning Huyen called a travel agency and they said all the tours were booked up. Despite that, we decided to get to Halong Bay ourselves. We took a bus out to Halong City and then paid to share a private boat with a local family who were spending the day together touring the natural wonder.
Here's some pictures from our day trip: