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Virtual meanderings

Tag Archives: trekking

@Halong Bay

Junk Boats, Halong Bay, Vietnam

        Junk boats did not dock directly at the pier. As you see on the photo they anchored nearby and tourist groups were brought onboard on regular motorboat. So were we. We then gathered in the junk’s main hall to get our cabins assigned. In the meantime our junk boat left the harbor and sailed into the bay, graciously gliding between hundreds of Ha Long Bay islets. We were served lunch.

Junk Boat - Dining Hall, Halong Bay, Vietnam

         My companions at the table were a French couple in their early forties (who turned out to not be a couple, but a male and a female friend on a holiday together), and girl from Singapore that carried around an expensive camera and shot photos with it. The four of us hit it off well and started chatting. On a side note, our whole group was 20-24 people – some elderly couples from Singapore, a Japanese guy, myself and some more Europeans, mostly French.

Cave, Halong Bay, Vietnam

         We were done with lunch when the junk boat docked at one of the biggest islets in the vicinity to visit its huge cave. Long ago Ha Long islets had been under the ocean level. While they were gradually rising from the ocean the waves had eaten up their soft rock, forming huge caverns. I guess many of the islets around also featured caves but size mattered – the bigger the islet, the bigger the cave. The bigger the cave, the better. Right? To enter inside, we first had to climb a steep staircase uphill. The entrance was about a hundred meters above the ocean level, offering a beautiful view far into the bay.

Halong bay, terrace view from a cave entrance

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Goin’ Trekkin’

Have I ever ridden an elephant before? No. Have I done white-water rafting before? Sadly, no, but I definitely want to try it. Walking in the rain forest to reach that well-hidden waterfall? What about extras such as a visit to a hill tribe village and an orchid farm to part with some of my souvenir-designated money?
The answer to the question “Why go trekking?” seems too obvious  –  to experience things you had no chance to try at home, to get intimately close to the beautiful countryside, to enjoy the company of others, adventure… the usual marketing points.

The beginning of the rainforest
The beginning of the rainforest

Courtesy: tvidhyarkorn @ Flickr

   Yet, for me there was one more reason – a general one, in fact – coming into play each time I succumbed to participating in organized events. And that reason is… ok, you will need to read the post to the end to find out or jump straight to the last paragraph.
For the time being, however, let’s get back to trekking.    Read more of this post