We are still in Hanoi, pottering about the Old Quarter, eating a lot of great food (Hanoi really does have fantastic food), and trying not to freeze too much. We spent 2 nights in Halong Bay - one night on a boat, and the second on an island with only 4 guests including us (and about 16 staff). Halong Bay was pretty incredible - huge karst cliffs rising out of the sea (there are over 2000 of them ranging from 5-300m in height), and a few caves to explore. We went into "Amazing Cave" which is absolutely huge and filled with rock formations that look like turtles, elephants, feet, the Buddha, etc. These are mostly fairly dubious and I usually can't see them.
We went kayaking around some of the cliffs and past a floating village - over 400 people live on rafts and make their living from fishing.
On arriving back in Hanoi (after a harrowing journey with a very sleepy driver) we booked our flights to Hong Kong - we'll be leaving here on Feb 5th and arriving in time for the Chinese New Year, very exciting! We've still got 10 days in Vietnam and we've planned to spend 6 days biking around Hanoi to the "Halong Bay of the rice paddies" and a national park to see some monkeys. We're also going to go and visit Ho Chi Minh in his eternal slumber, and catch a water puppets show.
Weather here is absolutely horrible, wet, grey and cold, hope you're all enjoying the balmy NZ summer! (Except of course for you Kali).
Love C & D