21st May – 23rd May 2012

Now! What you are about to see contains naked pictures. Of me. If you are thrilled about this, please scroll down. If not, please scroll down and be jealous.

And Mum, I think it’s about time for you to discover I’m not the Halo Blessed little 12 year old that smiles sweetly and a good little boy that you think I am. Sorry. But such is life.

Waking up relieved that I wasn’t drowning in a pool of sweat due to the extreme of Hanoi that I was coping with in the last few days, we needed to get down to reception of Hanoi Backpackers so we can grab the bus all the ways down to Halong Bay. Greeted with the sight of so many people also going on this tour, we knew it was going to be a good few days.

Being given a Mexican sombrero hat to party with on the bus, we headed off on our 4 hour bus ride. We were ready to Rock Long and Rock Hard!

Boarding our boat ‘The Jolly Roger‘ I was impressed with the boat as it was very sleek, modern and made for a perfect backdrop to view that is the amazing ness of Halong Bay. Perfecto!

Soon we were introduced to our literally insane Dutch Tour Guide who went by the name ‘Taco.’ the legit of that name was called into question but he did show us his ID and gave his reasoning that his mum gave birth to him in a supermarket and looking for a name she saw some tacos….

After a few drinking games, it was time to jump from the top of the deck into the water. Stripping down to my swimwear, I was one of the first one in. It was a long way down! I enjoyed it so much that I did it again…and again..and again. Just to rub everyone else’s face in that I was the bravest one :p but not before Taco shouted out my swimwear is abit tight on me!

Then in was time to Kayak. I ended up sharing with Taco and he ended up telling me the antics of some people on previous tours…I was to be VERY AFRAID! His paddle was broken so who had to do all of the work…me diddums! But it was totally worth it as we kayaked through some extremely tight caves through the rocks of Halong Bay, using our hands to pull ourselves along. If you capsized….you were a gonna! Furthermore, we stopped off at this huge cave which we could set foot on. Not before splashing into the water to find plenty of fish trying to nibble at your skin. Lovely! Singing happy birthday to 2 people who was on the tour, we all broke open a beer to wish them it and seeing the ominously gathering clods, we had to hightail it on our kayaks to the nearby fishing village before the whole storm spitter down on us. Luckily, we made it. And we had a bum baring competition. It’s gonna get worse! The bum baring competition was held between all the blokes on each boat that brought us back to our vessels. I think we won…only because Taco turned round and bared all at them shutting them up. He’s crazy that fella.

We had a couple of hours to chill out and it was a good time as any to go back to our gorgeous rooms and have a quick hot shower.

The room, Alannah and I was in, (a twin bed room just to reiterate to stop any tongue wagglers) seriously made me gasp. I was expecting a run down room but no, it was top of the standard.

After having a scrumpticious dinner watching the sunset over the horizon of Halong Bay (totally rocking this world), the games are ready to begin. Hearing stories back at Hanoi Backpackers from previous tours with the best quote being ‘yeah, you’re gonna see a whole lot of nakedness..good luck,’ you could say I was very apprehensive and wondering what the hell I got myself into (I decided later to blame Alannah for any misdemeanors), I was propelled into the world of Dragon of Kings. Here are the rules.

I’m not going to explain to you what each rule mean as it’s pretty horrifying and I’m sure I will be forced to after my mum will collar me on the ear and stare me down.

The nakedness? Well, there are dares and god so you had to comply with the dares otherwise you will be forced to do a shot of the special kind. It’s foul. So foul, that everyone immediately complied with it. I’m gonna tell you…

Now, there’s only nakedness of me. I will not be putting up pictures of other people without their consent. It’s private to them.

Ready? Like in the Hangover, here what we checked out.

Waking up the next morning (no hangover hooray!), I wasn’t surprised to find myself being one of 3 people who made it to breakfast. I quickly had other people’s breakfast set out for them 🙂

We quickly changed boats as some people were to stay longer on the tour and some people to go back, I found myself being on the stayers side and on a boat speeding to Castaway Island. This allowed us for some fantabulous scenery. Check out the pics.

Castaway suddenly loomed into view and despite people’s concerns about the water being of a weird brown colour, we were told immediately by the organisers the reason why that the water contain a huge amount of plankton bloom that were to put on a special treat tonight…it was going to illuminate for us oh yes!

We were told to pick out our bungalows. They were open to the elements on all walls but we had a mosquito net over our mattresses and I loved being on a small island with your first view when you wake up in the morning to be the sea rolling on the beautiful white sandy shores.

Taking a very quick nap, I got to know many people on the tour. It was very multicultural with plenty of Canadians, Danish, German, Americans, a few English, and many more. The card games we played proved to be a great hit getting to know each other.

Then lined up the activities for that afternoon. We were given a choice of either wakeboarding, extreme tubing or rock climbing. Seeing as I busted my foot on the shower step back at Hanoi Backpackers, my toes would have protested at being forced into extremely tight shoes for rock climbing so extreme tubing it is.

I never laughed so much and screamed at the same time on this. Sharing a tube with a Canadian as we laid down and gripped the handles, we reached speeds of such epic proportions that we were bouncing up and down thanks to the waves generated by the boat that was pulling us. I could hear Alannah and Katie screaming away on their tube, a sit down one. My tube proved to be the most lethal as soon as the boat did a sharp turn, my tube careened around, flipped the tube in the air with us still on it bucking the Candian overboard. But I still hung on with half of my body in the water and the other half on the tube. It hurt. But I was still laughing as I couldn’t believe the scenery that flashed by. I was in Halong Bay! Finally, the boat did another sharp turn and I found myself landing in the water on my shoulder at high speed that knocked the wind out of me. It was certainly extreme tubing. But hang on. Wait a minute….where was my shorts? They came off when I landed in the water! The boat came towards me to pick me up and I frantically gestured them to look away while I searched for my shorts. Grabbing around, I noticed that I was sharing the waters with some cute jellyfish…wait! Jellyfish?! Finding my shorts, I swam slowly to my tube and proceeded to do the whole thing again a few times. I loved it.

Good job I wasn’t Katie, who stayed in her tube the entire time…not to her relief. It was very bruising! See pic.

The rest of the day was spent chilling out on Castaway Beach and then playing extreme cards with a bunch of crazy Canadians who I were going t do a fantastic challenge with a few days later… (watch for a further post).

The night loomed and everyone got together to partake in some drinking games. And swimming games. I have to tell you the plankton bloom was absolutely amazing. Everyone splashed around and shimmers of ghostly white waved across the silent waters of Castaway Beach. I was in utter awe until I felt a tickling sensation on the back of my knee. I ignored it. That tickling sensation turned into a burn…I was stung by a jellyfish…ouch!!! I hightailed it ur of the waters. But it wasn’t as bad as the girl who dived into the water and promptly got stung by many jellyfish. Argh.

I got to know many people very well as we hung out in the dark on the beach. I love Danish and Canadians!

The next morning…I suppose everyone was feeling very quiet and many sunglasses were whipped out to cover those dark eyes and bloodshot eyes. As we sailed away from Castaway Beach back to Halong Town, we could only look at each other and just say..

The Rock Long and Rock Hard Halong Bay Tour truly ROCKED!

I had an amazing time and I’m glad to made many friends through this. Many people have asked me to come over and visit them when I’m in the area whether it is Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany etc. you know what? I’ll totally will!

Have you been on the Halong Bay Tour with Hanoi Backpackers?