1st – 3rd December
We spent one night in Hanoi before going to Ha Long Bay. That night we went and met up with Jacks grandma who was staying at the Intercontinental hotel, and wow was it nice, much nicer than our $10/night rooms. We then met up with Brent and Daan and did the pub crawl around the Old Quarter.
We booked the infamous Hanoi Backpackers Castaway Trip to depart on the 1st December. The Castaway tour is expensive, at US$200, but if you want to have a party for a few days with other like-minded backpackers, its the way to go. The $200 covers transport, all food (nothing special but its ok), accommodation in open air huts on the beach (about 13 sleeping mats per hut), wake-boarding, kayaking and rock climbing. Basically the only thing it didnt include was alcohol.
Daan and Brent as well as three British guys (Lawrence, Tom & Will) from the 36 hour bus were going on the same tour as well. We got the bus to the main port, and it was obvious the ratio was way off, with about 20 guys and only four girls.
When we got on the boat we hit the beers straight away and had a reasonable meal dished up. Then it was drinking games on the roof deck (Haciendia, Kings, Fuck the Bus) and everyone got loose, before jumping off the boat for a swim. The water was unbelievably warm, but there was a concerning amount of litter around. We got to the island at about 5 or 6pm, and continued getting heavily juiced with the group who were already there, on their second and final night. Combining with them helped to improve the ratio!
(As you may have noticed by now I haven’t really taken many photos of the nightlife, because I was certain I would lose my camera)
The next day we were playing beer pong by 9am, went kayaking with a few guys to nearby islands and went wake-boarding in the afternoon. We got pretty loose again that night, and the new group arrived, which included a bunch of flogs from New Zealand and a tight-arse from Israel, who, in trying to prove he wasn’t a tight-arse, said he’d buy everyone a beer. True to his word, he bought one beer – for everyone to share.
Anyway, the next morning we took the long journey back to Hanoi.
- I highly recommend this Castaway trip for any young backpackers (18-30) who want to drink a lot and party a lot. If you want to chill out, choose a different Ha Long Bay cruise.
- It’s a good starter to Vietnam, because you immediately meet 30 or 40 other like-minded backpackers, who you meet up with as you travel south down the Vietnamese coast.