In order to see Ha Long Bay, to travel in and around its islets, and to hike its caves, you need to hop on a boat. We hopped on a bit of a larger one, which would carry us around the bay for two days. We ended up meeting a couple from the Netherlands who were using money from WWOOF-ing in Australia to fund their Southeast Asian adventures. They dreamed of one day owning a coffee shop in the town they grew up in and we swapped stories our first night, sharing our favorite spots we’ve found, snafus we’ve gotten ourselves into around the world, and the community you meet when you travel for long stretches.
The next morning we all woke up early on the boat and jumped into kayaks to explore a little more recklessly and more closely these huge rock formations and the islets that make up Ha Long Bay. For a couple of hours we meandered through the water, listening to the birds and the sounds of the waves lapping up the sides of the kayak. We made our own path and took turns paddling so that every so often we could each bask in the sunlight and take in the smells of the ocean.