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Publish #10: Halong Bay Through Phnom Penh

Paraphrasing the immortal phrases of Ke$ha… I woke up in the morning at my Siem Reap feelin’ like P-Diddy… possibly staying up until 2AM drinking in Pub Road final night time wasn’t the most effective concept ever.
However still… may very well be worse (my buddy had to catch a flight back residence at 6AM).

Stone Island Cotton Denim Shirt With Collar WhiteThere are direct flights from Siem Reap to Hanoi by Angkor Air and Vietnam Airways, but one way or the other they had been all booked up by the point I was looking for them.

Google search: “Flights from Siem Reap to Hanoi”
So I’m left with a flight from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh for a 6-hours layover earlier than catching one other flight to Hanoi. And honestly, I used to be truly form of thrilled to be flying on a turbo-prop.

Yes, the premier airline in Cambodia still employs a propeller powered passenger aircraft. However it was truly fairly good, very easy flight, much cleaner and quieter than most planes I have been on within the US. (Disgrace on you United and American).

As soon as I arrived at Phnom Penh airport, I stored my luggage on the lost-and-found office for $four (four hours), and took a tuk-tuk journey to city ($7). Make sure you ask for a tuk-tuk ticket from the kiosk in the airport, they’ll cost you a flat price to wherever in town.

Objects in mirror may be nearer than they appear
I asked the driver to drop me off around the Riverside area of PP, figured it was close enough to walk in direction of the royal palace and pagoda.
The riverside appears to be the premier spot for tourists and foreigners alike, numerous cafes facing the shore selling unauthentic Cambodian cuisine.

Peace bro!
Acquired held up by the rain for a bit, but managed to walk over and get a number of nice pictures of the royal palace before heading again to the airport. They’re usually open each day, closed only for lunch from 11AM to 2PM (lengthy lunch, I suppose)… however they did not permit guests on at the present time because of the brand new Zealand prime minister visit.

Looking ominous with the clouds and pigeons.
Additionally obtained to see a number of monks walking across the neighborhood.

Once in Hanoi, I met up with my previous highschool friend, Younger (whom I haven’t seen in 10 years), he flew in from Seoul. A typhoon had just handed and left the city just about soaked… awesome sign, contemplating we’ll be on a boat for the next three days.

Give up my job at Samsung, but can’t appear to get away from them Koreans…
It is my second time to Hanoi, and nonetheless not a big fan of town (it principally feels identical to some other main city in SE Asia to me). It is largely a layover spot for me before going to our important destination, Halong Bay. However I really did not mind the revisit. No less than this time I’ve a nicer camera to take pictures with.

Guess who’s compensating
Halong Bay

We bought picked up round 8AM at our resort to Halong Bay by the cruise operator. There are many cruises to Halong Bay, starting from 1 to four day trips, anyplace from $a hundred-$300 relying on your boat and amenities.

Tip 1: Shop around and reserve your cruise ahead of time. Most hotels have a journey desk that may e book you a visit, but they get filled up fast on high season, plus you could have a better chance discovering a very good operator by looking at evaluations at travel boards (ie. Tripadvisor, Agoda, Lonely Planet, and many others).

It rained all the way in which from Hanoi to Halong Bay, the bus ride was slightly rougher, needed to hydroplane a few street patches right here and there. However we had been lucky sufficient that it stopped raining as soon as we reached the harbor.

Cloudy but no rain
As a result of it takes half a day just to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi, and since Halong Bay is so beautiful, I all the time e-book for at least a 2-night time keep on a Chinese junk boat. (it’s not likely full of junk)

Cozy air-conditioned room wtih a helluva view.
I all the time want the medium size boats too, one that may hold have no more than 12-15 rooms. It keeps the cruise measurement small and cozy, plus you would possibly get stone island badge wallpaper to know your fellow travellers higher.

Our boat, Glory Cruise No. 1…. or was it 2
I had low expectations of the meals on the boat primarily based on my previous trip.
But we were pleasantly stunned this time, not probably the most authentically Vietnamese cuisine, however this was truthfully very good for our value range.

Fresh boiled crab on the boat
A 2-nights/three-day trip is simply enough to let you take in all the great thing about the bay, and do the actions without feeling overly rushed.

Yep… not rushed in any respect.
The cruises typically would include all of your meals and excursions (kayaking, biking, caves, and many others). Ours was $167/individual and it was value every penny.

Tip 2: Carry booze. My friend had the bright concept of bringing a bottle of whiskey with him (he mentioned it was to prevent food poisoning), that we ended up sharing with other folks on the boat during our free time at night time, wonderful means to meet and make new friends.

The cruises all the time have a mixture of kayaking, scenic routes, seaside time, swimming, and typically biking in one of the islands or nationwide parks in the area.

Kayaking right into a lagoon.
No Coronas here… just Hanoi and Tiger Beer

And most of the time, you may have an opportunity to leap off the boat and swim right on the ocean.
The ocean contained in the rock formations will be so still you could virtually see reflections of the stone islands.

And the sunsets… oh man, I believe they’re well worth the journey all by itself.
Picture by Young Woo Park (Flickr: ywpark)

For the reason that boat is all the time always rocking and floating around, using a tripod and doing long exposures are just about unimaginable. So don’t fret if you don’t convey them.
I ended up doing most of my shots in ISO200 to 640, and metered on the sky. So I get a whole lot of pretty photographs of the sun setting behind silhouettes of the islands. As long as my shutter pace isn’t any slower than 1/100sec, I can nonetheless get sharp photographs.

Taken at 1/160 sec, F/4.5, ISO200
If you are lucky, you will get your cash shot right here

Straight out of the digital camera, no edit, no crop, no curve adjustments, nada…
On the final day, we had a nice buffet brunch on the boat, stated our goodbyes to the tour leaders, and headed back to Halong Bay City harbor.

Group picture with Moon, our extremely candy tour guide in a compact package deal…
We acquired on the bus and headed again to Hanoi. The bus often reaches Hanoi around 2-3PM, and they’re going to drop you off again at your resort. If you’re flying out on the same day, ensure you ebook your tickets for the evening so you may have enough time to get to the airport/practice station.

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