Instead of going the intrepid budget traveler way back to Hanoi the way we had come, we went instead on one of the nice big tour boats and buses that were dropping off other guests at Whispering Nature Bungalows. This included two boat rides back around the north side of the island, which we had not seen, lunch in Ha Long City, and nice bus back to Hanoi to be dropped directly at our hotel. It probably only cost us an additional $12, and the lunch was good and plenty.
We started with breakfast at the bungalows. I opted for the chicken noodle soup instead of the mini pancake, a good choice for calories, but I still crave toast with peanut butter.
Then we cycled one last time through Viet Hai village to the boat dock.
Where we boarded this junk boat.
The scenery was beautiful, even without the sun, and the bay was much cleaner over this way.
We had to transfer to a bigger boat mid-journey -no dock in sight. This white boat was larger and fancy with state rooms and fine china
And a lovely deck on which we could lounge and take in the scenery.
We passed by these two little boys in a tiny boat, bailing water as fast as they could. Is that normal? No one running the boat seemed to think it was unusual.
And these two women, one on the rocks hunting crabs and the other in the boat rowing with her feet.
The boat rides took about three hours so we hit lunch time just about the time we got to Ha Long City. Lunch was a big plate of squid, French fries, tofu in yucky tomato sauce that tasted like Chef Boy-ar-dee sauce, cabbage, cabbage soup, rice, peanuts, and sesame chicken. Most of it was pretty good. Still craving peanut butter and chocolate cake.
Then a nice clean bus back to Hanoi. We stopped for a potty break at this statue making factory, where for $3000 USD plus $125 in shipping to the U.S., you could own your very own marble elephant.
We were dropped at Koto Hotel in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, and bargained them down from $16 per night to $14. It was definitely not the nicest hotel we had stayed in, but the staff was super duper friendly and had excellent English.
We walked around in the light rain for a bit to get our bearings, and instead of the yummy street food I had read so much about about and had been eager to try, we ate chocolate croissonts and odd cinnamon rolls for dinner. I just wasn't hungry enough for adventure food.