Nicole and I are very alike in the way we travel, we both dislike being on tours. The people at our hotel tried really hard to get us on a tour to see Halong Bay, but we got away with just buying a bus ticket from them. We had to be up early though to catch the bus.The ride was about 3.5 hours long and it was all tourists.
When we got to the port we tried to get a fast boat, but these didn't seem to exist. Instead we were forced to join a 5 hour tour boat. We also had to purchase the gross tour food because that was all there was. The boat ride was ok, just kinda boring. We didn't buy any of the extras so we sat in the boat while everyone else checked out caves and stuff like that.
I did manage to get some pretty good shots though, the mountains are pretty astounding. We also passed an actual floating village, each house was its own raft. A few of the houses had dogs. It seemed a bit cruel to me. When we finally got to Cat Ba we decided to just stay in the hotel that the tour group was at. It was just easier. After some dinner we were invited out by the guys who worked at the hotel to go to a night club. We had a few drinks with them and took bad dancing pictures. Before heading to sleep we grabbed some rather gross sandwiches.