One of the things I knew I wanted to do before I came to Vietnam was the Castaways Tour with Vietnam Backpacker Hostels. I’d heard sooo many rave reviews about it. It’s a trip to the beautiful Ha Long Bay from Hanoi, and is basically a massive piss up in paradise.
219 USD, you can find similar tours cheaper from other providers, but none are guaranteed to give the same experience as Vietnam Backpacker Hostels. I would definitely book through them.
3 days and 2 nights is what’s advertised. It’s more like 2 days and 2 nights really as the last day you just have breakfast and travel back. This included all activities and meals but did not include alcohol.
We left the hostel at 6am on the day we were due to depart, getting a minibus from where we were staying (Original Hostel) to the Downtown Hostel.
When we finally got to the island the weather had cleared up and we were amazed by what we saw in front of us. The view from where we were staying right on the beach was incredible.
We stripped down to our bikinis and laid on the beach, before it was time for our first activity of castaways: high-speed tubing. 4 of us climbed onto a big inflatable circle and held on for dear life as a boat towed us around the sea extremely fast. Being on the edge, I quickly fell off the side and crashed into the sea, getting seawater in my nose, mouth, ears and eyes. I climbed back on and then quickly rolled off the side once more when the boat got going again. This time, I decided I didn’t want to go into the sea and clung on for dear life. However, my body was bouncing off the sea and quickly my bikini bottoms began to be pulled off by the water. I was now holding on with one hand and had my bikini bottoms around my ankles and my bare bum visible to the world. Faced with the prospect of losing my bikini bottoms to the sea and having to walk ashore with everything out, I admitted defeat and let go. Some others then did some climbing set up on a cliff face, and we all played beach volleyball terribly.
That night we had dinner (included) and got down to what castaways is all about: drinking. We played beer pong and chatted, before going out to the sea and splashing around looking at the bioluminescent plankton, and had a bonfire on the beach to keep warm.
The second day of castaways we were all awoken by a gong at the ungodly hour of 7am and ate breakfast. There is a gong in the common area and if someone hits it, they have to buy everyone on the island a beer to shotgun. Well, two girls decided 8am was a good time to ring this gong, and we all washed our breakfast down with a can of beer. We then got on the boat at 10am to start the booze cruise. We started the cruise with another shotgun and were told the rules of the cruise: you can’t say t-e-n or m-i-n-e, no drinking with your left hand, and one of the guides’ bums was the gong – hit it and you have to buy everyone a beer.
By midday I was already sloshed, I kept forgetting to drink with my left hand and consequently every drink I bought I had to then down. We played a few games and danced around on the boat. We stopped off somewhere to go kayaking and I was even drunker by this point. We all grabbed a few beers for the journey and set off.
Now, I don’t actually remember eventually getting off the boat at 5pm, but after that we had some dinner and drank even more. This night is a complete blur until I woke up at around 2am in completely the wrong bed. Baffled as to why I’d chosen to sleep in a bunk bed downstairs when I was sleeping in a normal bed, I made my way upstairs and got into my own bed. Or so I thought, after a few more hours sleep I woke up to see that none of my stuff was around me and no one else was in the room. So I went back downstairs and discovered I was in completely the wrong hut. Pace yourselves, kids.