Halong Bay

I just spent most of the day wandering around the old quarter of Hanoi taking portraits of all the interesting faces around here. Most of the people seem to work right out in the street so you see everyone from carpenters to smiths to vendors to seamstresses all working out on the sidewalk. All the while the incessant river of honking scooters were whizzing past and doing their best to drown out all the noises of work.

Yesterday I played a game with a couple of Swedish girls to see how long we could last without hearing a horn blast. The record was eight seconds. Not so impressive.

These two were a part of the Halong Bay trip I took. Halong Bay is one of the star attractions in northern Vietnam with its hundreds of limestone islands jutting high above the blue waters of the bay. Grey cliffs tower over the junk boats that meander through the peaks while calm waters slowly erode the bases.

Two days one night on a nice junk out in the hundreds of islands made for a good time, but the weather could have been better. Though it wasn’t raining, the fog and haze made for what could optimistically only be described as ‘atmospheric’ photos.

A nice group of folks helped make the trip fun and a boat of far higher quality than my last nautical ride made for a better time on board. Last time I spent a night on a boat was in the Galapagos Islands on a small boat named the Yolita. I had a great time there thanks to some incredible sights, but the boat itself wasn’t exactly the lap of luxury. So, it was nice to have my expectations dramatically exceeded with this ride.

The highlight of the trip was definitely the caves we visited. Translated to English, apparently the name means ‘Surprising Cave.’ The huge limestone cavern was fantastic. I had never really been inside a cave like that before, so I just thought it was magical. I didn’t want to leave the multicoloured stalactites and stalagmites, but our tour guide rushed us through. We also took a trip to Titov Island where we hiked up to the top of the limestone peak for a panoramic view of the foggy bay.

The next day before the bulk of my shipmates disembarked to continue their trip on Cat Ba island, we sailed through a floating village and past the symbol of Halong Bay: The Two Cocks. These two small limestone islands supposedly look like a couple of roosters fighting each other. They looked like the sails of a boat to me, but to each his own.

My next stop is the hills around Sapa where I’ll be doing a few days of trekking around the hill tribes of the area.

One Response to “Halong Bay”

  1. john collin says:

    We also did the trip on Halong Bay late April 2007. We really surprise when we got there after 3 hours bus ride, the scenry is so spectacular, we are luky and enjoy Halong Bay in 2 days of beautiful sunshine lanscape.

    Best Regards and We will be back again to Halong Bay when we can.

    John Collin from Australia

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