Friday, June 20, 2008

Spectacular Halong Bay, Vietnam

We also visited Halong Bay as part of our trip in Hanoi. Halong Bay is a Unesco World Heritage site located in the Gulf of Tonkin. It includes 1600 islands and islets which forms a spectacular seascape of limestone karsts rising out of the Gulf. It took us about 3 hours drive from our hotel in Ly Thong Kiet.

Halong Bay is without doubt Vietnam’s most famous natural attraction and rightly so. The serene waters of the bay and picturesque scenery dotted with limestone karsts is nothing short of spectacular.

Our cruise onboard a junk took about 4 hours with seafood lunch served on board the junk. Although boarding a junk was a novelty, the real treat was standing on the top level of the junk with the wind sweeping our face to watch the beautiful scenery unfolding all around us.

I don’t believe I could do justice by describing Halong Bay’s natural beauty. It is something that has to be experienced. The geographical work of art is amazing.
Can you spot the dragon?

Our junk stopped by two caves, Thien Cung and Dau Go to afford us a short trek into the caves to see the rock formations. The short trek was worth it as we were soon rewarded with incredibly beautiful rock formations. We spotted a formation that resembled a dragon and another that resembled a lion. Kids would have fun in this cave!

Soon a seafood lunch was served aboard the junk. Unfortunately the food served was nothing to shout about.

We also stopped at a fish farm where live seafood can be bought and then cooked onboard the junk.

One very interesting aspect of cruising on the junk was that small boats will cruise up next to ours and the occupants will try to sell us fruits. Of course the prices are exorbitant but that’s a novelty for tourists, right?

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