Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Ha Long Bay near Hanoi is considered to be one of the Natural Wonders of the world. It consists of about 2,000 islands and islets in the South China sea, between Ha Long city and the China border.
These are limestone and other monolithic rock island and islets, mostly uninhabited; rising majestically out of the ocean, covered with vegetation. There is some settlement on the larger islands, but is rare because of the sheer vertical sides of the islands. There were a number of floating villages, where the locals fished for a living, and of course, making a living from the tourist trade.
The islands and islets are close to one another and so when cruising these islands, you are close to them and can see their majesty. The limestone means that you get caves and grottoes on many islands, and these are also spectacular. On top of this, you can see the hundreds of other islands rising from the seabed majestically over the horizon. Hard to describe and pictures cannot do justice to this world heritage site.
To tour this site, you need to take a 1 night or longer cruise on a “junk” boat. We took a pkg which included transfers to and from Hanoi, a 2day/1 night cruise on a junk boat which included 2 lunches, dinner, and breakfast. The cabin we had was quite nice, air-conditioned and clean, and the boat had a nice dining area and sundeck on top.
The junk boat towed a smaller boat which would then ferry you over to local interesting sites, like beaches, hikes, grottoes and floating villages. Our itinerary included a visit to a floating village, where the locals took you in a bamboo boat rowing into caves and nice scenic islands. We also went to a nice beach/hike on one island, and went into the huge cavern set of caves.
Unfortunately, it was a bit cloudy when we were there, so pics are not that great. Came back to Hanoi, spent 1 more day there and now on way back to Dallas.
Vacation over :