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Descending Dragons

11 July 2012

After three days of hustle, bustle, and chaos in Hanoi {of which I loved every minute}, we planned our escape to an other-worldly place where time seemed to stand still...

Halong Bay.

It's name means the Bay of Descending Dragons, and it sure lives up to it's mystical moniker.  All but three days a year, this bay is shrouded in a foggy haze.  While the haze might make it look cold or gloomy in the pictures, I assure you, it was a welcome haze...and still hot as hell in Vietnam.  The bay boasts nearby two thousand small islands, most of which are uninhabited.


We stayed on a boat called a Junk boat, which is actually quite luxurious, and allows you to stay overnight on the bay in the comfort of your own room, own bathroom, sundeck, dining room, and more.


In addition to swimming and kayaking, we got a rare glimpse at life in the floating villages.  You see, there are entire villages that live on the bay, only going to land a few times per year.  They live off fishing {and tourism.}


In the evening, our tour guide on the boat gave us a Vietnamese cooking class.  J and I got to try our hands at making spring rolls.




The next morning, we visited one of the treasured sites in Halong Bay--called the Amazing Cave.  There are three chambers of the cave, with many stalactites and stalagmites.  However, the cave's namesake is due to one, very unusual rock formation.  It's pictured below, and is lit up by a special light that shines on it.  It you follow the point of the rock formation, there is a hole in the ceiling of the cave that aligns perfectly.  How funny is that?!





After visiting the cave, we hopped a small boat to Cat Ba Island, one of the largest inhabited islands in the bay.  To properly explore the large national park on the island, we rented some bikes.


After a fun, but hot bike ride, we settled into our hotel on Cat Ba Island for the night, and got to witness this beautiful sunset from our balcony.


Halong Bay was certainly one of the highlights of Vietnam.  We loved being on the water, outdoors, and enjoying Mother Nature's beauty.  Thanks Emily and Amanda for giving us such great travel recommendations!

8 comments:

  1. Looks like a very interesting place to visit. Great photos! And that cave is too funny!

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  2. I think I'll make a trip to Vietnam just to see that penis rock.

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  3. This is amazing. I love how hazy it is and that people actually live on the bay. Cool boat!

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  4. Bahaha - I am going to find my picture of that penis rock and send it to you. I think it's identical.

    It's a shame that they Government ruld that they had to change all the Junks from the varnished wood to that awful painted white colour. Steve told me it was to the improve the overall aesthetics - I think they were misinformed.


    I am so glad you went to Ha Long - it's one of my favourite spots.

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  5. Looks amazing! I've always wanted to go!

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  6. Those are some pretty awesome pictures! I love that last one the most. Holy sunset!

    The Junk Boat doesn't look too shabby either!

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  7. I can't get over how beautiful Vietnam is! And how crazy is that floating village? That's so awesome! I've always thought it'd be very interesting to live in a houseboat - imagine your whole village living that way?

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