Halong Bay

Wednesday – Thursday, July 4-5, 2012

One of the ‘New Wonders of the Natural World, Halong Bay is breathtaking, it’s impossible to put my camera down.

We took a two day/1 night cruise recommended by my friend, Tiffany, which is really the best way to see the area.  Our driver picks us up in Hanoi at our hotel, about half way into the 3 hour drive he stops at a tourist-trap outlet-style shop where tourists are dropped in one door and picked up at the other (reminds me of Gatlinburg, TN).  It’s possible to buy all sorts of souvenirs, mom buys me a beautiful pair of pearl earrings with gold hooks – an early birthday present🙂  Love them!  Thank you🙂  

This is my first time on a cruise boat and under normal circumstances would prefer to stay more independent when traveling but it turns out to be enjoyable, (despite feeling like part of a herd of cattle at times).  They pack the 24 hour period with activities, most of which aren’t really necessary as just sitting, talking and watching the scenery with my family is the best part.

We visit the ‘Cave of Surprises’ (I think the surprise is a very phallic looking stalagmite framed in an opening as you walk into one of the cavernous spaces – not pictured).  There is also a turtle-shaped formation whose head has been rubbed smooth by people hoping for good luck.  It’s pretty and the temperature is nice and cool inside, the drawback being the number of tourists being herded through at the same time – and this is the off-season.

‘Cooking demonstration’

And Kit would really not recommend the Thai massage – which apparently brought her to tears and left her covered in bruises…

In the morning we are herded onto a boat and rowed through a water cave and into an area where we are told ‘if you are lucky you might see monkeys’ – we weren’t lucky.

It is the perfect escape from the noise and motion of Vietnamese cities and while short, it is enough to experience the landscape, to see the floating villages…

Our driver was soooo safe on the way back to Hanoi he made it a four hour trip…and he even stops at the same outlet along the way back.  Back in Hanoi for our last evening we  managed to get some more shopping in…

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