Hello from Ha Long Bay (also known as bay of the descending dragon)!
What a magical and wonderful place! It is truly spectacular with the mist across the ocean and the limestone rocks scattered about with green plants and trees. I can really appreciate how people would want to live here on the water.
Since I last left you, I’ve finished my meeting and departed Hanoi via Handspan Travel to the beautiful and mysterious Ha Long Bay. It was a pretty long 4 hour drive through the back roads (well, technically the main roads), but I got to see more rural Vietnam with the rice patties, women in those pointy hats and the water buffalo. And Vietnam has these crazy 4-5 story houses that seem to come out of no where, really narrow and skinny and rising up super high. In the city you don’t really see how tall they are, but in the rural areas where there is just a tall building standing alone, it is pretty wild looking. We boarded the overnight boat in Ha Long Bay City – there were 8 of us, a really small group since it isnt peak travel season, and there are some Americans, Germans, and New Zealanders in our group. In fact, one of the American girls went to Wash U for undergrad in 2002! Small world. We set off into the bay to cruise around until dinner time so I got to see how majestic the landscape is with the many little islands and setting sun. Right before dinner we stopped at a local floating fishing village – literally a village with many houses, dogs and children running around, all on the water. It was really amazing! Dinner was eh, but whatevs. I’ll go eat those delicious mango crepes again when I get back to Ha Noi. I was exhausted by the end of dinner so called it an early night. Our boat was settled into a little “parking lot” – I saw parking lot because there was in fact a giant blue “p” sign on one of the smaller islands and there must have been dozens of the touristy boats docked there for the night in the sheltered bay. I guess one good thing about traveling on your own is that you get the whole cabin to yourself and considering how small it is, that was really a luxury!
I was up early this morning to watch the sun rise; however, it was a little overcast and gray so there wasnt much to see. Luckily, it turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day later on. The 5 of us staying on for a second night in ha long bay went to visit this huge cave on the face of one of the big rocky islands. It was spectacular! They actually did a really great job with all of the lighting so that made it breathtaking. After a little boat ride around the bay, we went kayaking all afternoon through lagoons, past more floating villagers and fishing farms. The water was warm and perfectly calm. We even stopped at a sandy beach since it was low tide to wander around and collect shells. Ahh, love it.
Now we have arrived at the 2nd largest island in Vietnam, Cat Ba Island, where we are staying at a little resort…hence, internet. I’m sitting here reflecting on my past day and I realize that I’m kind of rocking and swaying like I am still on a boat…yikes. I think that my sea wavyness is really enhanced by the sound of the ocean outside. What a lovely place this is…just dont let me be sea sick on land! So different from the hustle and bustle and your life flashing before your eyes moments in Hanoi. I could definitely see myself coming back here very soon! Not enough time!!
More to come soon!!