Halong Bay, Vietnam
‘Halong’ means ‘descending dragon’ in Vietnamese and once you set your eyes on Halong Bay, you’ll understand how the place got its name. Not only do the limestone islands resemble the back of a dragon (or what people imagine a dragon would look like), legend has it that the gods sent down a family of dragons to protect Vietnam from invaders. As the dragons descended from the heavens, they spat out jewels and chunks of jade, which turned into the islands we now see.
There are a total of 3,000 limestone islands in Halong Bay. The size of the islands vary – some are mere rocks jutting out of the sea while some are large with thick vegetation, bird colonies and caves.The larger ones like Cat Ba island are inhabited, with a population of about 13,000.
We set out from Hanoi early in the morning. Our van took us to a port called Haiphong, which was the start of our Halong cruise. The weather was perfect.
The communities around Halong Bay are mostly fishermen. This lady and her baby turned up from nowhere and entered my viewfinder just as I was about to click.
The water in Halong Bay has a greenish tinge from the limestone. That shade looks absolutely lovely matched with the light green of this boathouse.
If you like water, kayaking and lovely fresh seafood, then Halong Bay is the place for you. A lot of Hanoi-based companies offer cruises but the best are the overnight ones. You board a boat, sleep on board for one or two nights and go to sleep lulled by the gentle rocking of the water. Don’t worry about meals because they’ll be taken care of. Did I mention delicious fresh seafood?
If all this sounds good to you, click here, here and here for more information. Shop around for tours when you get to Hanoi, though- prices seem to be cheaper when you book in person instead of online.
© 2012 – 2014, Anis. All rights reserved.