At this point in our journey, we were beginning to feel a bit tired and travelled out. The idea of an organized day tour where all your transportation and food was taken care of sounded awfully appealing. So we signed up for a tour of Halong Bay through APT Travel.
After a four hour ride on a minibus, we arrived at the Halong Bay pier. The Nu’u Nghi boat was waiting for us, and minutes upon setting sail, we were presented with a beautiful seafood feast.
The perfectly timed meal ended when we pulled up to the Don Thien Cung caves, and got off the boat to explore them for about a half hour.
(The coloured lights are just for effect. The inside of the cave is not actually rainbow.)
Next stop was a fishing village, where a small group of Vietnamese people live year-round. There is even a school here on the water, where children attend until age 11. After that, students leave the village to continue school on the mainland. We were given the chance to kayak in and around the fishing village and surrounding cliffs.
It was crazy to fathom the unique challenges of living in a small fishing community such as this one. We wondered how they felt about their existence being a tourist attraction.
As you can see, Halong Bay is a pretty stunning place. Although impossible to capture in one photo (unless from the air), Halong Bay is comprised of 1900-2000 islets. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Limestone cliffs, partially covered with lush plantlife, jet starkly around of the water. Though pictures do not do justice to the immense awe that this place conjures, perhaps they convey more than words. We’ll leave you now with a few images to take in.
It felt kind of weird to be the tourists in the tour group, but hey, after several weeks of organizing our own adventures, it was actually kind of nice to sit back and enjoy an excursion that someone had already done the work of orchestrating for us.
We got to know Halong Bay better than we were planning to. Left behind again by our transport, after the agent PROMISED we would not be forgotten, we got to spend a bit of extra time hanging out in Halong Bay. (But of all the places to be stranded… we suppose it could have been much worse.)
The town itself didn’t have a lot to offer, but we spent some extra time chilling out by the water.
The beach is where Halong Bayers seem to flock to in the evenings. And why not? It’s beauty is hard to ignore. Young and old alike go for a dip to escape the heat.
It appeared that some organized swimming lessons were going on. This was definitely the busiest beach we encountered throughout our time in SE Asia.
We highly recommend you visit the world wonder of Halong Bay if you ever get the chance! (We heard the overnight cruises, or the ones that overnight on Cat Ba Island are pretty epic, but weren’t able to make it work.)
Thanks, Halong Bay, for sharing your splendor and beauty with us!