Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ha Long Bay

A closeup of a limestone formation near the beginning of the journey.

One of the large caves you can explore during your trip through the bay.

A typical Halong Bay image: fishing village on the left with high limestone walls in the distance.

Standing in front of the majestic bay near sunset.

Sunset arrives on the calm waters of Halong Bay.


Sightseeing boats cruise en masse through the bay.

All of the boats have a high deck for you to watch the cliffs as you cruise along.

This Vietnam map shows the location of some of Vietnam's most famous tourist spots.  Ha Long Bay sits four hours east of Hanoi.
 
One of the most famous rock formations in Ha Long Bay has been imprinted on the back of the 200,000 dong note (worth about $10).  Photo courtesy of anniegooch.blogspot.com

Vietnam’s tourism is booming.  From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, there is a tourism track fast developing.  One of those destinations is already well established in tourism and is the biggest spot in Vietnam: Ha Long Bay.  Ha Long (which means “descending dragon” in Vietnamese and is based upon lore that dragons descended in the area to protect the locals) is a massive bay that houses over 2,000 limestone rocks jutting out of the water.  It exemplifies Asian beauty and mystique, and is probably one of the reasons that tourists flock by the thousands every day on junkets to see the natural wonder.
Some of the sites and activities in Ha Long Bay are hiking in massive caves, seeing fishing villages, or kayaking through shallow caves that open up into new sections of the bay previously unexplored.  Like Venice or Stone Town in Zanzibar, the site of Ha Long Bay is just the place itself.  As it goes, the main activity of Ha Long Bay is just to cruise and admire the gorgeous scenery.
           There are one, two, or three day packages you can book in Hanoi.  An all inclusive two day package (including a four hour bus ride from Hanoi) costs about $50 and is easily able to purchase nearly everywhere in the Old Quarter. 

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