Ha Long Bay became a UNESCO site in 1962, which protects 1600 islands made from weathered limestone. As limestone deteriorates from the weather over time the landscape changes making it a timeless wonder. Situated in the north-east of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin over 3000 islands make up the area. Recently Ha Long Bay has been added in 1994 to the World Heritage list.
From Ha Noi, many companies can organise travel and boat trips from the city. At the bottom of the post I have the details of the tour group we joined. It was a smaller boat which had a different itinerary than the other boats.
ABOVE: From the dock, looking out to Ha Long Bay
The limestone pillars soared above us at times, while in still waters the reflection was mesmerising. Carved by rain, wind and the crashing waves. Time will slowly eat away the islands.
We caught the Dragon Pearl Junk boat, which was really clean the staff were friendly and they took us in a completely different direction to all of the other boats. It felt like we were the only ones out there enjoying the magic.
From our boat, one of the days we stopped in at a local fishing village in the heart of the bay. The women came and picked us up, while the men were at sea. Below Roy is sporting his hat to keep the rain off.
ABOVE: As we were leaving the men had just brought in one of the fishing boats, that was now getting unloaded.
BELOW: A young boy fishing
On our last night we had dinner in one of the many caves in the bay. Our crew put together a candle lit feast for us. The scene was magical and felt like it was from a fairy tale. Hand sculpted ornaments on the table all made from food. The level of skill in these food sculptures was incredible. Obvious favourite was the boat.
Words can not describe Ha Long Bay, the mystery and magic of time carving the landscape. It just has to be seen and experienced yourself. Make sure you spend at least two nights out on the water to make the most of the scenery. The company we chose was a little more expensive than most, but you really do feel like you have the place to yourself.