Monday, June 14, 2010

Ha Long Bay: Descending Dragon

I was worried we'd get a rainy day in Ha Long happened, but it turned out alright. The mist and fog elevated the landscape beyond anything a sunny day could have revealed. It looked like its name - "Descending Dragon" - a watery lair where the coiled air serpents come to slake their thirst and rejuvenate before exploding back into space.

Ha Long Bay is about a four hour drive from Hanoi in the north-eastern corner of Vietnam. It's a popular spot and hosts all types of journeys - day or night. We chose a day trip on a rented junk that was perfect for us...and luxuriously private.

We spent five hours on the water, had a delicious lunch, visited a fishing village and toured the huge Hang Đầu Gỗ caves, aka the Grotte des Merveilles.

Ha Long Bay was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 so we jumped in a kayak for a closer look.

We paddled through a few opening in the islets and entered small lakes surrounded by rocky shores. The craggy islets resembled all types of creatures from cats and dogs to pythons and gryphons. It was a remarkable sight and a welcome change from the frenetic pulse of Hanoi.

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