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.