Trip to Vietnam: Part 2 (Halong Bay)

After spending a couple of days in Hanoi, we went to the port up north to Halong Bay, one of Vietnam’s most popular natural wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The place is as beautiful as it sounds, so get ready for more photos this time!

I was actually worried about this part of our vacation since our hotel guides said that the weather was bound to be really bad for several days, so we might not be able to go to the bay at all for safety reasons. But miraculously, it became so sunny that it was hard to believe that it rained so hard just a day ago. I guess we were just very lucky!

It was a really nice day out and we reached the port after a slightly long but comfortable bus ride. Since we booked an overnight tour, the tickets going to Halong Bay have already been reserved for us, but it was a pretty long wait nonetheless because there were so many tourists lining up.

Ticket booth for Halong Bay

Ticket to Halong Bay
Finally got a ticket!

After getting a ticket, we rode a small motor boat going to the ships. We rode a nice junk with other tourists from different countries, who were all very nice and outgoing.

We just loaded our luggage into our rooms and ate lunch, then we went straight to Surprising Cave, which is a huge, lovely cavern in the middle of the bay filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Some of them even form images, like turtles, dragons, and elephants.

Can you see the elephant?
Can you see the elephant?
Sunlight from outside, also called "Heaven's Gate" by the locals
Sunlight from outside, also called “Heaven’s Gate” by the locals
More jellyfish!
More jellyfish!

In the late afternoon, we went kayaking and boating around the bay as part of our package. It was a really nice day for going around the area. We spent quite a long time exploring and we went back just a couple of hours before sunset. Some of our companions also swam in the sea and had a great time, but it was too cold for me (18°C or 64°F may be comfortable for some, but I already want to cover up with such a temperature). Since I’m not swimming and there was still lots of time before dinner, I just took some photos!

Cruising around Halong Bay

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After dinner, we could not sing karaoke as planned so we went squid fishing instead, in hopes that we could cook it for a snack or for tomorrow’s breakfast. I never thought it would be that hard to catch a squid (I didn’t catch anything *sigh*). But oh well, I just talked to my new friends about their countries and how life is back home. After some more unsuccessful attempts to catch seafood, I called it a night.

The next day, we went to the Pearl Farm, where they showed us how they raise oysters and even let us pick the ones to harvest for pearls! It’s a very educational place, and what’s interesting about it is that although it looks very successful right now, the Pearl Farm struggled for lots of years before it earned its first profit. It just goes to show how dedicated they are to their industries and really persisted to make them successful.

The oysters in this container are still young, so they set up filters to prevent unwanted dirt and other animals (such as jellyfish) from going in and killing the oysters.
The oysters in this container are still young, so they set up filters to prevent unwanted dirt and other animals (such as jellyfish) from going in and killing the oysters.
The locals use these things for cleaning oysters and harvesting the pearls.
The locals use these things for cleaning oysters and harvesting the pearls.

We went back to our boat and took part in a cooking class, where we learned how to make Vietnamese spring rolls (fried ones). We all got our chance to wrap our own rolls and for us, it was the best lunch because we personally prepared the food we ate! A few hours later, we arrived back in the port and we had to go straight to the airport.

That wraps up Halong Bay, and stay tuned for the imperial capital of Hue in part 3 of my Vietnam vacation! 🙂

 

16 Comments

  1. Halong Bay is gorgeous ^^ Man, your trip to Vietnam is just so beautiful! I can’t really wait to see the next part of it. I think my favorite thing is the Surprising Cave. Beautiful!

      1. I find nature surprisingly refreshing and clears the head very well. I hope to return to my dad’s own country in Central America and actually get the clarity I need. Sometimes the Western World is too connected to the net so much that you lose focus and the ability to think. And by going on a vacation or an adventure and seeking nature helps in the long run for clarity and a sense of purpose.

        1. That’s so true. Sometimes you need to be freed of the fast-paced and always-connected lifestyle in order to truly appreciate your life and the things around you. Visiting your dad’s home country sounds like a great idea, it would help you reconnect with your roots as well 🙂

  2. Wow, the cave!! So cool!!! You managed to get some wonderful photos.
    And swimming in the sea when it’s 18C??! Seriously? I still go with a cardigan and Doc Martens boots with that temperature.
    Thanks so much for coming over to my blog, you leaving a comment made me want to try again to install that comment system properly again (never managed to make it fully work before), and I did, and this time managed to also make the comment link work. With that, however, your comment and my reply disappeared from the site (I still see them on Intense debate), so sorry about that.
    Thanks for the encouragement however and you are right that I should just relax and post when I have the inspiration.

    1. Glad you liked the photos, Susanne! 🙂

      Lol, I don’t know how the other tourists swam in that temperature, seriously. And they swam there for quite some time!

  3. Woah, the cave looks so cool! I wonder how the images (turtles and stuff, like you mentioned) are formed; by man or nature? Lovely photos and the caves are so pretty and colorful! (is that also natural? wooow!) I really wish I could visit Vietnam someday!

    1. The images were formed naturally; according to our guide, most of the stalactites and stalagmites in the cave are still not dry, so they can still change. I wonder what kinds of images they will produce in the future! 🙂

  4. All the shapes in the cave look so cool! I especially love the photo of “Heaven’s Gate”. So pretty how the light comes in from the outside.

    Your photos of the bay are also beautiful! I’d probably be like you and just take photos. I think 64F is too cold to swim in, haha.

    Ooh, I’ve done something similar to the oysters thing in China, where they show you how to harvest for pearls. That sounds fun to take a cooking class there too. Spring rolls are so good!

    1. Heaven’s Gate was my favorite part too! 🙂

      It looks really fun harvesting for pearls, right? They put in so much effort to raise them so it’s really rewarding when there’s a beautiful pearl inside 😀 Too bad I didn’t get picked so I wasn’t able to try it; maybe next time though! 😀

    1. I’m glad you liked the pictures! They definitely look more awesome when you see them with your eyes. That’s always how it is with nature 🙂

      Heaven’s Gate is a lovely sight no matter which angle you look at it 😀

  5. Wow! I love the pictures you took on your trip. I’m so envious that you got to take a beautiful trip out to Halong Bay. May be, just may be, I’ll take a trip out there one of these days.

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