Homer's Travels: Southeast Asia 2023 - Day Nineteen And Twenty - Halong Bay

Sunday, November 05, 2023

Southeast Asia 2023 - Day Nineteen And Twenty - Halong Bay

UPDATED 12-06-2023: Added photos.

Day Nineteen (Tuesday)

We checked out of our Hanoi hotel and were driven two and a half hours to Halong Bay.  We were early so we stopped at a 'pearl farm' to see how pearls were cultured, harvested, and graded.  It was interesting and we both learned a few things about pearls.  The Wife already has pearls so we skipped the obligatory shop. 

Some of the limestone islands of Halong Bay.
We drove by an amusement park were there were life sized statues of King Kong (parts of King Kong: Skull Island was filmed in Halong Bay).

We were dropped off at the hotel where we would board our cruise ship, the Paradise Elegance II, which would be our home for a night amongst the limestone island of Halong Bay.

The islands are pretty spectacular and number in the thousands.  Only a few areas are not protected by a national park and UNESCO heritage site so all the cruise ships tend to congregate in certain limited areas.

More islands in the mist.
We had two activities scheduled for the first day.  The first was a trip to a beach area.  The wife laid on the sand while I climbed the four hundred steps to a view point.  The view was a contrast - crowded cruise ships in one direction and pristine islands and waters in the other.  After returning to the beach I got into the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and rested my rubbery legs.

The second activity was  a 'bamboo boat' (not made of bamboo) ride through a cave to a stone ringed lagoon.  Another boat was full of very happy Koreans who were singing their hearts out as they toured the lagoon and went through the cave. 

The sun setting on Halong Bay.
As the sun went down the cruise ships spread out.  The lit up boats were pretty cool and the sunset over the limestone islands was spectacular.

Day Twenty (Wednesday)

The next morning we left for our last activity to Surprise Cave.  Seven hundred steps take you into and through an amazing cave carving in the limestone.  Even early in the morning it was crowded and hot.  It is low season and I can't imagine what it's like in high season. 

Our last view of the islands of halong Bay.
The ship docked and our guide and driver picked us up and we headed back to Hanoi.  On the way back we stopped at a farm to see the produce and at a handicraft factory run my Agent Orange victims. The wife bought a half jade Mary and we both purchased a beautiful handmade silk painting.

We were dropped off at the airport and we flew to Da Nang where we were picked up and taken to our next destination, Hoi An. 

Photos can be found in my 2023 Vietnam Google Photos album. 

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