Halong Bay – world heritage site

Today I traveled to Halong Bay, a 3+ hour single lane bus ride from Hanoi. People drive like they are playing Mario kart. Instead of having a passing lane, they go straight into traffic on the opposing side and expect the motorbikes to get put of the way.

The translation of Halong is descending (ha) dragon (long). The story is a dragon descended on to the bay and she spit pearls which turned into islands. The islands protect the borders.

I was overdressed yesterday and underdressed today. I don’t have much experience with boats and I’ve decided I am not a boat/sea/water person. I like ferry rides because they are short and have purpose.

Our group consists of an English couple traveling to Vietnam for a wedding, they are runners; a Singapore couple on a two week vacation, and a group from France. The other group of 10 on the boat are all Spanish speaking from different countries – London, Spain, Australia, on a family vacation.

This afternoon we went to a famous cave. The stalagmites were not very old but it was the largest/longest cave I have seen. Very crowded too as this is the high tourist season in Vietnam.

Then we went kayaking… Which I can’t remember doing in recent memory and I wasn’t very good at all. Splashed water all over the kayak and myself. Wasn’t prepared either, didn’t even have a bathing suit on and forgot to wear flip flops. Besides that, it was fun and neat to see the caves up close. Our guide shared the kayak with me and I learned that it is very expensive for a local person to travel internationally. They would have to save their entire life time. It makes me sad to think about it.

Pictures – transferring to a smaller boat to visit the cave, a floating village, (the men fish and the women sell products to tourists – like a floating convenience store. They live in Halong Bay all year.) A shrine in the mountain, locals pray to for safety. The cave picture looks like a bride and groom. See if you can find it. Kayaking with our guide. 20121112-164005.jpg

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