My last post had us arriving in Hai Phong, en route to Ha Long Bay. A look Wikipedia link for Hai Phong will tell you more about the history of the city than I can, but essentially, Hai Phong is now the main port in northern Vietnam and pretty industrialised.
After breakfast at the Harbour View Hotel we set out on our fairly short onward journey to Ha Long Bay.
On the way we had some limited views of the docks.
Nearing Ha Long.
This pier is where most of the Ha Long Bay cruise boats seem to leave from. Just a few shots while we wait to embark.
We are now on our way out into the bay. Ha Long Bay literally means ‘descending dragon bay’. Much more information on the bay can be found here on Wikipedia. Our cruise will take us out into the bay and around some of the hundreds of islets within it.
In Hanoi, they descended on us by scooter to sell their wares. In Ha Long Bay, it is by boat. The same free enterprise exists throughout the country.
A few more images as we approach the islands.
Anyone who watches BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ may remember the Vietnam Special, where the ‘team’ had to use rather ridiculous methods to visit a ‘bar’ in the ‘floating villages’ of Ha Long Bay. I think I preferred our means of getting here.
I cannot help but wonder how this floating community copes with the cyclones which must sometimes hit this part of the world.
More photos of the islets.
After a slow start, the sun is coming out, so maybe the washing will dry.
Now arriving back at the pier.
While we were at sea we were served a typical Vietnamese multi course seafood lunch. This nearly caused a major rift between us and Tuan, our tour manager. At the start of the tour, he had asked the necessary questions about special diet requirements etc. Dee hadn’t wanted to make a fuss about the likely bias towards seafood, which she doesn’t like a lot, as we were given to believe that there were usually going to be options. This was an error on our part.
On this excursion, there were no options but Dee made the mistake of asking whether there was an alternative to seafood. At this early stage of the tour, Tuan was still far from relaxed in the company of our group and took this rather badly. We did, however, manage to calm him, and as the tour progressed we developed a really good relationship with him.
After the cruise we returned to Hanoi for another night at Hotel Sofitel Plaza.
The following are a few shots of the traffic as we returned to Hanoi.
In the next post we will travel from Hanoi to Hue. Please come back to check out the next part of the tour.
If you have only just found this ‘Wonders of Vietnam’ series, and want to start at the beginning of the tour, it can be found here.