After breakfast a quick trip to the docks for a cruise along Halong Bay. The embarking area is abuzz with tourists. Turns out the the Bay is one of the largest attractions for Asian visitors. We’re the only boat we can see with western tourists – among close to 40 boats.
We set sail in a morning mist and fog for a four hour cruise. Halong Bay has over 2,000 pinnacle shaped limestone and dolomite outcrops.
Even in the overcast the peaks are quite spectacular. There are small caves along many of the bases.
After about an hours cruising we climb up to the Bong Thien Cong cave. It turns out to be a huge cavern with amazing stalactite and stalagmite configurations, lighted as only Asians can.
After the cave, back to the boat for a cruise around some favorite named rock formations…
…Money rock – because it’s the rock that is printed on some Vietnamese Dong (22,000 to the dollar if you will).
And kissing rock. No explanation needed.
Then an amazing lunch prepared on the boat as we were cruising; French fries, delicious head-on shrimp, the crab, fried calamari, sautéed fish in a tomato sauce, spring rolls (that we saw a crew member rolling as we boarded), rice, and finger bananas. What a “fulfilling” surprise.
In fact Guido and I apparently had developed a reputation as everyone passed us what their table couldn’t finish for disposal. We happily did a pretty good job.
Local fishermen who actually live on their boats under rock outcroppings use some interesting techniques. One was moving in circles, trailing a net while a fisherman was banging on a wooden drum (in some pretty good rhythm) to scare the fish toward the net. We also got close to some floating villages near the rock formations but didn’t have a chance to visit unfortunately.
I snoozed on the bus in a food stupor as we made the trek back to our hotel in Hanoi. After finishing yesterday’s blog we took a walk toward the old part of the city to get a bite (small sort of) at a recommended Thai restaurant. The best Tom Yum soup and soft shell crab I’ve ever had. Marsha had an eggplant salad to die for. Tomorrow a tour of Hanoi, a water puppet show and more.