Since we were in Hanoi on a Friday and had nothing to do until the following Tuesday, Mark and I decided to take an overnight cruise in Ha Long Bay. The van ride was three hours from Hanoi. One thing that struck me about the driving in Vietnam is how courteous the drivers were toward each other. Their way of driving would never happen in the states. They allowed people to pass them. Many situations I observed, I thought of how it would instigate a “road rage” situation in the states. However, in Vietnam, they were never aggressive towards the other driver….we should all learn from them!
Halfway through our trip to Ha Long Bay, we had a break and stopped at a workshop for people with disabilities. Several of the souvenirs that were for sale were made there. They had lacquered wood art, pottery and gorgeous embroidered pictures. You could watch them actually sewing the pictures. They were beautiful and so much work! Mark bought one. I was tempted but decided not to.
At the marina, where we were to get our boat, it was chaotic! There were several boats and several people with the same agenda as us. Somehow, the tour person found us and directed us to the correct boat. There were eight other people on our “junk boat”. We had a delicious lunch before departing on the cruise. It was several courses of a variety of seafood.
Ha Long Bay is beautiful. Some call it the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. The Vietnamese have a myth saying a dragon was frolicking in Ha Long Bay and created the 1600 limestone pillars and islands. It is such a beautiful place and such a nice respite from the cities we had been in. We cruised around the islands and inlets. At one point, we stopped and visited a cave with three large chambers.
The day ended with us mooring in a cove with several other cruise boats. We all went for a swim. The water was very salty and tepid, but still a relief from the heat and humidity! Dinner was another six course meal, all beautifully garnished.
We woke the next morning to rain and a loud clap of thunder….it make you jump out of your skin!!! We cruised to one of the islands that had a beach and a lookout, which I climbed to, and got some great pictures. Lunch was served as we cruised back into port.
Our cruise included the round trip ride to Ha Long, overnight on the boat, the cruise, four meals, the tour of the cave and one of the islands….all for $100 US! Next to getting Adam, Ha Long Bay was a definite hi-light of the trip!