Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Happy New Year from Ha Long Bay - the stuff of fairy tales! Our mouths have been gaping open in awe ever since we arrived in Ha Long City. This place is beautiful, epicly beautiful. It is no wonder it is deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site. We are sailing the bay in a traditional wooden "junk" through Indochina Sails. The boat is luxurious and our cabin quite comfortable. We want for nothing. Celebrating New Year's Eve 2016 on a luxury boat in Ha Long Bay is a memory maker. Sigh.
Russell and I awoke early on New Year's day and were the first on deck, taking in the calm quiet of the morning, the soft sounds of the bay's inhabitants and finally the fishermen starting their day as the sun broke through the water's edge in the distance. It was remarkably quiet and serene. I tried to inhale and absorb every peaceful moment before the sun rose, bringing the remaining passengers with it. My camera and I could not get enough, but unfortunately, we could never do justice to the sights and sounds of that morning on Ha Long Bay.
Later that morning we went on an excursion to Sung Sot Cave, also known as "Surprising Cave" due to its sheer size and the thousands of stalagmites within the cave walls. The cave is colorfully lit up and quite beautiful to walk through. This excursion was one of Russell's favorites. He likes spelunking in caves. I enjoyed it too, but favored the view high up on the exit platform overlooking the beautiful bay below.
Ha Long Bay is home to many boats and floating villages, essentially a collection of house boats, barges and small fishing boats roped together. The people who live in these floating villages make their living fishing and selling trinkets to tourists. The fishing villages have about 30–50 families with a population of around 200–600 people. These floating villages are like a true water world, rising and falling with the tides and sheltered amid limestone towers. Cruise companies like Indochina Sails offers sampan (flat-bottomed wooden boat) tours around the villages to aid tourism in the floating villages.
Goodbye Ha Long Bay... time to catch a flight to Cambodia.
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